Puck has been adopted as the official mascot of Enjoy Malahide, as a local character of great importance, his life is intertwined with the history of Malahide and Ireland. Puck is to Malahide as the Shamrock is to Ireland. In the 16th Century, as befitted an Irish family of importance, the Talbots of Malahide Castle always had a jester among their retinue of attendants. One of these jesters, “Puck” by name, was also the resident caretaker. He was four foot tall and and always wore a bright tan cloak (see image above), and his main function when he wasn't entertaining was to keep watch and sound the alarm in case of attack. He lived in a turret of the Castle, now known as Puck's Staircase, where he carried out his duties as watchman in the most dedicated manner. Indeed, he was the most orderly of individuals and always kept his turret very clean and tidy. When he wasn't joking about in the main hall he was somewhat of a recluse and his food used to be left outside his door each night at sundown. Every morning the empty trays and plates, spotlessly clean, would be in the same spot awaiting collection.
It is said that Pucks spirit lives on in the castle, appearing at numerous times down the years when the castle was in danger. His dwarfish figure has appeared in photographs taken in the Great Hall. Even in external photographs of the Castle, his impish face has appeared through the ivy covering of his turret (see him in the image above). Many a Talbot family letter makes reference to his continued protection of the castle down the centuries. Some of the latter Talbots believed that he was still doing his duties as a sentry, centuries after his departure.
About thirty years ago, before the Castle was open to the public, an occasional guided tour used to take place. On nearing the area of Puck’s Staircase, the lady guide used to always ask her visitors to “please, stand aside, make way for Puck”. After a moment of silence, the tour would continue, but in a subdued fashion.
Puck’s last reported appearance was in 1976. A member of Sotheby’s staff was sitting in the Great Hall, itemising material for the pending auction, when he swears that Puck appeared on his staircase. Without any prior knowledge he described Puck as he had been known to generations of Talbots.
If you tour the castle today you will see many small doors throughout the old building leading to passages often frequented by Puck. Be sure to sure you keep an eye out for him, and if you're lucky you'll see him pulling a trick or standing guard from the ramparts.
Some of the information on this page was provided by the Historical Societies fantastic and indepth website, for further information on the history and heritage of Malahide we recommend you visit the Malahide Historical Society Museum in Malahide Castle, and their website: www.malahideheritage.com
You can contact the Society by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org