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Chris de Burgh - Far Inside These Castle Walls

Bargy Castle - Interactive tour.
Bargy was a big draughty wet place with no running water, but a well that the family took turns in pumping for twenty minutes a day to get a full bucket. It was extremely cold, with not one stick of furniture in the place.”
Chris de Burgh - The Authorized Biography by Tony Clayton-Lea 1996

In 1960 after a peripatetic early childhood, Bargy Castle became the first permanent home Chris de Burgh ever knew.
After considerable restoration, Bargy Castle located in County Wexford Ireland was opened up as a family holiday hotel every summer by his parents, and the young Chris thrived on the inspiration the castle exuded.

Bargy Castle Ireland owned by Chris de Burgh
On this imaginary tour of Bargy Castle, Chris de Burgh will fly you to south east Ireland and personally give you a guided tour of the Castle grounds and interior, all this while also explaining it's place in Irish history. 

CLICK HERE TO OPEN THE BARGY CASTLE INTERACTIVE TOUR

 

Sunday Times Interview - May 2007

Chris de Burgh

When I was a child, my father’s engineering job took my parents to Nigeria and what was then the Belgian Congo. My brother, Richard, and I went to boarding school; I was at Marlborough College, Richard at Stowe. My grandfather, General Sir Eric de Burgh, had retired to Ireland and, during the holidays, Richard and I stayed with him.

My father had often expressed this insane desire to live in a castle. There are lots in Ireland – most of them falling down. So, in 1960, as my parents and lots of others were leaving the Congo in a hurry on the eve of its independence, my grandfather bought a Norman castle for us.

We moved in when I was 12. I was so excited. The idea of living in a castle was romantic and dramatic – even though it had no light, heat, electricity, water or furniture. Bargy Castle is near Wexford, on the southeast coast of Ireland, two or three miles from the sea. The huge tower was built in the 12th century. The strategic way of communicating then was with fire or smoke, and from the top of our tower, you can see five others. Above the front door is the hole where boiling oil was poured over intruders, and there are, of course, arrow slits. At the back of the castle, there is a dry moat. The sea would once have come within a few hundred yards of the front.

 

My grandfather paid £7,500 for Bargy Castle. The previous owner was a market gardener who had kept birds in all the rooms. The place was a shambles; there had been turkeys in one room, pheasants in another. We had to pump water from a well. Twenty minutes of pumping got enough buckets of water for the day. It was a spartan lifestyle, but, being at an English boarding school, I knew all about that.

The place was wired within a year or so. We had open fires and, eventually, central heating. To furnish the place, my mum and dad went to auctions. They bought big pieces that nobody wanted, which were relatively cheap. They got tables for the banqueting hall and six four-poster beds. The castle was attached to a 170-acre farm, and we started as farmers, with cattle, sheep, corn and sugar beet. Richard and I had to muck in, particularly during the lambing season. We had early lambs in January and February, when it was bitterly cold, so we had to get up at night and run about in the frozen fields. We saw the back ends of more sheep than I care to remember.

Once the castle was more habitable, my grandfather moved in and my mum and dad decided to open a family hotel. We had accommodation for 50 people, and the season was from Easter to the end of September. My mother did the cooking and my father took care of the business side. Richard and I were baggage handlers and waiters. We organised riding, volleyball and cricket. In the evenings, because the local pub was a mile away and there was no television, I would pick up a guitar and start singing. It was a great way to meet girls. Before I ever stood on a professional stage, I’d done hundreds of living-room concerts for people from all over the world.

As the years went on, my father installed 18 bathrooms, which was quite something, because some of the exterior walls were 6ft thick. We had 12 bedrooms in the main house, an annexe with five bedrooms, three at the top of the tower, and a basement where the summer staff would sleep.

As a family, we had to move out of our rooms at the beginning of the season. We had a little cottage down the end of the lane where my mother decamped, and occasionally, I slept there too. Or I took a room at the top of the tower, which meant going up 70 spiral steps to bed. One year, I slept in a cow shed. People would wake me up in the morning by throwing rocks on the tin roof.

