Castle’s cellar opens its doors

Opening its doors in April: The vaulted medieval basement that lies beneath Cardigan Castle Green House

IF YOU’VE ever wondered what medieval secrets lie beneath Cardigan Castle, then you’ll want to attend the intriguing grand tours of the Castle Green House’s Georgian basement.

Kicking off on Friday, April 21, with another taking place the following Friday, April 28, scheduled guided tours of the medieval basement will, coincidentally, occur on the 820th anniversary of Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd’s death.

Rhys ap Gruffydd was a trusted ally of Henry II. Acting as an independent Welsh prince, he rebuilt Cardigan Castle for his own use. At the time of his death, on April 28, 1197, Rhys had been actively involved in politics and warfare for more than 60 years, and had been prince for more than 40.

The basement, which dates back to 1240, is the oldest standing remains of the once-great castle. The basement is usually off-limits to the public due to it being home to a colony of Greater Horseshoe Bats, one of Britain’s rarest mammals. However, as the bats have left their winter roost, the castle has been given permission to open the basement for a limited period.

There will be six half hourly tours of the medieval castle, starting at noon and finishing at 2.30pm.

There are only places for ten people on each tour, so booking is essential. As an added bonus, at 3pm on both Fridays, renowned historian Father James Cunnane will give a talk on the castle’s medieval past. The tours are free to castle pass holders, or otherwise are £5 for adults and £3 for children.

Book your place on the tours by either calling into the castle reception or telephoning 01239 615131.

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Dayne Stone

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