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Featuring castellated embellishments, the building overlooks Barnageera Beach, the Irish Sea and Balbriggan. The castle consists of two storeys over a basement, which extends under the south lawns. When occupied, the ground and first floors were the living accommodation while the west and east wings were servants quarters and estate offices. The basement was the service floor, the kitchen and stores. The castle has now been restored and is open to visitors.
Ardgillan Demesne is also open to visitors, with a mix of woodlands and large grass open spaces. The park contains a walled herb garden, rose garden, Victorian conservatory or glasshouse, tea rooms and an ice house. A children's playground was added in 2006.
The previous owner of the land was Robert Usher a wine merchant from Tallaght. When Reverend Robert Taylor bought the land it was quite a wooded area so he employed some out of service soldiers from Bangor Co. Down and paid them 1p and a meal per day as well as bed every night they also received a tot of Irish whiskey from bushmills which was brought in for 2 shilling 2 pence a gallon.
The house was built by the Reverend Robert Taylor in 1738. The house remained in the Taylor family until 1962 when the estate was sold to Heir Henrich Potts of Westphalia.
Ghost of "The Lady's Stairs"
The ghost of a woman was believed to haunt the bridge (known locally as The Lady's Stairs) that exists over the Dublin to Belfast railway line at the end of the property near the Irish sea. It is said that the lady's husband was a frequent swimmer, and when he did not return one night, the lady went to the bridge to await his return. However, her husband had died while swimming, and she stayed at the bridge hopelessly awaiting his return until she herself died. An additional local story claims that if a person were to go to the end of the bridge at midnight on Halloween, the lady's ghost would appear and throw them to their death in the ocean.
The bridge was damaged by a truck strike in 2006 and was eventually renovated and reopened in 2007.
Paws At Ardgillan
In mid 2016 Ardgillan Castle Ltd. opened a pioneering concept, Paws at Ardgillan. Housed in the former gardeners cottage it is a unique new café that gives dog walkers the opportunity to dine with their dogs in the stunning surrounds of Ardgillan Castle. The dog-friendly facility is one of the first in Ireland and is certainly the first feature of its kind in a municipal park in the country.
This refreshing new initiative means that after a walk in the extensive and abundant wide open spaces of Ardgillan, dog walkers can sit with their dogs at a café table and partake in either hot or cold light food and refreshments.
Dublin to Belfast railway line
The lady's stairs bridge is one of the best places in Ireland to train spot. The bridge links Ardgillan demense with the road R127 (skerries to balbriggan). On the right side there is the R127 and on the left is the railway line. The bridge can be entered by concrete stairs, on the narrow partway which is just a short walk from car park one and a long walk from car park two. The bridge has high metal fencing with small holes. The railway line can be seen from the Top of the hill near the playground in the demense. The trains passing are the enterprise, commuter, freight, and some out of service intercity trains.
Facilities and activities for visitors
The ground floor rooms and kitchens of the Castle are open to visitors for guided tours. The tea-rooms are located off the main reception area and are open during the Castle opening times. Upstairs, the former bedrooms are used for classes and exhibitions, including a permanent exhibition of the "Down Survey" colour maps and text. Rooms are also available for small group meetings and workshops.
In 2005 the estate was host to a number of open-air concerts in the summer time. Pop artists who have played here include Moby, REM, Meat Loaf and Status Quo. No more concerts have been held at the venue since and it still remains to be seen if Fingal County Council plans to host any in the future.