Historic Hillsborough Clock Chimes For First Time in Decades

The sound of celebration can be heard far and wide as the clock tower in the Courthouse turret of the newly renovated Hillsborough Castle, Co Down rings for the first time in over 30 years.

The conservation of the building’s clock is the latest development as part of the project by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces to transform the estate into a major visitor destination. Officially opening its doors on April 10 this year, the chimes signify the countdown to a new momentous chapter in this elegant Georgian house’s history.

Along with the re-presentation of the Castle’s exquisite State Rooms, set within 100 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, Historic Royal Palaces’ Conservation and Collections Care team have spent months restoring this cherished timepiece.  The clock is a renowned landmark in the Hillsborough skyline and forms part of the Courthouse, a Georgian building built in the late 1700s, which sits in harmony with Hillsborough Castle’s prominent façade.

The clock and bell were made in 1810 by John Moxon and is now deemed an extremely rare and important example of turret clock horology. With many parts of the original mechanism being replaced and improved over time, the bell is now the earliest surviving piece.

David Orr, Conservator at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, said in a statement: “The Courthouse clock is intrinsically linked to the history of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. We have worked with a dedicated team of experts across Northern Ireland and England for the last four months to restore this beautiful and rare timepiece; from clock conservationists, to gilding experts who added the delicate touches to the clock face.”

“It is fantastic to hear the clock chiming across Hillsborough after so many years. This marks the dawn of a new chapter, as Hillsborough Castle prepares to welcome the public through its doors in April.”

Historic Royal Palaces took over the management of Hillsborough Courthouse, from the NIEA, along with the Fort, in the summer of 2018. The castle will open daily to the public for the first time on April 10, 2019 and is only a 1 hour 45 minute drive from Dublin, just off the A1.

Read Travel Ireland Magazine’s experience in the castle here. Meanwhile, for more information, visit the Historic Royal Palaces website.

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