At 5pm today (BST) our Councillors in Fingal County Council in North County Dublin will vote on a proposed development which will allow a commercial enterprise operate a ‘Treetop Canopy Adventure’ in 5 hectares of ancient woodland in Malahide Castle.
I grew up here in Malahide and from my earliest memories the castle and it’s woodlands were my playground. We climbed trees and explored the hidden woodlands as children and as teenagers we languidly spend our school holidays watching the cricket under a shady tree. I spent years in London, started my own family and then migrated back to the town that shaped me. The Castle has always been the focal point of this beautiful village. My tiny London natives now have their earliest memories intertwined with the trees and serenity of the Castle grounds.
Malahide Castle built in 1185, is not only one of the oldest Castles in Ireland but it is home to some exceptional fauna and wildlife. The Castle belonged to the Talbot Family for 800 years until 1973 when it was sold to the State to pay inheritance taxes. Lord Talbot was an avid collector and spent many years collecting seeds and plants from Australia where they surprisingly flourished in our often damp seaside climate. As a result, we also inherited the much maligned ‘Malahide’ mosquito which is responsible for keeping the Castle’s thriving colony of bats well fed. This habitat is unique to Ireland and it’s fragility cannot be overstated.
Everyday I am there for a run or walk with the dogs. Fridays after school are spent in the castle playground and always on the same picnic bench. Mothers chat while the kids climb and explore. Saturday’s football matches are played on the Castle pitches, Parents’ on the sidelines, both hands encircling a takeaway cup of hot Avoca coffee in a vain attempt to keep warm. Sundays can be whatever I want them to be, spending time in the grounds with no schedule to hinder my amble.
The Castle and it’s grounds are part of the fabric of this village and are enshrined in our DNA. It belongs to us and we know it and we will fight tooth and nail to protect it. I never take it for granted and want to cherish this incredible ancient fortress as it has cherished me and my family.
Please sign this petition if you think there is any validity in what I am saying. Once this has been done it cannot be undone. In the last 40 years the Castle has changed hugely and nearly always for the better but I implore you, do not let this next step be a step to far.
You can sign the petition today. We will be handing the petitions to the Lord Mayor of Fingal at 1630 in advance of the Council vote.
You can also visit the Facebook Page: Save Malahide castle woodland.