Charleville Castle: Everything You Need to Know About Charleville Forest Castle

Nestled in the heart of an old oak woodland near Tullamore, County Offaly, is the majestic Charleville woodland Castle. This is a hauntingly gorgeous specimen of Gothic Revival architecture. It’s also hauntingly lovely.

Before the present owners took over and started to meticulously repair it in 1973, the building was abandoned for many years.

The Charleville Castle Heritage Trust is currently in charge of overseeing the castle while restoration efforts continue.

The castle is open to the public for visits, but as it is staffed entirely by volunteers, reservations must be made in advance by phone or email.
This is the castle’s website.

The Architect

One magnificent example of Gothic Revival architecture is Charleville Forest Castle. Francis Johnston, an architect, created the design for the castle in the late 1700s. It took 14 years to build, and it was finished in 1812.

Known for his neo-classical and neo-gothic designs, Francis Johnston was a highly regarded architect whose magnificent structures can be seen all throughout the nation.

One of his most exquisite designs, Chapel Royal in Dublin Castle is a prime example of Gothic Revival in Dublin. One of Ireland’s best examples of a medieval Gothic edifice, Charleville Castle’s architecture incorporates numerous elements from these structures.

The Original Owners

Charles William Bury, the Earl of Charleville, was given Charleville Forest Castle when he was just six months old. Bury received the title and thousands of hectares of territory.

All of this passed down to him after his father tragically drowned. The estate comprised the town of Tullamore and a vast oak forest. At the age of 21, Bury returned to Tullamore after receiving his degree from Trinity College Dublin and began improving and growing the town.

It had just been partly damaged by fire—caused, of all things, by a hot-air balloon mishap!

To house their family, Charles and his wife Catherine Maria Bury, the 1st countess of Charleville, had Charleville Forest Castle constructed. In its prime, their Charleville Estate encompassed around 24,000 acres, while Tullamore experienced significant population and income growth.

The King Oak Tree

The King Oak is a massive, towering oak tree that sits as the main entrance of Charleville Forest Castle Estate. This tree is a component of the larger historic oak woodland that Charleville woodland Castle is surrounded by.

The King Tree may be nine hundred years old, according to some claims you read online, but you shouldn’t believe everything you read. But according to the Irish Wildlife Trust, the King Oak is one of the nation’s oldest trees, estimated to be 400–800 years old.

There has long been a belief that the King Oak tree and the Bury family are connected spiritually, and that the loss of a limb from the tree portends the death of a family member.

When lightning struck the tree in 1963 during a storm, it nearly broke in half. Colonel Charles Howard-Bury, the estate’s owner, passed away a few weeks later. in the age of 82, he passed away in Belvedere House in County Westmeath, which he had inherited from his father. His mother had left him Charleville Forest Castle.

After being nominated as Ireland’s submission, the King Oak Tree placed third in the 2013 European Tree of the Year competition. The tree that came in first place was named “The Plane Tree in Eger” and is situated in Eger, Hungary.

The Druids

Druids are said to have formerly frequented the grounds on which Charleville Forest Castle currently stands. It does appear that certain Druidic magic would work well in the old oak woodland that encircles the castle. It is reported that this is where the ancient high priests and priestesses worshipped their gods and carried out their rites.

In Celtic civilization, the ancient Druids were highly esteemed individuals. Some people believe the Druids oversaw holy rites that could have involved human sacrifice, however there is no proof that human sacrifice has ever occurred in Charleville Forest. In old Irish mythology, the Druids were literate, wise men and women who ruled over the kings, queens, and chieftains of the day.

The Interior Design

Charleville Forest Castle’s interior is a breathtaking sight. The foyer opens onto an imposing staircase that is crowned by a gorgeously patterned ceiling and adorned with a glittering chandelier. The inside of the castle is decorated with pointed arches and ornate plaster ceilings. Textile designer William Morris redecorated the dining room in the late 1860s. This room still has his stenciled ceiling on display.

The Hauntings 

Over the years, Charleville Forest Castle has played host to several paranormal investigation and ghost hunting teams. The building is rumored to be haunted by the soul of eight-year-old Harriet. She was the third Earl of Charleville’s daughter. She tragically broke her neck after falling off a banister while slyly sliding down it in 1861, the year of her death. Numerous guests have reported feeling a chilly area near the stairway, and some have even reported seeing a small girl wearing blue and white clothes. She occasionally travels with a little kid who is about her age as a companion. There have also been reports of kids laughing and singing within the castle. There are many reports of Harriet’s hauntings from visitors to the castle, from volunteers who work there, and paranormal investigators who have spent time there.

peculiar lights on ceilings, the sound of ghostly footsteps and disembodied voices, a peculiar mist that occasionally rises, sightings of spectral monks, and a terrifying entity that is supposed to inhabit the dungeon are all claimed experiences at the castle.

The Dungeon

The dungeon is really more of a basement because Charleville Forest Castle was never utilized as a place to lock people up (we cannot locate any proof of inmates, just a few hazy allegations of people being tortured, but if we are incorrect please let us know!). There’s a bizarre altar in the basement that may or may not have been buried behind a concrete wall and unearthed during renovations, and legend has it that the 1st Earl of Charleville was a devil worshipper. Nevertheless, whether or not it is a dungeon, there are several reports of someone seeing a scary ghost there!

In addition to being a remarkable example of Gothic Revival architecture, Charleville Forest Castle is currently undergoing restoration, which demonstrates commitment, perseverance, and enthusiasm.

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