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Parker Stancil: Special Visitors and Malahide Castle

Parker Stancil

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My mother and stepfather, Tracy and Ashley Wilkinson, paid me a visit in Ireland as part of celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary. Their original plans included playing golf in California and staying at Pebble Beach for a week, but the flight, hotel, and other travel costs were cheaper to come here! I guess you could say I’m a mama’s boy, and mama was having a hard time with not seeing me all summer, so with short notice, they were eastbound and down to Dublin.

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Cheese!

After finishing two years at Horry Georgetown Technical College and being the stepson of a turf/horticulture geek, I’ve developed a passion for not only turfgrass, but I enjoy the beauty of landscape designs, floriculture, and the other aspects of horticulture. 

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Many thanks to this knucklehead (Ashley) for introducing me to Turfgrass and Horticulture.

We made a day trip over to Malahide Castle (Malahide, derived from the Gaelic terms for high ground and tide), 20 minutes north of Portmarnock, to tour the historical castle and famous beautiful gardens. Previously belonging to the Talbot family, the property holds 800+ years of history. The tour was full of interesting stories, antique pieces, and beautiful artwork. A large amount of the things found in the castle were obtained on trips to foreign countries, which adds even more character to the place.

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Malahide Castle (front above, rear below).

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The last Talbots to live in the castle were Milo and Rose Talbot. The brother and sister were financially forced out of the property in the 1970’s. They couldn’t persist through the Republic of Ireland’s property tax of around half of the property’s worth. 

The Battle of Boyne in 1690 brought a terrible fate to many members of the Talbot family. Within the great hall (pictured below), English forces stormed the castle and killed 14 of the 15 Talbots present in the castle while eating a family breakfast in the Great Hall. 

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The Great Hall.

Outside the castle, beautiful plants, wildlife, and other interesting landscapes surrounded the Talbot family. There are a couple gardens quite close to the castle, and inside you can find plants from all over the globe. I was surprised to find some plants that you would think to only see in warmer/tropic climates… in Ireland?

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How did this palm get here?

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A eucalyptus tree. Where are the Irish koalas?

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A cool turf design that replicates a design in the molding of an interior wall.

My favorite plant I saw was a Hydrangea. These are quite common back home in the States, but I found this one with an interesting color change. (pictured below) A well known fun fact, Hydrangea flower color can be easily changed by adjusting the soil pH.

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White, yellow, pink, purple, and blue in one!

A vast majority of the land the Talbots had owned is now used to hold community events, like 5 and 10 kilometer runs, concerts, and other family fun ideas. 

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Local teams playing a Sunday game of cricket. I’m glad to be on the opposite side of the fence, because I have no clue how cricket works!

If you’re an American and lazy like me, you and your family could cruise around on one of these bad boys (pictured below). I’d try it but I’ve had enough of pedaling this summer, considering I ride a bike around 3 miles each way to and from the greenkeeping facility at Portmarnock GC. 

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To make my parents’ visit as fun as possible, I introduced them to my boss, Gary Johnstone, the Links Manager at Portmarnock GC. Gary took Ashley and me out for 18 at Portmarnock GC. Ashley is a huge golf fanatic, so hopefully his day was made.

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It wasn’t easy pulling this one off!


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