My father never thought he achieved much, but he was an amazing man who did a huge amount. He knocked through two arches in the banqueting hall to double the size of the room. He also built a drawbridge from the hall across the moat. At one end of the room was a pipe organ; at the other, two ornamental horse-drawn carriages. In the hall are a portrait of my grandfather and the de Burgh crest, which allegedly originated during one of the crusades. Richard Coeur de Lion is said to have dipped his finger in the blood of a slain Saracen king, put a red cross on the gold shield of a de Burgh, and said: “For your bravery, this will be your crest.”

My parents ran the castle as a hotel for 20 years. My dad is dead, but my mum still lives there. I love Bargy Castle. I started in my profession because of the opportunity it gave me, and I called my first album Far Beyond These Castle Walls. I go back as often as possible, and when I drive through the gates, it’s like stepping off the planet into a different world.

Interview by Rosanna Greenstreet
© Copyright Times Newspapers Ltd


This section of www.chrishigh.com is for the fans and fans to be of Chris de Burgh. Check out some of the amazing things to do and see here including:

Chris de Burgh - The Storyman
The Storyman: An in depth look and latest news.

Chris de Burgh - The River Sessions
Revealed - this superb new CD recorded in Glasgow 1981.

New Album by Chris de Burgh
Chris High reviews the new album from Chris de Burgh.

Ferryman Productions
Unofficial information about Ferryman Productions Ltd.

Chris de Burgh sitting at a piano


Rosanna Davison

Biography of Miss Ireland 2003/ Miss World 2003 plus latest information.

The Chris de Burgh Story
A ten minute streaming video presentation - 'The Early Years'.

There's a New Star Up In Heaven Tonight
A tribute to Princess Diana and her connection with Chris de Burgh.

CdeB Rare Facts
A collection of hard to find and uncommon CdeB facts.

Chris de Burgh on songwriting
Quotes on the songwriting process from Chris de Burgh.

Chris de Burgh Guitar Solos and Riffs
A look at some of the amazing guitar solos in CdeB album tracks.

Chris de Burgh The Simple Truth 1991
An in depth look at The Simple Truth concert of 1991 in aid of Kurdish Refugees including pictures and streaming video.

Chris de Burgh Record Collector
Chris de Burgh has featured twice in Record Collector Magazine.

Chris de Burgh - Soundalikes
An in depth look at the Chris de Burgh Soundalike/Tribute acts.

Mike Doud art for Chris de Burgh
The paintings of Mike Doud for the 1986 Chris de Burgh records.

Who is Chris de Burgh
A fascinating insight from the author Chris High.

Chris de Burgh - A Child Is Born
This truly amazing 2 minute video shows Chris de Burgh morphing from a baby to the present day - awesome!

Chris de Burgh - This Is Your Life
A Flash presentation adapted from the UK British TV series in 1992.

Chris de Burgh - Memory Games
A Selection of CdeB memory games to test you.

Chris de Burgh - Album Covers Game
How well do you know the CdeB album covers? Why not test yourself here.

Chris de Burgh - Song Title Quiz
Can you work out the clues to discover the correct CdeB song titles?

Chris de Burgh - Picture Puzzles
Rearrange these 5 CdeB single covers online - dynamic puzzles.

Chris de Burgh Java Applet Games
Highly addictive Chris de Burgh Java games - Great Fun!

Chris de Burgh Crossword Puzzles
Either play online or print out to do later, both easy and hard levels.

Chris de Burgh Competition
A Chris de Burgh MP3 music quiz - win a copy of 'Untrained Melodies'.

Chris de Burgh DHTML Zone
Dynamic HTML effects, just a bit of fun with some familiar pictures.

Chris de Burgh - Subliminal
A look at the possibility of reverse lyrics found in Chris de Burgh songs.

Chris de Burgh talks about wine
CdeB talks about his wine collection and what good wine means to him.

Chris de Burgh links
We've scanned the Internet to bring you some of the best CdeB websites.



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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