A Little Bit of Tasmania in Ireland



At the end of 10 days driving around Ireland we had a morning to kill before catching a flight from Dublin to London.

Trinity College, Dublin

Trinity College, Dublin

A quick look at the map revealed that there was a castle not far from the airport – Malahide Castle. We decided to check it out.

It was a beautiful late spring Sunday and lots of folk were out and about enjoying the weather and parks and playing fields that adjoin the castle precinct.

As chance would have it we arrived just in time for the 11 o’clock guided tour of the castle so we joined the small group of interested visitors.

Malahide Castle

Malahide Castle

The impressive castle had been occupied by the Talbot family for over 800 years, dating back to 1175 and is one of Ireland’s oldest castles.

The last male heir was Milo the 7th Lord Talbot de Malahide. As the guide told us, he was an interesting character whose past is shrouded in mystery. He was a diplomat but was probably a British secret service agent (ie a spy). He died in 1973 in Greece while on a Mediterranean holiday and in seemingly good health.

As we toured the various rooms in the castle the guide provided anecdotes relating to different family members and historical events that had taken place there.

Towards the end of the tour the guide referred to the death of Lord Milo and the efforts of his sister Rose to retain the castle with the need to find the money to pay high death duties posing a significant threat. She ultimately failed, the guide continued, and retired to the family estate in Tasmania. “In Tasmania……………….?”

Whether we Tasmanians like it or not, Tasmania is still a relatively obscure place in global terms, so we tend to get very excited when Tassie is mentioned beyond Australian shores. We needed to know more so we quizzed our guide.

It transpired that Lord Milo inherited a property, Malahide House in Northern Tasmania from a distant relative in 1938. He and Rose visited on a number of occasions over the years, and Milo, a keen gardener, fell in love with Tasmanian native plants. He organised and commissioned the 6 volume Endemic Plants of Tasmania.

In the grounds of the castle are extensive gardens, with plants from all over the world, but a special place and section is held for Tasmanian native plants which we were thrilled to walk around.

Even if you’re not into Tasmanian native plants Malahide Castle and Gardens are well worth a visit.

For more details on the history of the castle click on these links