Thought I shall share a wee bit of Ireland's Restored Castles....


Cong Castle was originally built in 1228 by the O'Connors, and added to by several parties to become Ashford Castle today. Ashford Castle is set on the northern shores of Lough Corrib amidst acres of beautiful gardens and forests. Once the country estate of Lord Ardilaun and the Guinness family, it was transformed into a luxury hotel in 1939. The castle's Great Hall is lavishly decorated with rich paneling, fine period pieces, objets d'art and masterpiece paintings. Guest rooms are of the highest standards and many feature high ceilings, enormous bathrooms and delightful lake views. The main dining room offers superb continental and traditional menus, while the gourmet restaurant, The Connaught Room, specialises in excellent French cuisine. Before and after dinner in the Dungeon Bar guests are entertained by a harpist or pianist. Ashford Castle offers a full range of country sports, including fishing on Lough Corrib, clay pigeon shooting, riding and an exclusive 9-hole golf course. The hotel has just added a health center comprising a whirlpool, sauna, steam room, fully equipped gymnasium and conservatory. Ashford is an ideal base for touring the historic West Ireland, places like Kylemore Abbey and Westport House, Sligo and Drumcliffe Churchyard, the burial place of W.B. Yeats.  



Athlone (Ath Luain - the Ford of Luan) is situated on the principal fording point of the middle Shannon. In 1129 King Turlough O'Connor recognized it's strategic importance and built a wooden castle here. In 1210 King John of England ordered the building of a stone castle and bridge. The Castle was built by John de Gray, Bishop of Norwich.  

Ballyhack Castle is located on a steep slope in a commanding position overlooking Waterford estuary. The castle, a large tower house, is thought to have been built c.1450 by the Knights Hospitallers of St. John, one of the two great military orders founded at the beginning of the 12th century at the time of the Crusades. 


Ballymore Castle was built by John Lawrence in year 1585 on the land he acquired through his marriage to the daughter of O'Madden. The castle was damaged in subsequent wars and repaired by his son, Walter, in 1620.John Lawrence Jnr. was dispossessed by Cromwell in 1614. he having espoused the royalist cause in the war of that time. The castle and much of his estate was given to Sir Thomas Newcomen. He leased the castle to the Lawrences for many years. On his death it passed to Nicholas Cusack of Cushinstown, Co. Meath. who sold it to John Eyre of Eyrecourt about 1720. The Seymour family settled in the castle around 1700.The castle was modernized and a large house added in 1815. Thomas Seymour purchased the castle and lands outright from Giles Eyre around 1824. This family were to remain in possession of the castle until the early part this century. Mrs. Hale, a relative of the Seymours, inherited the estate, which was somewhat reduced with a large portion having been acquired by the Irish Land Commission. 



This marvellous house, formally the seat of the Earls of Bantry, has an incomparable setting overlooking Bantry Bay. It is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Egerton Shelswell-White, whose family came there in 1739. The Earls of Bantry travelled extensively in Europe collecting treasures and objects d'art which were brought back to furnish and enhance the great house. In one room hang four panels of Royal Aubusson tapestry which was made for Marie Antoinette on her marriage to the Dauphin: there is a Gobelin tapestry which is reputed to have been the property of Louis Phillipe, Duc d'Orleans. There is wainscoting of 17th century Spanish leather, brightly painted and embossed, chests from the Indies, urns from the Orient. The effect is one of an exuberance and enthusiasm which is infectious. Open every day throughout the year. In the courtyard of Bantry House, an Exhibition Center has been developed. This features the ill-fated French Armada invasion of December, 1796.    


Barberstown Castle was one of the first great Irish country houses to open up its splendor to the outside world. The Castle was built in the early 13th century by Nicholas Barby, a heritage that embraces over 750 years of Irish history. The restaurant at Barberstown is renowned for its creative food and has received the RAC Restaurant Award for 1996/97 and also two Rosettes from the AA for 1996/97. Each of the en suite bedrooms has been decorated in an individual style and dedicated to the ordinary and extraordinary people who have lived within its walls. The Castle received Hospitality and Comfort Awards from the RAC for 1995. Golf can be arranged at The Kildare Country Club and at several other courses nearby. Expert equestrian tuition as well as hunting, racing, tennis, gym, squash and clay pigeon shooting are all available in the area. Coarse, trout and salmon fishing on the River Liffey, ghillies available. For the less active, relax in an atmosphere of pure calm and tranquility, deep in the heart of County Kildare.  



The Benburb Estate has a long history', stretching back to the time of theO'Neills , Kings of Ulster. At the height of his power, Shane O`Neill had his main residence at Benburb, the site of which can still be identified, overlooking the river Blackwater.In the early 1600s' at the time of the Plantation, Sir Richard Wingfield, laterVicount Powerscourt, was granted 9000 acres of land in and around Benburb, including the village itself, in recognition of his services to the British Crown. The Wingfield / Powerscourt family were also granted another estate near Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, where they mainly lived and where the Powerscourt Estate still exists, though unfortunately the house was destroyed by fire in the1970's.In 1611, as part of the terms of the grant of land in Benburb. Wingfield Powerscourt built a castle and bawn at Benburb, which is still in existenceand is now under the care of the D.O.E. (Historical Monuments) who recently opened an interpretation centre in the restored west keep.The house inside the bawn walls was a later addition, built by one of the Powerscourt family in the 1700's. In 1877, James Bruce a wealthy distiller from Belfast and a partner in the firm of Dunville & Co bought the Benburb Estate in its entirety from the then Viscount Powerscourt, and set about establishing his country home in Benburb.James Bruce made many changes in Benburb. In order to build his new manorhouse, now the Servite Priory, he relocated all the inhabitants on the South side of the village street, knocked down the houses and built on the cleared site. He built a new Police Station in the village, the Post Office and a number of houses, one of which the present Church of Ireland rectory. James Bruce died in 1917 at the age of eight-two. The estate passed on to his brother Samuel who lived in London. He immediately sold the entire estate. After that it passed through a series of owners without anyone taking residence until 1940 when the War Office requisitioned the manor for the use as a military hospital. The army left the manor in 1946 and Fr. Peter Moore C.C. Moy and Fr. Thomas Soraghan P.P Clonfeacle purchased the estate on behalf of the Servite Fathers in 1947.When the Servites took over the estate, now reduced through various Land Acts to about 100 acres, it was originally used as a seminary for training student priests. At its peak, around 1960, there were as many as 100 priests and students in Benburb. In 1967 the Servites acquired premises in Dublin, and transferred the students to the city.The estate a Benburb fell into comparative disuse, with a community of about 10 Servites still living in the main house. In the 1980's the Servites decided to release the buildings which had been used by the students, for use by the wider community.A new community group, the Benburb Centre, came into being in 1985. The Benburb Centre is a registered charity and has become a company limited by guarantee. It is managed by a voluntary Board, composed of representatives of both communities, and its main aim is to promote good community relations between the two traditions in Northern Ireland. In the past, both communities have shared the history of the area though at different times. It is the goal of the Benburb Centre that, in the years ahead, the two communities will share the future together.  



