‘Drinking den’ in ancient castle grounds

ONE of the Naas area’s oldest historic structures is being turned into a drinking den.

ONE of the Naas area’s oldest historic structures is being turned into a drinking den.

Young people – some of them teenagers – are using part of the grounds of St. David’s Castle, also known as St. John’s Castle as a venue for illegal drinking.

“I found one my own sons hanging around there. This is a historic site in the middle of Naas and it should not be allowed to happen. Perhaps there is not much than can done about adults but I want to highlight the fact that teenagers have been seen drinking there,” said a mother who contacted the Leader, but preferred to remain anonymous.

Although the land is not openly accessible, the woman said it is possible for people to get in from at least one point along church Lane (near the Presbyterian church and beside the unopened Naas Shopping Centre) and another behind apartment residences just off Friary Road.

She said that one one occasion she saw people sitting on a mattress, drinking alcohol by candlelight.

“I contacted the gardai and they said they would send a car to the area more frequently. I’m less concerned about what adults do than I am with teenagers being drawn to the location and parents should know about this,” she added.

Ironically St. David’s Castle is situated beside the similarly empty shopping centre building, providing a stark contrast between new and historic buildings which are locked up and have no public function.

A faded notice warning visitors not to proceed stands at one entrance to the castle grounds, which is thought to date back to the early 1200s. King John visited Naas in 1206 and again 4 years later when he held what local historians refer to a “form of parliament” in Naas. It was around this time that County Kildare became a separate county in its own right.

The site is currently strewn with litter including drinks cans and plastic bottles. Gutters attached to outbuildings groan under the weight of branches growing wild. The surrounding area is overgrown with weeds and nettles while the main building itself is in a state of disrepair with windows and window frames in a broken and decayed state.