The Casino Marino - Open House Dublin 2022
Journal •

The Casino Marino

In 1746, Lord Charlemont, aged 17, set off on a Grand Tour with tutor and apparent alchemist Edward Murphy whose intention was to turn the wild-child into a learned man along the route of nine years in England, The Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and Greece. Charlemont’s procession of writers, painters, companions and lovers witnessed first-hand his development into a young man of potential. 

Upon return to Ireland, at the behest of his stepfather Thomas Adderley who’d acquired land for his stepson in Donnycarney, James fell into melancholia. Eventually, it was decided the solution to having to live in one country while his heart belonged to another was to build Italy and the memories of his Grand Tour in his back garden and so began the rise of the Marino demesne.

That back garden grew to 300+ acres. Today, all that remains is Ireland’s finest neoclassical building designed by William Chambers, resembling a one-storey, one-roomed Greco-Roman temple where the gods Ceres and Bacchus hold dominion on the roof above four Egyptian lions, winged satyrs, ox skulls and twin-tailed merfolk perched on the roof’s urns. 

However, all is not as it appears at the Casino, no longer in Donnycarney but remained Marino after a town outside Rome. Here, we’ve a building celebrating the past and astonishing the present with its secrets, one of which is sustainability already at work within four of the building’s twelve Roman Doric columns. These columns have hollow centres and, since 1759, have been taking rainwater from the roof, down through their centres, on down through four more hollow columns in the basement until they end up in an underground reservoir where this rainwater was used as dishwater.

Designed by Sir William Chambers for Lord Charlemont, the building demonstrates the presence of sustainability in the 18th century and how design and detail can deceive.

A visit to the Casino today shines a light on the many architectural secrets of a temple actually comprised of sixteen rooms spread out over three-stories. Formerly an enviable estate, the Marino Demesne included Marino House (the country house), a mini gothic cathedral, festooned rams, multi-horned Jacob sheep, peacocks, swans and a 5-walled garden with a hypocaust heating system enabling the importation and growth of exotic vegetation. And, of course, its prize-winning pineapples. 


Discover the Casino, Marino, in Dublin, where sustainability and a taste of the exotic have been in place since 1759.


Twitter @TheCasinoMarino

Facebook @casinomarinodublin

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