It is perhaps a little ironical that the most complete building of its type in the County of Cork, and incidentally one of the city's best known landmarks, is not truly a castle at all. As is evidenced by the commemorative stone on its entrance gateway Blackrock 'Castle' was built by the Corporation in the earlier part of the 19th century.The original 'Castle' is indicated as having been a fort, erected by Lord Deputy Mountjoy in 1604 as much to defend himself against the citizens of Cork - who had showed rebellious inclinations the year before when they refused to acknowledge King James I as their new monarch following the unlamented death of Queen Elizabeth - as against the threat of a new Spanish invasion. In fact, there was already a castle or fort on the site which Mountjoy merely renovated and put in a more defensible position. This is supported by a document which petitioned the Queen in 1585 stating that Cork had a fort called Blackrock' which the citizens maintain with artillery to resist pirates and other invaders.'This building had a beacon light from a turf fire to guide shipping. In 1722 the old tower was destroyed by fire and a new one built by the citizens. The second building was also destroyed by a fire in 1827, and was again rebuilt by the city fathers at a cost of about 1,000 pounds.   



The three murder holes located in the walls of what was once the strongest castle in Munster enabled defenders to pour boiling water on attackers below.The Vikings first set up a trading post on the castle site in 950. The MacNamara Clan built the great keep at Bunratty in 1425 and it subsequently fell into the hands of the O'Briens, Princes of Thomond.The Anglo Irish Studdart family acquired the castle in 1720. They lived in the castle until the 19th century when they abandoned it and built Bunratty House, which stands on a hill at the opposite end from the castle.In 1954 Lord Gort purchased the castle and restored it to its present condition. It is now part of the renowned Bunratty Folk Park and is open to the public year round. 



Cabra Castle is a 3 star, Irish Tourist Board approved hotel, set on 100 acres of gardens and parkland. Formerly known as Cormey Castle, the property was bought in the early nineteenth century by Colonel Joseph Pratt who rebuilt it, and renamed it Cabra Castle. Cabra was once the centre of a 1000 acre estate straddling the borders of Cavan, Monaghan and Meath, though most of the land now forms part of the Dun Na Ri National Forest Park. Nearby, lies the charming town of Carrickmacross, home of the famous lace. The neighboring town of Kells with its High Crosses and Round Tower, and the Georgian village of Slane are steeped in history. The magnificent complex of Bronze Age tombs of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth are well renowned, all offer a glimpse of the area's colorful history and great natural beauty.  


Cahir Castle (mainly 13-15th century), now fully restored, was the largest of its period in Ireland. It has a massive keep, high enclosing walls, spacious courtyards and a hall, and is now an architectural interpretative centre. A guide service is available all year round, Building began in the early 13th century when the castle came into the hands of the Anglo Norman Butlers in 1375. The Butlers of Cahir sided with the Irish in the Elizabethan Wars, and in 1599 Elizabeth's deputy, the Earl of Essex, took the castle after a short 3 day siege in which the walls were widely breached by - the English artillery. In 1647 the castle was surrendered to the Parliamentary commander, Lord lnchiquin, by the guardian of Lord Cahir. George Mathews. Mathews also surrendered the castle to Cromwell in 1650 without firing a shot. Two years later the long war ended officially with the signing of articles in Cahir Castle.   



One of the finest Norman castles in Ireland, Carrickfergus Castle is sited along the harbour front, controlling the seashore. The mighty stronghold of Carrickfergus, once the centre of Anglo-Norman power in Ulster, is a remarkably complete and well-preserved early medieval castle that has survived intact despite 750 years of continuous military occupation.The core of the castle, the inner ward and keep, was built by John de Courcy, who conquered east Ulster in 1177 and ruled as a petty king until 1204, when he was ousted by another Norman adventurer, Hugh de Lacy. Initially de Courcy built the inner ward, a small bailey at the end of the promontory with a high polygonal curtain wall and east gate. It had a number of buildings, including the great hall, and must have been very cramped, especially after the keep was built in the north corner.Probably built in the late 1180s, the keep is a massive four-storey tower, 90-feet high, with a second-storey entrance. Its entry chamber, originally one large, poorly lit room with a double latrine and no fireplace, served as the public room. A shaft gave access to a well below and a mural stair led down to the vaulted storage cellar. De Courcy's curia probably used the third storey, another poorly lit room, with a fireplace and a single latrine. The fourth storey, a high, brightly lit room with windows in all four walls, a fireplace and single latrine, was the principal chamber and must have served as de Courcy's private quarters.Following its capture by King John in 1210, the castle passed to the Crown, and constables were appointed to command the place. In 1217 the new constable, De Serlane, was assigned �100 to build a new curtain wall so that the approach along the rock could be protected, as well as the eastern approaches over the sand exposed at low tide. The middle-ward curtain wall was later reduced to ground level in the eighteenth century, save along the seaward side, where it survives with a postern gate and the east tower, notable for a fine array of cross-bow loops at basement level.After being restored to the Ulster Earldom in 1227, Hugh de Lacy returned to Carrickfergus, where he remained until his death in 1242. It was almost certainly de Lacy who enclosed the remainder of the promontory to form an outer ward, doubling the area of the castle. Its curtain wall follows the line of the rock below, with two polygonal towers on the west and an impressive gatehouse with twin flanking towers on the north. Both towers were originally circular in plan, like the contemporary gatehouse at Chepstow in Gwent, but during the sixteenth century were cut in half and lowered in height to accommodate artillery.A chamber on the first floor of the east tower is believed to have been the castle's chapel because of its fine Romanesque-style double window surround, though the original chapel must have been in the inner ward. The ribbed vault over the entrance passage, the murder hole and the massive portcullis at either end of the gatehouse are later insertions, probably part of the remodelling that followed Edward Bruce's long and bitter siege of 1315-16.After the collapse of the Earldom of Ulster in 1333, the castle remained the Crown's principal residential and administrative centre in the North. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries a number of improvements were made to accommodate artillery, notably externally splayed gunports and embrasures for cannon, though these improvements did not prevent the castle from being attacked and captured on many occasions during this time. When General Schomberg besieged and took the castle in 1690, its importance was already in decline.The castle was seized again in 1689 for King William and later by the French in 1760. Since that it has acted as prison, armoury and air raid shelter and is now open to the public.  


