At Home and Abroad

Stories and interviews from the Irish Diaspora

Johnstown Castle Tour with Milo Miller

2023-01-08

Johnstown Castle Tour with Milo Miller
The Castle Johnstown Castle stands on an estate first granted to the Esmonde family as thanks for their role in the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, and its fortunes over the centuries reflect the richly layered story of this storied region in the centuries that followed. In the 19th-century, the Grogan family re-imagined and remodelled the castle with a romantic, neo-Gothic design – delivered with the help of Daniel Robertson, who also shaped the gardens at the Powerscourt Estate. Together they created the neo-Gothic castle you see today, adorned with turrets and towers, and Johnstown’s sumptuous gardens and parkland, studded with three lakes and bordered by woodland walks. The Castle has had a chequered history since the original Anglo-Norman family, the Esmonds, came to Johnstown. The Esmonds were evicted by Cromwell in 1649. The Castle changed hands many times between then and the mid 1800’s when Hamilton Knox Grogan Morgan inherited the Castle on 21st birthday. The last permanent resident of Johnstown, Lady Maurice Fitzgerald died in 1942 and the castle was gifted to the state in 1945. Throughout all these changes, over almost a thousand years, the owners of Johnstown Castle devoted their energies to managing the estate productively and sustainably for the benefit of all. The owners of Johnstown Castle have traditionally championed the civil, religious, and political rights of their tenants, in some cases with tragic results. We are proud to share and celebrate their inspirational stories with visitors from across Ireland and beyond, and we strive to continue Johnstown Castle’s inspiring traditions through our work towards social and environmental sustainability.

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