The Nationalist and Leinster Times 25 October 1968
Co. Surgeon buys Naas Norman castle
The Norman castle at Naas, believed to be among the oldest inhabited ones in the country, now has a new owner. He is the popular Co. Surgeon, Mr. Jack Gibson, F.R.C.S.I., of “The Hill House”, Tipper Naas.
King John’s Castle, which was built in the twelfth century, was knocked down to Mr. Gibson for £14,850, after some spirited bidding at the public auction in Dublin, on Thursday. The auctioneers were Messrs. Hamilton and Hamilton.
The “runner-up”, Mr. Stanislaus Lynch of St. Helen’s Rd, Booterstown, is no stranger to Naas. Mr. Lynch is the well-known authority on equestrian matters. A renowned judge of horses, and a highly successful breeder of Connemara ponies, he owns land adjoining the Co. Hospital at Naas.
King John’s Castle has been the residence of Rev. Chancellor J. C. W. Beresford, Rector, Naas, and his family, for fourteen years. He is the last of a long succession of Rectors of Naas, who have lived in the spacious building, which has atmosphere, seclusion, and character of a unique type.
A very old book in the possession of Chancellor Beresford refers to “The Castile Vicarage” and the records show that a former Rector, Archdeacon de Burgh, who bore a name which still has a proud association with Naas, lived in the Castle.
The castle stands on two acres in the heart of Naas, former seat of the Kings of Leinster. It is in the walled grounds, adjoining the St. David’s Protestant Church, and its features included vaulted chambers, 12th century spiral staircase and a dungeon. It enjoys at once accessibility and seclusion and as Chancellor Beresford described it, is a most spacious and comfortable home.
In a special interview with a “Nationalist and Leinster Times” reporter on Monday, the new purchaser commented: “I am absolutely thrilled that my wife and I have made this purchase. We intend to live there when we have sold our present residence.”
Mr. Gibson told me that he is particularly anxious to uncover the castle’s history. This involves a good deal of “digging” into the available lore, and any assistance which our readers in Leinster or abroad may be able to give will be welcomed.
The castle undoubtedly was a focal point in the historic events of its era, and readers of “The Nationalist” may have in their possession old manuscripts or books which would help in documenting this aspect. Mr. Gibson said he is very intrigued to discover the details of King John’s association with Naas and the castle.
His wife is keenly interested in antiques, and devotes much of her spare time to the fine showroom at New Row, now so familiar to travellers on the Dublin-Cork-Limerick road, with its striking exterior. The Co. Surgeon shares his wife’s interest in antiques, helped to get the New Row premises fitted out for her, but due to professional commitments , has little time to indulge his passion for the products of period craftsmen.
The recent acquisition of a parcel of land adjacent to the castle will facilitate planned development in the future, and enhance its accessibility. Chancellor and Mrs. Beresford are not required to vacate the castle until the New Year. Mr. Gibson has been Co. Surgeon at Naas for the past seven years.
Our readers will recall our recent special feature on one of his patients, Miss Mary Damer, of Monasterevan, on whom Mr Gibson performed two leg amputations, one using hypnosis.
Re-typed from the original by Roisin Brannock