Meet Cathal Dowd Smith Newbridge House and Malahide Castle's Curator
Over the coming weeks and months we will be delving into the work of our Curator, Cathal Dowd Smith who is responsible for overseeing the preservation and conservation of Malahide Castle & Newbridge House operated by Shannon Heritage and working closely with Fingal County Council. Here's a little introduction
Cathal, tell us a bit about yourself...
I have been working at Newbridge House & Farm for over eight years now since I started as a tour guide back in 2012. Since then I have been actively engaged in researching the history of the Cobbe family, the collection at Newbridge and the wider history of the country house in Ireland, particularly in Fingal where we are lucky to have many in public ownership through Fingal County Council.
I studied History and the History of Art and Architecture at Trinity College Dublin. I specifically focused on architectural history and also took many courses on the conservation of historic buildings and collection care. After finishing college I have been lucky to take up the role of Curator at Newbridge under Shannon Heritage, which has been an exciting role thus far. Over the last few months I have started some work at Malahide Castle also managed by Shannon Heritage where we have some exciting plans in the pipeline.
What’s your favourite part of the role?:
Undoubtedly my favourite part is sharing the stories of these houses with visitors. History is just one big story to me and these houses and collections are great windows into our history. Obviously as a result of the pandemic we haven’t been able to share Newbridge and Malahide with as many visitors as we would like, but we eagerly await being able to do so and using alternative media to bring our stories to those interested.
Which room at Newbridge House is your favourite?:
That is a hard question! A bit like asking a parent to pick a favourite child! Also because it changes regularly, depending on season or what we have going on. Currently it has to be the Servant’s Hall at Newbridge which we re-presented as a part of our new Servant’s Experience last year. I love the architectonic groin vaulted ceilings and the display which tells the story of the many different types of servants who worked at Newbridge across three centuries. We have great archives so it is a pleasure to get to share those stories in new ways.
We will updated content to our news section on a regular basis with the work Cathal is doing while both attractions are closed to the public. Keep an eye on our social media channels for updates too