The oldest part of the Bridewell of Cahir dates from circa. 1600. It is the remains of a lookout fort, built in a commanding position overlooking Cahir Town. These ruins, consisting of a semi-circular tower and wall section, were incorporated into the Exercise Yards of the male and female prisoners.The Bridewell (Town Gaol) was planned at the Summer Assize Presentments of the County Tipperary Grand Jury in 1810. The initial building cost of �251.12s was overturned in favour of a more elaborate, castellated structure, to emphasise the fact that Cahir Castle was the centrepiece of the town, and in honour of its fortress origins. This was the idea of Richard, Lord Caher, H.Sargint and T.Doyle. As a result, the cost of construction increased many times over. The creation of towers, turrets, battlements and a machcolation (defence mechanism over main door, through which boiling oil / fat were thrown on attackers of medieval castles) of handcut limestone was expensive and time consuming. The architect of Cahir Bridewell was Michael Bernard Mullins, who submitted his plans in 1812. The Bridewell was constructed between 1813 and 1817, making it one of Cahir's oldest public buildings.The Bridewell is three stories high, with a cut-limestone spiral staircase in the main tower. It originally comprised five cells, two dayrooms, two keepers rooms and two exercise yards. Following the improvements and construction of the keeper's residence in 1850, the Bridewell comprised seven cells (five for males, one for females and one for drunken / violent prisoners), three storerooms, and two exercise yards. The keepers residence comprised a kitchen, dining room, sitting room, and two bedrooms. The buildings are enclosed by a castellated wall and entrance.The Bridewell appeared on many notable publications due to its unique appearance and situation. An issue of the Clonmel Gazette in May 1827 carried the headline "two men escaped from Cahir bridewell". The men managed to escape unnoticed but were recaptured the following day. In 1837 The Lewis Topographical Dictionary of Ireland stated "the Bridewell is a handsome castellated building, containing five cells, one dayroom and two airing yards". The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland 1846 states "The Gaol is distinct and suitable in architecture. A short time ago, it was remarkable for its delapidated state and bad management, but in 1841 it underwent repair".The reason for the dilapidated state of the Bridewell by 1841 was that the keepers job was a part time one in all Bridewells up to the 1840s. His salary of �4 12s was to be used, when repairs were needed, leaving little incentive for upkeep. When the accommodation and salary improved in 1850, the Bridewell was better kept.Due to the lawlessness and poverty of the period vast numbers were confined at Cahir Bridewell over the years. In the year September 1825 to September 1826, one hundred and fifty-six prisoners were confined here for an average of three days (waiting for transfer to Clonmel Gaol), at an average cost of five pence per head.Numbers confined continued to increase, peaking during the famine years, when five hundred and thirty- three prisoners were confined during one quarter of 1851. The prisoners were fed a pound of Bread and a pint of new milk for breakfast, and a pound of bread and a pint of skimmed milk for dinner. The local anglican clergy man was the inspector. Each cell contained, per person, one iron bedstead, one bed ticken and three blankets.The earliest view of the Bridewell is an engraving from 1853, when the property was featured as a notable estate building in the auction catalogue of Cahir Estates. The Estate went through the Encumbered Estates Court, as it was bankrupted through town improvements and a lack of rents during the famine (1846-1851). The Bridewell was one of the 52 gaols closed by the prison authorities in 1878, as part of a nationwide rationalization programme. The keepers residence was rented to local military officers, until the purchase of the building from the estate, by the present owners, the Butler Family, in 1919. The Family opened the Castle to guests, as a Bed and Breakfast in May 1976. The Castle is an interesting stop on the Cahir Heritage Trail.  




Clontarf became a significant location in Irish History, more than a century before the Castle was built. Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland, and the famous Battle of Clontarf, on Good Friday, 23rd April 1014, will always be associated with and central to the history of the Clontarf area. At the time of The Battle of Clontarf, the Clontarf area was wooded with a river flowing by. Many of the rivers in the history of Dublin no longer flow through the same area, as they were re-routed when the city was walled.It all began when Mael Morda, King of Leinster, began to plot against Brian Boru. Mael Morda made an alliance with Sitric, the Viking King of Dublin, who was assisted by the Vikings of the Orkney Islands and the Isle of Man. Brian Boru marched against them and the great battle was fought at Clontarf. It ended in victory for Boru's army.However, on the night of the victory, Boru was praying in his tent, surrounded by five men who were guarding him. A small group of Vikings who were retreating from the battle through a wooded area close the site of what is now Clontarf Castle came across the guarded tent. Realising who was being protected they killed all five guards and went on to kill Brian Boru, who by now was 72 years of age. In 1172 Adam de Phepoe or Hugh de Lacy built the Castle as an inner circle of defence sites protecting Dublin. In 1641 Luke Netherville of Corballis (near Donabate) and an army of 12,000 men took possession of Artane Castle and village in defence of their religious beliefs. George, King of Clontarf, the then owner of Clontarf Castle joined in the rebellion. Netherville and George King seized a vessel believed to contain the weapons and ammunition of the enemy. After they seized the weapons they returned to Swords and a lot of the local farmers and fishermen joined Nethervilles rebellious army.


On 15th December 1641, the Puritan Republic General, Sir Charles Coote, led a troop of soldiers into Clontarf to quell the rebel activities. He found most of the ships cargo of weapons and ammunition in King George's Clontarf Castle. Then the massive sum of �400.00 was put on the King's head and the Castle was confiscated. Coote marched on to Swords and defeated Netherville and his rebel army.On 14th August 1649 Oliver Cromwell granted the estate to John Blackwel, who sold it to John Vernon who was Quartermaster General of Cromwell's army here in Ireland. John Vernon acquired the property around Clontarf Castle which was a strong family base around the year 1660. The Vernons were in Clontarf for almost 300 years, with a family motto of 'Vernon Semper Viret', which means 'Vernon always flourished'.In 1660 John Vernon passed the Castle on to his son Edward. Edward died in 1684 and one of his sisters took over the Castle. In 1695 a first cousin of Edward's, also named John Vernon claimed rights to the Castle. The estate was granted to him by an Act of Parliament in 1698.In 1835 the original building was unsafe and a distinguished Irish architect, William Vetruvius Morrison, was called in to survey the building. He perceived the problem as sinking foundations and the building was demolished. It was rebuilt and the Castle as we know it was completed in 1837.The male line of the Vernons failed and the estate was passed on to George Oulton, through one of John Vernon's nieces. JG Oulton took over the Vernon estate and became President of the Clontarf Cricket and Football Clubs and later donated the grounds to the members. He had five children, two of whom are still alive and living in England. He died in the Castle on April 17th 1952 and the Castle was left to his son Desmond, who sold it to pay death duties and other debts.The building was vacant for a number of years until 1957 when Mrs. Egan bought it. She sold it to Eddie and Gerry Regan in the 1960's. The Regans extended the Castle to cater for the wedding trade and growing cabaret trade, which was run throughout the year.In 1972, Gerry and Carmel Houlihan bought the Castle and ran it as one of Ireland's best cabaret venues until April 1997, when the last cabaret show was staged.The Castle was reopened in June 1998, as a superb four star hotel, with deluxe bedrooms, conference and banqueting facilities, Templar's Bistro, The Knight's Bar and The Drawbridge Tavern.Gone are the days of warriors and fighting - today visitors will find a warm welcome and can taste the delights of culinary expertise.  



