Casino Marino is regarded as one of the finest Neo-Classical buildings in Europe. It is also one of the most surprising. It was designed by Sir William Chambers as a pleasure home for James Caulfield (1st Earl of Charlemont). This national monument is covered in the most delicately executed decorations in the Greek and Roman styles. Although casino means ‘small house’, this one, with clever use of perspective, has 16 finely decorated rooms within it, including ‘The Zodiac Room’. Other notable features are the chimneys, which are disguised as urns and the columns, which filter rain water down inside them using metal chains (this was a Chinese invention that James Caulfield saw on his travels). The wood on the mosaic floors were made up from rare woods from Africa and South America (some of these trees are now extinct). It was also used by Michael Collins during the War of Independence as a hideout because it has secret tunnels connecting it to the coast.

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