The architectural input of Deane & Woodward

Ultimately, Robertson’s designs failed to please the Ormondes and his buildings also had intrinsic flaws, such as the flat roofs that leaked, on the gallery block and elsewhere. In order to remedy some of the defects, a prominent firm of architects, Deane and Woodward, was called in by Frances Jane Paget (1817-1903), Marchioness of Ormonde, during the 1860s to re-roof the castle, remodel the Picture Gallery range, and make further alterations to the garden elevation of the central block.

This firm of architects had submitted lavish designs in a French Chateau style for the gallery however these were turned down in favour of more limited alterations to Robertson’s building. These alterations addressed the problem of the Picture Gallery by installing a new pitched roof with glazed central area.

Oriel windows on the courtyard elevation were inserted, and thetracery in the gable window was altered to an Early English style. Within the gallery the open roof was decorated by John Hungerford Pollen (1820-1902) in a mixture of styles ranging from pre-Raphaelite to interlace with gilded animal and bird heads on the cross beams.

Also designed by Pollen, the massive double fireplace in Carrara marble was decorated with scenes from the history of the Ormonde family; the decoration is attributed to Charles Harrison, but it was supplied by the firm of Ballantyne, Chimneypiece Manufacturers of Dorset Street Dublin. A ‘Moorish’ staircase enclosing a winter garden with delightful carved stone details on the cut stone arcade, also by Harrison, was added in order to provide a direct and impressive access to the remodelled gallery.

Venetian Gothic windows were added to the garden elevation of the central block, some with cusped arches flanked by slim marble shafts and balconies, while the doorway leading to the Rose Garden was also remodelled. A small gasworks was built in the grounds of the castle. This fuel was used to heat the castle and also for lighting by gasoliers.

The final result of these building campaigns was the mixture of styles we see today. Robertson’s muscular Castellated Baronial contrasts with the lighter Venetian Gothic motifs that sit somewhat incongruously with the essentially medieval appearance of the original castle.