The family home of the Earls of Belmore, Castle Coole is one of the treasures of the National Trust. A magnificent neo-classical house designed by James Wyatt, it has remarkably fine interiors and exquisite furniture and furnishings from before 1830.A Regency Saloon with gilded mirrors and marvellous inlaid woodwork is rivalled by a lavish state bedroom, hung with crimson silk, said to have been prepared for George IV. It also has impressive halls, staircase, a dining room of splendour and a delicately pretty Chinese sitting room. Castle Coole is set in a park worthy of the magnificence of the house. 



Cregg Castle was built by the Kirwin Family in 1648. It was the last fortified castle (i.e. with high walls and turrets) built west of the river Shannon. We are situated 9 miles north of Galway City near the village of Corrandulla. Thus we are quiet and secluded on 165 acres of wood and farmland, and yet only 15 minutes drive away from Galway shopping and nightlife, and ideally situated for touring Connemara, Clare, Mayo and Galway. Fishing and horse-riding can be found nearby, as well as 4 pubs ! It is advisable though, to have your own transport, and wellington boots if you like walking in the wet times !Clement Kirwin (of one of the famous 14 Tribes of Galway) built Cregg Castle in 1648. The world famous scientist and Chemist, Richard Kirwin inherited the estate in 1754. Remains of his laboratory are still in the orchard. There is a Queen Anne bell tower in the yard, also a delightful little chapel in the castle for which we are collecting museum items. After the Kirwans came the Blakes (another of the Great Tribes), who stayed until 1947. The "Great Hall" is 36 x 24 x 20 ft high with wonderful acoustics. It is the relaxed atmosphere, the music, the chat and the historic building which make Cregg Castle a memorable experience. With rooms at �20 to �30 per person, prices are very reasonable. This is a little more than ordinary guest houses, but considerably less than the average hotel. The spacious rooms are ideal for families, with children's rates set at 50% reduction (sharing parents' room). Children of cot age are free of charge. Home cooked evening meals (limited menu) are available. Some rooms have private bathrooms. Others are 2 bedrooms sharing one bathroom and toilet. This makes it ideal for families and small groups. The entire building is centrally heated.   


Continued on discussion walls, to many bloody castles in Ireland,and these are only some of  the restored ones.

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The Castle, dating from the 15th century is situated in a fine parkland setting and surrounded by mature trees. The courtyard, approached through a medieval arched gateway has lofted stone faced buildings while the outer yard has very impressive stone faced buildings with stabling for 20 horses. Also included is an outdoor manege, partly walled garden and orchard. The lands, all in old pasture, have excellent road frontage and are renowned for their fattening qualities.In the early 12th Century a man named Patrick Babe was given 500 acres of land in the parish of Derver by King James II. He built a castle for himself and his family to live in on the grounds formerly owned by the church. The castle was built on the north side of the hill north of the cave and on the edge of the deep slope that led to the banks of two rivers, which provided fish and eels for the family food.

The rivers acted as security from the enemy advancing from the north. With a large yard wall to the east 12 feet high and 20 acres of woodland to the west helped keep the enemy out. But a problem arose on the southside of the hill as it sloped to a deep valley and joined the high hill of newtown Darver. As the top of this hill is just 4 feet higher than the level of the top of the castle. So the soldiers were unable to see the enemy approaching from the south. Patrick Babe had a round tower built on the very top of the hill and placed soldiers into this garrison which gave them a clear view for 40 miles away so no enemy ever got near Darver castle during all the wars.The church was never reached by Cromwell because of the protection from the hilltower. When the wars were over, Patrick Babe had wings put on the front of the tower and converted it into a windmill, and used it to ground corn for himself and his tenants. This continued for 150 years until large mills were built on the edge of the rivers, powered by the water, so that the use of the towermill ended and it was later demolished and the land around made arable. The hill is still known as windmill hill. 12thC Patrick Babe built the castle. Later he built 14 tenant houses. 1385 John Babe was given the advocasy of the church 1655 The Babes rented the castle to Abraham Ball. He died in 1742. 1740 James Babe sold the castle and 500 acres of land to Richard Fiscall Dublin for $4,000 1777 According to a survey done by Taylor and Skinner. The castle was idle. 1789 John Booth bought the castle. He died in 1840. 1840 Joseph Booth appears. He added the new wing and porch. 1857 John Filgate Booth died there. 1890 Frances Rutherford died there. 1894 Elizabeth Booth died there. 1906 Charles Rutherford died there. 1921 Zane Booth died there. 1980 John Booth died there. 1993 McCormack family took over.   


Kinsale's International Museum of Wine tells the romantic story of the Irish emigrants who colonized the wine trade throughout the world after being forced to leave their own shores. The museum is located in Desmond Castle, a 15th century Customs House which belonged to the Fitzgerald family. Kinsale was a designated Wine Port and supplied ships for the Vintage Fleet (forerunner of the British Navy) as far back as 1412. In that year the Vintage Fleet of some 160 vessels plying from Bordeaux included five Irish owned vessels - three from Kinsale and two from Dublin.  


Donegal Castle was the residence of the O'Donnell Family, who were originally loyal subjects of Queen Elizabeth I.This changed when the last of the family "Red" Hugh O'Donnell, with his friend, Hugh O'Neill rebelled and fought a bloody nine years war, which they lost and were forced to finally accept the English laws, language, religion and customs. In return "Red" Hugh was allowed to keep the castle and lands. After a few years of English interference, he fled to Spain where he was poisoned.  It is rumored that before he left, he burned the castle to prevent the English using it. King James granted the castle to an English subject, Sir Basil Brooke, who rebuilt it. 



Drimnagh Castle was, until 1954 one of the oldest continually inhabited Castles in Ireland, and is an outstanding example of an old feudal stronghold. It is the only Irish castle still to be surrounded by a flooded moat, a very picturesque feature, described in 1780 as a "very deep ditch of water supplied from the Green Hills". It is now stocked with fish. The castle, built of local grey limestone, consists of a restored Great Hall and medieval undercroft, a tall battlement tower with lookout posts, and other separate buildings including stables, old coach, dairy and folly tower. One of the most attractive aspects of Drimnagh is the garden - a formal 17th Century layout with box hedges, yews, mop head laurels and an allee of hornbeam.It is now restored after voluntary effort, initiated by Peter Pearson and Fas trainees under the supervision of a qualified stonemason, and has a great hall with hand carved oak roof and balcomies, a richly coloured medieval floor, a murder hole, a formal 17th century style garden and a collection of fowl belonging to Br. Linnane, Principal of the Christian Brothers secondary school . The school , built on the grounds , was originally in the late 1950's started in the castle itself after it was handed over by its private owner, Mr. Hatch.  Drimnagh Castle, Longmile Road, Dublin 12. It was built in 13th century by the Anglo Norman family of Barnewall. 








An Drishean in Irish meaning the place of the briars, the castle was built by the McCarthys between 1436 and 1450, and commands a beautiful view of the chain of mountains, starting with Claragh, which run in an uninterrupted line to Killarney.The Wallis family took over the castle and lands in 1719 but when in 1900 the era of the landlords came to an end the Wallis family sold the estate.In 1990 the Sisters of Infant Jesus bought it from its owner for a girls boarding school until its closure in 1992.   



Dromoland Castle, near Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare, now functions as a luxury hotel with its own golf course. The present building was completed in 1835 but the first building constructed here seems to have been a fifteenth or early sixteenth century tower house. There were at least three houses here, at various times, called Dromoland. They were inhabited by eight generations of the O'Brien family. According to the historian James Frost, Dromoland translates as the "Hill of Litigation."In 1551 Dromoland was listed in the will of Murrough O'Brien. He was first Tanist and in 1543 he had been granted the title of first Earl of Thomond by Henry VIII. Murrough bequeathed Leamaneh Castle to his third son Donough MacMurrough O'Brien. He also gave him the castle and lands at Dromoland. In 1582 Donough was hanged in Limerick on charges of rebellion. It was decided that all his property would be forfeited to the Queen. George Cusack, the sheriff, then took possession of Dromoland. Some years later Turlough O'Brien killed Sir George and various O'Briens attempted to re-possess Dromoland. However, the fourth Earl of Thomond claimed to have sole ownership and tried to exclude Donough's son, Conor MacDonough O'Brien.The outcome of this dispute is unclear but in 1604 when Conor died he left Dromoland to his son, Donough MacConor O'Brien. Donough, whose mother was Slany O'Brien, was only about eight years old at this time. A legal battle ensued between the fourth Earl and Slany O'Brien. The dispute was settled by arbitration in 1613. The Earl, by now Lord Thomond, became owner of Dromoland on payment of �132.13.4. in compensation to Slany O'Brien. However, when Donough was older he refused to accept this agreement. By 1614 a William Starkey was leasing Dromoland from Lord Thomond. By 1628 Lord Thomond was dead and Donough continued the dispute through the Court of Wards and Liveries in Dublin. In 1629 Donough was granted entry "on all the manors, lands and tenements of his late father" on payment of a fine. However, Dromoland was not listed among the many properties named and it rested with the Earls of Thomond for another fifty years, though the fifth Earl did transfer two other properties to Donough as compensation.Robert Starkey, son of William, was in residence at Dromoland when the rebellion of 1641 began. It seems that he either fled the area or sublet the property because in 1642 Col. Conor O'Brien of Leamaneh, son of Donough and husband of Maire Rua, seized the castle, thereby continuing his fathers claim to Dromoland. Conor was killed in battle in 1651. His eldest son Donough , born to Conor and Maire Rua in 1642, was now heir to Leamaneh Castle and to the family claim on Dromoland.Robert Starkey resumed the lease and in 1666 Dromoland was sub-leased to Colonel Daniel O'Brien from Carrigaholt. Three years later it was assigned to Thomas Walcott of Moyhill. Finally, in 1684 the freehold was assigned to Donough O'Brien. At this time Dromoland was a modest house. The original tower house seems to have been added onto during Starkey's time there, before Donough moved in from Leamaneh.Through the years visitors to Dromoland have written various descriptions of the place. Sir Donough, 1st Baronet, died in 1717. During his time at Dromoland it was described as "a handsome Grecian Building." Donoughs son Lucius also died in 1717 so Edward, son of Lucius, became 2nd Baronet. This first Sir Edward O'Brien decorated the house with pictures and carvings. He also had designs drawn up for a new house. Thomas Roberts and John Aheron both submitted drawings to him for a house and garden at Dromoland. It seems that John Aheron was the architect responsible for the final design. He also designed the Gazebo on Turret Hill, across the road from the main entrance gateway. It was probably built for observing the training of horses. Dromoland was now a ten bay, two and a half storey house. A two-storey quadrangle was completed in 1736. Edward died in 1765. In 1795 an issue of the "Gentleman's Magazine" gave the following description of Dromoland - "the noble and beautiful seat of Sir Lucius O'Brien, Bart., in the county of Clare, situated on a hill gently rising from a lake of twenty four acres in the middle of woods. Three beautiful hills rise above it, commanding fine prospects of the great rivers Fergus and Shannon at their junction, being each of them a league wide."Sir Lucius O'Brien was the eldest son of the first Sir Edward. Lucius was the 3rd Baronet. He died in 1794. His son, the second Sir Edward, was the 4th Baronet. Edward decided to rebuild the castle. Work began around 1822 and cost about �50,000 to complete. The Pain brothers submitted some classical designs but their neo-gothic designs, influenced by John Nash, were chosen. James and George Pain had been pupils of Nash in England. The building was completed in 1835. Samuel Lewis writing in 1837 says of Dromoland - "a superb edifice in the castellated style, lately erected on the site of the ancient mansion, and surrounded by an extensive and richly wooded demesne, in which great improvements have recently been made". Edward was married to Charlotte Smith and her inherited wealth was probably essential in covering construction costs of their new mansion. Edward and Charlotte were parents of William Smith O'Brien, a leading Young Irelander. Sir Edward died in 1837. His eldest son Lucius was 5th Baronet and 13th Baron Inchiquin.Burkes "Visitation of Seats", published in 1855 gives the following description of Dromoland - "It is built entirely of dark blue limestone, and in fine chiselled workmanship; the ornamental grounds and woods extend over more than 1,500 acres of land?from some of the eminences there are views of the Shannon and Fergus, which, at this part of the country, resembles a large inland lake with island, making Dromoland one of the most beautiful and desirable residences in Ireland."Dromoland has been preserved with little change since that time. The mansion is in "baronial" or "gothic revival" style. It has four linked irregular castellated turrets. There is a gothic porch to the north front where the O'Brien arms are displayed. The western portion faces out to the lake, and the east towards the hill where Thomond House now stands. The large walled gardens are to the south. In 1902 the 15th Baron Inchiquin, Lucius, took the old seventeenth century gateway from Leamaneh and erected it at the entrance to this large walled garden. A long curving drive leads from the gateway and classical lodge, passing north of the lake and round to the front door of Dromoland Castle.In 1962, Donough O'Brien, the sixteenth Baron Inchiquin, sold Dromoland Castle and three hundred and fifty acres because of difficult financial circumstances. He built Thomond House on a hill overlooking Dromoland. He moved in to this Georgian style house in 1965 but died in 1968. It is now occupied by the 18th Baron Inchiquin.Dromoland Castle was bought by a U.S. citizen, Bernard McDonough. Its vast rooms now serve as a top grade hotel.   



