In 1976, with a history of over 800 years, Malahide Castle in Dublin, was sold to the state and all of its contents were auctioned off to the highest bidder - Kieran Sheedy attended this historic auction.
Malahide Castle, parts of which date to the 12th century, lies close to the village of Malahide in the north of Dublin.
The estate began in 1185, when Richard Talbot, a knight who accompanied Henry II to Ireland in 1174, was granted the "lands and harbour of Malahide". The oldest parts of the castle date back to the 12th century and it was home to the Talbot family for 791 years, from 1185 until 1976, the only exception being the period from 1649–1660, when Oliver Cromwell granted it to Miles Corbet after the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland; Corbet was hanged following the demise of Cromwell, and the castle was restored to the Talbots. The building was notably enlarged in the reign of Edward IV, and the towers added in 1765.
The estate survived such losses as the Battle of the Boyne, when fourteen members of the owner's family sat down to breakfast in the Great Hall, and all were dead by evening, and the Penal Laws, even though the family remained Roman Catholic until 1774.
In the 1920s the private papers of James Boswell were discovered in the castle, and sold to American collector Ralph H. Isham by Boswell's great-great-grandson Lord Talbot of Malahide.
Malahide Castle and Demesne was eventually inherited by the seventh Baron Talbot and on his death in 1973, passed to his sister, Rose. In 1975, Rose sold the castle to the Irish State, partly to fund inheritance taxes. Many of the contents, notably furnishings, of the castle, had been sold in advance, leading to considerable public controversy, but private and governmental parties were able to retrieve some.
This documentary tells the story of the auction that took place in 1976 where the remaining contents of the castle were auctioned off.
Rose Talbot, the last surviving member of the Talbot family died at Malahide House, Tasmania in 2009.
Produced by Kieran Sheedy
Presented by Des Hickey
First broadcast 6th June, 1976
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries