Travel Journal April 18, 1999
History Lessons

Castle Matrix

The wedding guests are all gone, and there have been no emergencies today. I slept in a bit, and then went to work.

Spent quite a bit of time with Kieran today. He has a number of the same problems that I had when I was his age. His favorite hobby is using the computer to create fake drivers licenses (Imagine a New York drivers license with a photo of a kitty on it.)

A couple things that got done: Re-erected Kieran's basketball hoop (which had been taken down in order to provide adequate parking for the wedding reception), and fixed the emergency lamp in the upstairs hall which was dangling on wires (someone had already tried to fix it, using brute force instead of finesse.) Then, off to find out what happened to the sheep, which hadn't been seen all day (took about two hours to find them, but they were fine, they had wandered to one of the remoter paddocks.) Then there was the unsealing of Sean's workshop to see if there was anything useful in it (there wasn't.)

Of course, I found time to take a few pictures. Here's the library, which is on top of the main hall.


The staircase.

The roof, and the view from it.


The castle, and the outlying buildings.


Here's some background information on Castle Matrix, highly summarized from some printouts given to me by Liz:

The original name was Castle Matres (castle of the matron), however after a few centuries they realized that this sounded too close to "mattress" which wasn't dignified enough, so they changed it to Matrix.

The castle was built during the early 1400s by the 7th Earls of Desmond, a father and son. According to Irish mythology, the 4th Earl was known as the Wizard Earl, and was said to have married Aine, the Fairy Queen. With the overthrow of the Fitzgerald Earls of Desmond, the castle was occupied by Walter Raleigh (a Captain at the time). It is said that here was where Raleigh first introduced the potato into Ireland. Edmund Spenser also stayed here for a time, and it is likely that local tales of the Wizard Earl and his Fairy wife were the initial inspiration for his epic work, the Fairie Queene. The castle lands were later held by Edmund Southwell, and were easily captured by the local Irish rebels and then by Cromwell's forces in 1642. In the early 1800s the castle was being used to manufacture linen and a flour mill was added. In the 1930s, the castle was abandoned to the elements, and became a typical ruin with wild plants and trees flourishing within the old stone walls. Colonel Sean O'Driscoll aquired the castle in 1961, and spent the last thirty years of his life restoring the castle as much as possible to its mediaeval configuration, and housed it with his extensive collections of books, art, and artifacts from around the world.