Built by the Normans in the 13th century, Dublin Castle has only two of its original towers and a portion of the medieval wall still standing. The rest of this former seat of British viceroys reveals architectural remodeling from the 1850s. Well worth visiting are the sumptuous State Apartments, which were recently restored.Dublin Castle is the heart of historic Dublin. In fact the city gets its name from the Black Pool ? 'Dubh linn' which was on the site of the present Castle Garden. The Castle stands on the ridge on a strategic site at the junction of the River Liffey and its tributary the Poddle, where the original fortification may have been an early Gaelic Ring Fort.Later a Viking Fortress stood on this site ? a portion of which is on view to visitors at the 'Undercroft'. The largest visible fragment of the original 13th century Norman Castle is the Record Tower. Beside it is the early 19th century Gothic revival Chapel Royal which was restored in 1989 and features particularly fine plaster decoration and carved oak gallery fronts and fittings.The Great Courtyard, best known from James Malton's celebrated view of 1792, contains the principal buildings of the post medieval Castle which formerly housed the vice-regal administration. The modern Conference facilities can be viewed from the Gate of Fortitude. The south range houses the magnificent State Apartments which were built as the residential quarters of the Vicarage court. They are now the venue for Ireland's Presidencies of the European Community, Presidential Inaugurations and State Functions. Dublin Castle Tourist and Conference Facilities are under the management of the Office of Public Works. The State Apartments, Undercroft and Chapel Royal are open to visitors (on occasion the State Apartments only may be closed for State purposes). The Vaults Restaurant, Heritage Centre and Craft Shop are also open to visitors.   


There has been a Castle in Dungiven since the 1600s', however most of the present building dates from the 1830s'. It has been put to many uses over the years, from private residence to GI accommodation during World War II.In the 50s' and 60s' it was run as a popular dancehall, until it fell into disrepair during the 1970s'. It had fallen into such a state that the local council decided to demolish it, however this was luckily prevented by a local pressure group.By 1989 Glenshane Community Development bought the lease, hoping to redevelop it in some way. Funding was sought for and provided by various bodies, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, International Fund for Ireland, Limavady Borough Council and Roe Valley Leader Group.Restoration work began in December 1999 and was completed by August 2000. In March 2001 the Castle was re-opened again providing quality budget accommodation.  



Dunguaire Castle, on Galway Bay, was built in 1520 by the Hynes Clan. Their association with the site itself goes back to 662 AD when Guaire, King of Connaught, an early ancestor of the clan, ruled the kingdom from an earthwork Rath close to the site of the present castle.

In the 17th century the castle passed to Richard Martyn, Mayor of Galway. After that it was purchased by Oliver St. John Gogarty and became the center of literary meetings of such writers as W.B. Yeats, his patron Lady Gregory, George Bernard Shaw, Edward Martin and J.M. Synge.In 1954 Christobel Lady Ampthill acquired the castle and completed the restorations. It is now owned by Shannon Development and is open to the public from May through October and medieval banquets, complete with entertainment centered around the literary giants that once met here, are held twice nightly, subject to demand.   



When the Normans built a castle they built it to last. Enniscorthy Castle, in the centre of the town and overlooking the Slaney River, proves the point. Nearly 800 years after its construction, the huge castle is still in remarkable condition. Though restored and modernised in recent times many original features remain. The three drum towers which flank the castle are classics of their kind.Down the centuries the castle had many owners, including the poet Edmund Spenser. It is said that he was given the castle by Elizabeth 1 of England in gratitude for his epic 'The Faerie Queen' which said many flattering things about her.Nowadays, Enniscorthy Castle is the home of the County Wexford Historical and Folk Museum which features a fascinating collection of artifacts. One of its nicest features include the 1798 and 1916 rooms for memorabilia of those famous uprisings.Enniscorthy Castle, a square towered castle rebuilt about 1586, is in perfect preservation and is now a folk museum which is open to the public. The original castle here may have been erected by Raymond le Gros. Later it came into the hands of the MacMurrough Kavanaghs, who granted it to the Franciscan monastery.After the suppression of the monasteries the castle and lands were held by a succession of owners, including the poet Spenser. The castle was damaged by Cromwell's guns in 1649. During the 1798 Rising it was used as a prison, and in the nineteenth century it was restored for use as a residence.  



Enniskillen Castle, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh 

The first castle was built on this site by Hugh Maguire in the 16th century. It consists of two sections, a central keep and a curtain wall and provided the main defence for the west end of the town and guarded the Sligo road. It has been substantially rebuilt. It is a State Care Historic Monument.It featured greatly in Irish rebellions against English rule in the 16th century and was taken after an eight day siege in 1594. In 1607 it was remodelled and refurbished by Captain William Cole. The riverside tower at the south, known as the Watergate, was added at this time.In the 18th century the castle was remodelled as the Castle Barracks.The castle is now home to the Fermanagh County Museum, which focuses on the county's history, culture and natural history. Exhibits include the area's prehistory, natural history, traditional rural life, local crafts and Belleek Pottery, and history of the castle.The castle also houses the Inniskillings Museum, which is the regimental museum of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards. Displays include uniforms, medals, flags, regimental regalia, weapons and other military memorabilia. 





The remains of the Norman Castle at Ferns is still quite impressive, the castle was built in the early part of the thirteenth century and was originally square shaped with four large round towers at each corner, the south eastern tower is still intact and is open to the public by way of a guided tour. The Castle was destroyed by Cromwell in 1649. During excavations in 1972-75 a rock-cut ditch was discovered around the castle walls and a drawbridge structure was also found on the south side.The Castle had three floors inside and there are still 13th century windows remaining in the eastern wall, pictured right. On the first floor of the eastern tower is a vaulted circular chapel, there are eight heads staring down at you from high in the roof of the chapel. A narrow winding staircase brings you to the very top of the tower where splendid views of the surrounding countryside can be taken in. Another feature of the castle is a fabulous gargoyle extending out from the south side of the south western tower.  



