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Exuberantly redecorated during the late 1800s to be a medieval/gothic fantasy, there is SO MUCH to see. You could spend hours in a room and not have seen all the detail, be constantly spying some other little thing. The meticulous attention to detail and the ability to cram as much as possible into a space was breath-taking.



The exterior castle walls were built on ancient Roman walls. You can still see the original Roman stonework. Some is displayed inside, but much of what remains was used in the construction of the walls erected in Norman and Victorian times. They've highlighted the old stonework by outlining it in coloured brick to show where oldest ends and old begins.
The exterior castle walls were built on ancient Roman walls.  You can still see the original Roman stonework.  Some is displayed inside, but much of what remains was used in the construction of the walls erected in Norman and Victorian times.  They'v photo 10462787_10154435957880023_4735929643509606070_n.jpg

The old Norman keep sitting on top of the motte and surrounded by a moat.
The old Norman keep sitting on top of the motte and surrounded by a moat. photo 1623683_10154435957550023_8260112406903601684_n.jpg

Norman keep on the right, manor house created in the 16th century on by men who decided the keep wasn't comfortable to live in on the left. The grounds between, surrounded by the walls, contained a myriad of wooden and stone buildings to support the entourage of a powerful lord and his holdings. It was, in essence, a small, walled town for most of its time as an active castle.
Norman keep on the right, manor house created in the 16th century on by men who decided the keep wasn't comfortable to live in on the left.  The grounds between, surrounded by the walls, contained a myriad of wooden and stone buildings to support the photo 10517480_10154435958210023_3383685625444834002_n.jpg

The clock tower, built when the castle was renovated and restored by the Marquess. At the time, it was the tallest building in Cardiff and caused much comment. Some of those comments were "more money than sense"… but there were also plenty who liked the colourful, interesting structure.
The clock tower, built when the castle was renovated and restored by the Marquess.  At the time, it was the tallest building in Cardiff and caused much comment.  Some of those comments were "more money than sense"? but there were also plent photo 10570472_10154435957400023_7960026989527384205_n.jpg

The Abandoned Soldier. This sculpture comes with a letter from the Veteran's society calling out gov't for their lack of support of soldiers who come back with mental health concerns, and the eroding of what services and supports there are.
The Abandoned Soldier.  This sculpture comes with a letter from the Veteran's society calling out gov't for their lack of support of soldiers who come back with mental health concerns, and the eroding of what services and supports there are. photo 10530752_10154435957285023_6133624618018141823_n.jpg

Light. Window. Again.
Light.  Window. Again. photo 10525842_10154435957735023_5135977635606760447_n.jpg

One of the towers from the castle manor, seen through the deep-set window from the old Norman keep.
One of the towers from the castle manor, seen through the deep-set window from the old Norman keep. photo 10574297_10154435957945023_2803240366890195754_n.jpg

Welsh colours flying.
Welsh colours flying. photo 10403510_10154435958475023_7477626993958707222_n.jpg

Small child in the window.
Small child in the window. photo 10580010_10154435958140023_8049108346433171233_n.jpg

Stained glass windows showing the succession of Kings and Queens. The Marquess had in his private employ some master craftsmen in glass and wood working/carving.
Stained glass windows showing the succession of Kings and Queens.  The Marquess had in his private employ some master craftsmen in glass and wood working/carving. photo 10455304_10154435958300023_779716585830635677_n.jpg

The banqueting hall. Ridiculously resplendent, with intricate carvings and wall paintings. Angels watch you from the ceiling. Knights and ladies watch you from the walls. Animals are peeping from the woodwork wherever they could be included by the carvers. Craziness.
The banqueting hall.  Ridiculously resplendent, with intricate carvings and wall paintings.  Angels watch you from the ceiling.  Knights and ladies watch you from the walls.  Animals are peeping from the woodwork wherever they could  be included by t photo 15647_10154435958550023_955514858821448139_n.jpg

This is the fireplace in the main dining hall. If it was seen anywhere today, there'd be part of me that found it incredibly tacky and contrived. I'm sure some people thought the same at the time… but it works well enough in the extravagance of the place as a whole.
This is the fireplace in the main dining hall.  If it was seen anywhere today, there'd be part of me that found it incredibly tacky and contrived.  :-D  I'm sure some people thought the same at the time? but it works well enough in the extravagance o photo 10480996_10154435958725023_3715534702164249748_n.jpg

Detail from the centre of the ceiling in one of the rooms. Tiered upwards to create a dome effect, note, the parrots flying out from the central rosette.
Detail from the centre of the ceiling in one of the rooms.  Tiered upwards to create a dome effect, note, the parrots flying out from the central rosette. photo 10561776_10154435958160023_3922174109726373210_n.jpg

