History of Gosford Castle

It was built in the mid-1800’s in the Norman Revival style, commandeered as a base during World War II and again in The Troubles, run as a hotel from the 1980’s, and restored in 2006, developing one portion into private luxury residences and now once again, its been converted back to a hotel, this time, a luxury boutique hotel specialising in Weddings and Tour Groups.

Gosford Castle was Hooper’s first major project using Norman architecture, which placed it amongst the most original buildings of the 19th century. We cannot ascertain whether the choice was his, or Lady Gosford’s, who paid for the majority of the building.


Gosford was the pioneering design, and is thus extremely important. It is known as a Norman revival castle due to the numerous ideas which Hopper gleaned from original Norman castles and used in it’s construction. The central element of Gosford castle is the keep, surrounded by a number of smaller blocks of towers and buildings, appearing to combine them. 

Inside the narrow, unlit corridors, cramped stairwells, extremely thick walls, constructed with granite, and the mouldings around the window arches, effectively recreate the gloomy outlay of a Norman castle. As described the forms and details are Norman in style, but the planning and massing were not. There are Romansque columns and arcading, alongside heavy 14th century style machicolations within the castle. Hopper integrated triangular-headed “Saxon” windows and his own design, the recessed oriel window, in the family wing, where Hopper completed his work in 1839.

The remainder of the family wing, ending in a large keep on the northern corner, a round tower and the new entrance were assembled around 1859, by G. A. Burn, Hopper’s principal assistant.

The interior design of Gosford castle was aimed more at comfort than with keeping with it’s Norman revival exterior. There were 197 rooms, including stairways and the 45 basement rooms, in the castle making it the largest house in Ireland.

World War I & II

World War I & II

During the Second World War, Gosford was commandeered and used to accommodate troops, with a prisoner-of-war camp on the estate.

Following the war the Acheson’s sold the estate to the Ministry of Agriculture, who established the 240 hectares (590 acres) demesne as Gosford Forest Park. 

The castle was used for the storage of public records, and in the 1970’s served as a barracks for soldiers. In 1983, it was first opened as a hotel, though this venture was not successful, and the leaseholders allowed the building to fall into disrepair.

The Troubles

Gosford Castle was also used during “the Troubles” by the British Army where it suffered its worst and was allowed to fall into a complete state of disrepair.

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

For those who have Game of Thrones on the mind but can’t afford even a reasonably priced castle of their own, keep an eye on the property anyway: Airbnb is offering to help convert a room for the buyer so that it can be listed on the site as a true Riverrun tribute. So just this once, when you play the game of thrones, you lease or you buy.

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