A historic castle estate set amid 63 acres of ground and woodland. Glenart Castle was originally built around 1750 and was formerly the Irish Residence of the Earl of Carysfort. Around 2 km from Arkiow on the road to Woodenbridge in the picturesque Avoca Valley just 44 miles from Dublin & 1.5 hours drive from Dublin Airport.Glenart Estate goes back to the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland which began in 1169. Between 1177 and 1185 large quantities of land were granted by Prince John acting on behalf of his father King Henry II to Theobald Walter from whom were descended the Butler Family and the Earls of Ormonde. The Butlers held their possession in this area for the next 500 years.In April 1714 James, Duke of Ormonde, granted the fee-farm to John Allen of Stillorgan, Co. Dublin for �1,140.00 containing 8528 acres which had been demised on the 2nd March, 1713 for lives renewable forever, at a rent of �380.00 and two fat beevers or �3.00.The first Allen Family to settle in Ireland was John Allen who came over from Holland near the end of the 17th Century. He was made Baron Allen of Kildare and Viscount Allen of StiIlorgan. He was succeeded by his son John who was a member of the Irish Parliament for 25 years representing in succession Counties Dublin, Carlow and Wicklow His second son, Robert became M.P. for the Borough of Carysfort in Co. Wicklow. John died unmarried in 1745 and he also had three sisters.In 1750, the eldest sister Elizabeth Allen was married to John Proby who was raised to the peerage in 1752 as Baron Carysfort of Co. Wicklow. Through this marriage John Proby came into possession of Glenart Castle and this Arkiow Estate. He died in 1772 and was succeeded by his only son John Joshua who was created the 1st Earl of Carysfort in 1789, and also a Peer in the UK in 1801 under the title of Baron Carysfort of the Norman Cross. John Joshua died in 1828 and succeeded by his second son John who was born in 1780.In 1750, the eldest sister Elizabeth Allen was married to John Proby who was raised to the peerage in 1752 as Baron Carysfort of Co. Wicklow. Through this marriage John Proby came into possession of Glenart Castle and this Arkiow Estate. He died in 1772 and was succeeded by his only son John Joshua who was created the 1st Earl of Carysfort in 1789, and also a Peer in the UK in 1801 under the title of Baron Carysfort of the Norman Cross. John Joshua died in 1828 and succeeded by his second son John who was born in 1780.Granville Levenson Proby, the 3rd Earl joined the royal navy and became admiral in 1857. He was M.P. for Wicklow from 1816 to 1829 and Sheriff of Co. Wicklow in 1831. He married Isabella Howard, a granddaughter of the 1st earl of Wicklow in 1818 He died in 1868. He was succeeded by Granville Levenson as the 4th Earl of Carysfort.Granville Levenson the 4th Earl became a member of Parliament in 1858 until he succeeded to the title in 1868. He died in 1872 and was succeeded by his brother William Proby, the 5th Earl of Carysfort.William Proby, the 5th Earl of Carysfort was born in 1836. He was captain of Wicklow military in 1861, high Sheriff in 1866 and Lord Lieutenant of Co. Wicklow from 1890 until his death in September 1909. William Proby was Senior Magistrate of the Arkiow Bench and always presided when he was resident in Glenart Castle. In 1860, William Proby married Charlotte, daughter of Rev. Robert Booshy but had no children. After his death, as the male line of the Proby's had ceased, so also did the Earldom.  



The rugged donegal highlands may be one of the bleakest places in Ireland, but in a secluded valley beside a mountain lough is a most remarkable garden.The garden was begun in the 1870s by Mrs Adair, a rich American heiress, following the construction of Glenveagh Castle on a bare hillside. After her death in 1929 the property was acquired by Mr. Kingsley Porter, Professor of Art at Harvard, and later in 1937 by another American, Henry P. McIlhenny.Tantalising glimpses of the castle greet the visitor along the winding lough shore road from the heather roofed reception centre. The large tree rhododendrons and Scots pine, planted over a century ago, provide the area with shelter and help to create a microclimate that is suitable for growing a range of tender plants.Colour is all important. One of the border shrubs in the Pleasure Ground, Senecio greyi, was planted by McIlhenny for its lovely grey foliage - he hated its yellow blooms which he had removed each year.Running above the Pleasure Ground to the Walled Garden is the Belgian Walk, laid down in 1915 by Belgian soldiers who were convalescing here during the war. Giant-leaved rhododendrons thrive in this area. The formal Walled Garden beside the castle provides a striking contrast to the informal planting elsewhere. It is divided into squares and contains, in addition to herbaceous borders, a mixture of fruit, vegetables and flowers in the jardin potager style.  



Huntington Castle Clonegal Home of the Durdin-Robertson family, continuously occupied since the original tower house was built In 1625 by the first Lord Esmonde.The present castellated house is the result of additions and alterations of many periods it's nucleus being the tower house. Guided tours feature visits of the Temple of Isis, conducted by Miss Olivia Robertson, the well known artist and writer. Another attraction in the grounds of Huntington is the Ulrich Ruckriem Sculpture Shed.   



Kilbrittain Castle, was built by Mahon, king of Rathleann and a grandson of Brian Boru (from whom the O'Briens are descended) in 1035. It is located on the southern tip of Ireland in County Cork in a beautiful, quiet, serene setting.Kilbrittain Castle has been occupied by Irish chieftains, Norman invaders, Cromwellian troops and Anglo-Norman planters. Kilbrittain Castle enjoys the status as one of the oldest habitable castles in Ireland.Upon approaching this wonderful property, one sweeps down the the drive, through the gates to the forbidding stone facade and external double staircase. The steps into the castle were made uneven, to disuade invaders. Irish wolfhounds, trained as attack dogs, shared space in the guard posts under the steps.Kilbrittain has a murder hole and a large round roofed room downstairs, heated by one large fireplace, were the guards slept and ate.In the 1700's the second story of the castle was taken off and two stories were added to the original structure (the first floor). In the 1800's a manor house was built onto the castle at a right angle by the Protestant owners, since at the time it was stylish to live in one of these and leave the castle empty.In the 1920's the IRA burned down the manor house. The original castle did not burn because the fire couldn't burn through the thick stone connecting wall.  



Originally built around 1180, this castle was completely restored in the 19th century. Kilkea Castle is situated in County Kildare, 40 miles southeast of Dublin, Ireland's capital city. It lies on the Athy road five miles northwest of Castledermot and was once the second home of the Maynooth Fitzgeralds. The castle grounds are supposed to be haunted by the son of Silken Fitzgerald, Gerald the Wizard Earl. The legend claims his ghost rises every seven years from the Rath of Mullaghmast to free Ireland from its enemies. This is a neat trick because the Wizard Earl is buried in London!A great deal of restoration was carried out on the castle in the 19th century. The castle is now a resort hotel and golf club. The castle has 40 guest rooms, a restaurant, two bars, a health and fitness center, a golf course and clubhouse, a helicopter pad, and conference & wedding facilities. Some of the activities include golfing, tennis, clay pigeon shooting, and fishing. There are also four horse race tracks within about 20 miles if you like the ponies. The castle has some beautiful gardens which you must see.Among the castle's oddities is an Evil Eye Stone set high up on the exterior wall at the back of the castle. The Evil Eye Stone is thought to date from the 13th or 14th century. It is a depiction of various half-human, animal and birdlike figures engaging an erotic behavior. 



