Ashtown Castle – after it was swallowed by a Georgian mansion, this medieval castle remained forgotten for centuries. In 1978, when the Under Secretary’s Lodge in Dublin, was set to be demolished, a centuries-old castle was discovered among its would-be ruins. The medieval castle is impressive not so much for its enormity, but instead for its modesty. In the 18th century, a Georgian mansion was constructed to accommodate the now-defunct position of the British Undersecretary of Ireland (equivalent to a regional governor). For reasons unknown, this castle was somehow incorporated into the existing mansion. In 1922, when Ireland attained independence, the undersecretary position disappeared and the residence was rented out to the Vatican. The Irish considered using the property to house the Irish Prime Minister, but eventually decided that the mansion was in too poor of a state to repair. Fortunately, as the lodge was being demolished in 1978, the forgotten castle was rediscovered, and historic preservationists stopped the process from going through entirely. Today, all that remains of the lost mansion is Ashtown Castle, along with another structure that has been converted to a visitor’s center with beautiful walled Victorian gardens.


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