By Dan Walsh
The land around Wilton Castle was my playground growing up. On lazy Sunday afternoons we would leisurely peruse the ruins and roam freely and George Windsor never minded as we used to harvest his raspberries every August. The golden rule was simple – do not damage anything.
Picking the raspberries was a community event. A couple of dozens of us locals would spend the few weeks picking and chatting and sometimes, we would dip in the River Boro when high jinks kicked in. Wonderful memories.
The Christmas Day inundation wrecked Wilton Bridge and when I visited on Tuesday a local man showed me the original stonework way down in the fallen remains of the current bridge. The original was one of those stone bridges, and a small number still exist!
Another local said the bridge was washed away in the floods of 1947 and it happened on St. Patrick’s Day. It was rebuilt, but it has been getting attention over the years and there was a recent investment of almost €50,000!
This is not the first time that Wilton has been in the news. The Furlongs and the Butlers were there since 1247. The Alcock family arrived in 1695, the castle was burned in 1923, and today, the windows are once again illuminated as Wilton Castle is a tourism accommodation facility.
Wilton was famous for its horseless carriage proceeding in ghostly fashion towards the castle on a specific day every year. It looks like the ‘ghost’ has returned, and while the engineers and the experts probe the fallen masonry, another group will crunch the maths, but it looks like normal travel between Bree and Davidstown will be a diversionary tactic for some months to come…