This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
The walls of Marine House have held many institutions over the decades. Originally built in 1842, the expansive building with an austere facade first held a school and bank. Over the years, it went on to serve as a hotel, a factory, private home, an orphanage, and even as barracks for two different armies.
Situated on the eastern coast of Ireland, Wicklow is a county town whose origins date as far back as 900 BC. Meaning “church of the toothless one” in Irish, Wicklow’s name is thought to be derived from the era when Vikings invaded Ireland, establishing a base at Wicklow’s harbor. From its Viking heritage to hosting armies in the Marine House, the town of Wicklow – much like Ireland itself – is no stranger to conflict.
For 17 years, Marine House was a school and a bank. It then became a hotel in 1859 and operated until the British Army used it as a barracks. For a short time, the building was then occupied by the De La Salles brothers, a Catholic teaching order. By the early 20th century, Ireland was ravaged by war, first the Irish War of Independence then followed by the Irish Civil War in the 1920s – during which the Free State Army took up residence here.
Peaceful days soon followed and Marine House became a private residence. In the following decades, the building held a clothing factory, a children’s orphanage, and a hostel before returning to its original purpose – education. In 2003, Marine House became the home for Wicklow Educate National School and underwent extensive renovations.
In 2017, the building was reopened by the Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB) and is now used as a center for further education. Focusing around hospitality training, with courses on catering, beauty, and information technology.
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