Imagine a classical looking building where nothing is what it seems. Casino Marino is a lovingly restored 18th century pleasure house full of optical illusions.
Located only five minutes from our hotel. Please click on this link for exact directions on how to get to Casino Marino.
The Casino was designed by Sir William Chambers as a pleasure house for James Caulfeild, 1st Earl of Charlemont. It is one of the finest 18th century neo-classical buildings in Europe The Casino, meaning "small house", surprisingly contains 16 finely decorated rooms, endlessly rich in subtlety and design. It is a remarkable building - both in terms of structure and history.
The Casino's Secrets
Walking up to the Casino you first notice that you can't look into the windows. From whatever angle you look at them, the windows remain black. That's because each individual pane is skilfully bevelled to deflect the light. The massive columns are hollow and serve as gutters and the decorative urns on the roof are actually chimneypots.
Step inside and you will find that what looks like a small garden pavilion actually hides 16 rooms on three floors, including kitchens and servants quarters, a library, several reception rooms and bedrooms.
The History Of The Casino
The Casino is a masterpiece of Palladian architecture in Europe, possibly one of the finest outside Italy. Inspired by the Roman temples and the Palladian villas he saw on his tour of Italy, James Caulfeild, the first Earl of Charlemont, instructed architect Sir William Chambers to draw up the plans for a Casino, or 'little house' in Italian.
The 'little house' was never inhabited; it served as an impressive folly to entertain the Earl's friends. Servants would bring up food supplies and wine from the Earl's main house through a tunnel, completely out of view of the guests. This tunnel has since been clocked off.
Being the Earl's guest at the Casino was not without dangers in the 1700s. The house was located fairly isolated on pastures roamed by highwaymen and the Earl Charlemont kept armed bodyguards on the premises to fend off unwanted gate crashers.
It is a truly fascinating trip to a Dublin long gone, barely a 20 minutes bus ride north from the centre of town. Take the guided tour to see the inside of the Casino and listen to the colourful tales of the guides.