More random detailing (although I'm sure none of it was random to the Marquess who had thoroughly researched Medieval heraldry and themed the rooms.)
More random detailing (although I'm sure none of it was random to the Marquess who had thoroughly researched Medieval heraldry and themed the rooms.) photo 10540561_10154435958000023_1129548235201297319_n.jpg

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil… read no evil? A detail from the library surrounds. The library is one of the oldest parts of the building, built in the mid 1500s before being renovated into the elaborate medieval style. There were animals everywhere in the house… tiny details all over the place. A platypus carved into the top of a book case, a turtle crawling around a door surround. A parrot on the mantlepiece. Butterflies painted on the walls.
See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil? read no evil?  A detail from the library surrounds.  The library is one of the oldest parts of the building, built in the mid 1500s before being renovated into the elaborate medieval style.  There were animal photo 10340016_10154435957255023_8143281037953164075_n.jpg

During WWII, the walls of the castle were used as a bomb shelter. Understandable, given the thick stone walls. They had the sounds playing and artefacts from the time displayed… including the propaganda posters used to encourage behaviour such as coughing into a tissue, and eating potatoes instead of bread.
During WWII, the walls of the castle were used as a bomb shelter.  Understandable, given the thick stone walls.  They had the sounds playing and artefacts from the time displayed? including the propaganda posters used to encourage behaviour such as c photo 10403404_10154435957890023_7008543205852206360_n.jpg

Rhys playing dress up in The Firing Line, a museum of the Welsh soldier.
Rhys playing dress up in The Firing Line, a museum of the Welsh soldier. photo 10533995_10154435958445023_5474827371576173861_n.jpg

Regimental colours from Detroit... surrendered to the Welsh during the war of 1812.
Regimental colours from Detroit? surrendered to the Welsh during the war of 1812. photo 1234611_10154435958015023_7077218490938870188_n.jpg

They had a falconry in the castle. Here is Bullet the Gyr Falcon. Such a pretty bird.
They had a falconry in the castle.  Here is Bullet the Gyr Falcon.  Such a pretty bird. photo 10526190_10154435957195023_7669362115622528522_n.jpg

Eurasian Eagle Owl. A gorgeous bird, with beautiful plumage, Hector was very vocal, squawking a regular intervals. His handler said it was because he wanted to be fed.
Eurasian Eagle Owl.  A gorgeous bird, with beautiful plumage, Hector was very vocal, squawking a regular intervals.  His handler said it was because he wanted to be fed. photo 1798868_10154435957525023_864531114732586792_n.jpg

This little guy was very active, hopping up and down off his perch constantly. The handler, who was holding a female of the same species, said it was because he was showing off for the female. They were tiny… about as tall as my hand… and were unimaginatively called "Little Owls"
This little guy was very active, hopping up and down off his perch constantly.  The handler, who was holding a female of the same species, said it was because he was showing off for the female.  They were tiny? about as tall as my hand? and were unim photo 10530706_10154435957740023_6639154872152825822_n.jpg

In the park near the castle. The park was an arboretum, containing over 700 different species of trees. It also was part of the castle grounds at one point and during the Victorian era, during their obsession for ruins, low walls and tiles had been laid. There had been a friary on the site, and the floor plans were known, so they picked out the shapes as a garden feature.

Fake ruins and follies sure keep history interesting.
In the park near the castle.  The park was an arboretum, containing over 700 different species of trees.  It also was part of the castle grounds at one point and during the Victorian era, during their obsession for ruins, low walls and tiles had been photo 10530657_10154435957385023_27745548580260512_n.jpg

Pictures from playing at the park on our last day with the Slacks. Olson getting in on the game of footie Rhys was playing with Cousin Keiron.
Pictures from playing at the park on our last day with the Slacks.  Olson getting in on the game of footie Rhys was playing with Cousin Keiron. photo 1901223_10154435957330023_7464149108169414967_n.jpg

The Slack boys.
The Slack Boys. photo 10516702_10154435958540023_1584573397528593388_n.jpg

Ziplining in the park. Rhys enjoyed this!
Ziplining in the park.  Rhys enjoyed this! photo 10478941_10154435958585023_3006479381910278716_n.jpg

Joanne giving her baby a cwtch.
Joanne giving her baby a cwtch. photo 10574297_10154435957565023_2236962543002002921_n.jpg

Playing Uno. Because my son has become obsessed with the game. He had so much fun visiting his relatives.
Playing Uno.  Because my son has become obsessed with the game.  He had so much fun visiting his relatives. photo 10552612_10154435957725023_9128356578732095929_n.jpg

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