DiCamillo Companion

Moydrum Castle

  • Built / Designed For: William Handcock

    House & Family History: During the Irish War of Independence (1919-21) the British military burned several homes in Co. Westmeath, after which the local Irish Republican Army (IRA) felt that an appropriate reprisal was required. Moydrum Castle, the home of a huge landowner who was a member of the British House of Lords, was the chosen target. On the night of July 4, 1921 the IRA marched on the castle, knocked on the front door and told the occupants that they were going to burn down the house. The 5th Lord Castlemaine was out of the country, but his wife and daughter were in residence; they and their servants were given time to gather a few valuables and leave the house before it was set alight. The fire left just the outer walls standing; today the castle is a romantic, vine-covered ruin. Photographer Anton Corbijn famously photographed Moydrum Castle for the cover of rock band U2's fourth studio album, 1984's "The Unforgettable Fire."

  • Garden & Outbuildings: By the late 19th century the Moydrum Castle Estate stood at 11,000 acres.

  • Architect: Richard Morrison

    Date: 1812-14
    Designed: Built new house for William Handcock

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  • House Listed: Unknown

    Park Listed: Unknown

  • Past Seat / Home of: William Handcock, 1st Viscount Castlemaine and 1st Baron Castlemaine, 1813-39; Richard Handcock, 2nd Baron Castlemaine, 1839-40; Richard Handcock, 3rd Baron Castlemaine, 1840-69; Richard Handcock, 4th Baron Castlemaine, 1869-92; Albert Edward Handcock, 5th Baron Castlemaine, 1892-1921.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Ruinous

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No