Kilkenny Castle, at the south-eastern end of the city, is a magnificent building on high grounds beside the river. It was built in the thirteenth century in place of an earlier fortress erected by Strongbow . Though much altered, the structure retains the lines of a medievel fortress. Today it forms three sides of a quadrangle, and three of the four original round corner towers remain. From the fourteenth century the castle was the main seat of the Butlers, the Earls and Dukes of Ormonde, who play a large part in Irish history. Today the castle is in state care, having been handed over to the city of Kilkenny by the Marquess of Ormonde, prior to restoration and opening to the public. In the old castle stables is the Kilkenny Design Centre where an exhibition hall is open to visitors. Before the Normans came in the 12th century, Kilkenny's houses clung to the 6th century monastery of St Canice and the settlement was the capital of Ossory, a subkingdom of Leinster. But the strategic possibilities of the hilltop site were quickly grasped by William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, who built a castle there in 1192.At times, kilkenny vied with Dublin in importance, and numerous Irish parliaments were held there. In 1391 the lordship was brought by James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormonde, one of a family that figured prominently in Ireland's uneasy history.The Castle was the principal seat of the Ormondes from 1391 to 1935, and during that time evolved from medieval castle to Restoration chateau to Victorian country house. It is this last period that most influnces the interior. The long picture gallery with painted beams contains portraits by Kneller, Lely, Van Dyke and the pre-Raphaelites. Kilkenny Castle saw its last struggle in the Civil War of 1922, when it was taken over by Anti-Treatyites (who opposed the treaty with Britain dividing Ireland). But they surrended peaceably after two days. The Castle's creeper-clad walls rear above the clear waters of the River Nore. Its great drum towers make it look a mixture of a child's toy fort and French chateau. It occupies three sides of a square - the fourth was destroyed in 1659, opening up a splendid view across parkland to distant hills.  



Killaghy Castle is a Norman castle which stands 300 yards from the village of Mullinahone.Originally, in 1206, it was a Motte and Bailey, which is still visible to the left of the castle.
The St. Aulyus lived there for 8 years and then erected a stone castle to take the place of the Motte and Bailey. This had four floors and a stone spiral stairway. During Tudor times a long house was added to the rear of the castle.Between this and 1800 two other buildings were added, making Killaghy what it is today.The original owners were Cromwellian planters by the name of Greene who in turn, through marriage, passed ownership to Despards and in turn to Wright. The castle has been owned by Watson, Fox,Naughton, Bradshaw, and Sherwood. 



Killyleagh Castle was described by Harold Nicholson over a century ago as"..pricking castellated ears above the smoke of of its own village and towering like some chateau of the Loire above the tides of Strangford Lough." It could be said that nothing much has changed.The village of Killyleagh grew up around a fortified tower, built in the 12th century by the Norman knight, John de Courcy, conqueror of Ulster. Today, it is the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland.The castle has self-catering apartments within the castle's towers, provide visitors with a unique holiday experience. Hans Sloan, 17th century founder of the British Museum and Kew Gardens was born in a house close by and received his early education in the castle.Over the centuries the castle has been extensively modified although much of the original fabric still remains. Most recent additions, made during the 1850s, have created a fairytale, gothic facade, resembling a French Loire valley chateau. Through the centuries, as castle and village grew and changed, Killyleagh played its part in Ireland's often turbulent history.The Plantation of Ulster would see the arrival of Scots and English migrants. The Industrial revolution would turn the sleepy fishing village - briefly - into booming mill town.In 1846 the Potato famine would decimate the population. Today, the village has an unhurried pace, reflected perfectly by the character of the Dufferin Arms Coaching Inn, beside the Castle, which still dominates the 17th century streets with their rows of neat, slate roofed houses running down hill to the little harbour. Little shops still sell home baked bread and fresh local vegetables. A solitary mill still spins the best quality Irish linen yarn. And the clear, blue water of Strangford Lough still lap on the rocky shore. 



King John's Castle remains a most impressive Anglo-Norman fortification, even after 780 years. This five-sided castle was erected in the early years of the 13th century, probably between 1200 and 1216, as a royal fortress on the River Shannon, and as an administration and military center for the most westerly city of the Angevin empire, ruled , as the name implies, by the Plantagenets from Anjou of France.It was uniquely built for its day, without a keep and with high curtain walls to withstand the awesome power of the new siege machines. Its massive gate towers and drum comer towers were state-of-the-art features for the beginning of the 13th century.Its corner towers and double-towered gate-house reflect the architecture of castle building around the year 1200. And, as the archaeological excavations have shown, the castle was built on the site of an early fortification, incorporating some of the earthwork defenses into the castle plan.During the 17th century sieges the castle suffered badly. In 1651 it was surrendered with the city to Cromwell's army. Patches of brickwork show hasty repairs after the siege bombardments of the early 1690s. Many alterations and repairs were carried out in the succeeding centuries. The domestic buildings of the courtyard do not survive, except for remnants of a 13th century hall and the site of what could be the castle chapel.  



This early Norman fortress was named after King John who visited Carlingford in 1210. The western portion of the castle predates this visit and was probably commissioned by Hugh de Lacy c. 1190.A massive curtain wall divides the earlier western courtyard from the eastern wing, which contained the living quarters. The eastern section was constructed in the mid 13th century and has alterations and additions dating from the 15th and 16th centuries.The castle commanded an important defensive position on the Lough but by the 16th century it was described as in a wretched condition and remained so until conservation work in the 1950s. 



Nestled amid the Slieve Bloom mountains and in the heart of Ely O' Carroll country, Kinnitty Castle is one of the strongholds of the O' Carroll family of which one Charles Óg O' Carroll was one of the signatories of the American Declaration of Independance. The family still maintain vast estates in Maryland. In the mid 1890's Montgomery Hitchcock and family lived in Kinnitty. Little was it known at the time that his son Rex Ingram would go to Hollywood to become a noted director of spectacular silent movies. Still in existence today on the Estate are the remains of an ancient Augustinian monastery and ancient Celtic Cross dating from the 7th century. The high cross depicts the presentation in the temple and the crucifixion on the east face, Adam and Eve and intertwining birds. Kinnitty located in the centre of Ireland is an ideal base from which to explore many sites and trails. The estate itself includes 65 acres of parkland, formal gardens and a walled-in garden.Tastefully refurbished and in keeping with its old world style Kinnitty Castle, once home to the Bernard Family has been transformed into a magnificent country residence. Incorporating ten ensuite bedrooms, they retain their original dimensions in keeping with the period of the Castle. Excellent cuisine, fine wines, open log fires and candlelight together a very warm and friendly welcome create an atmosphers and hospitality that is special to Kinnitty Castle. Wildlife is abundant and undisturbed. Leisure facilities include tennis, fishing, shooting and a fully equipped health and leisure centre. Esquestrian holidays are a speciality providing numerous equestrian activities including tuition, trailing and trekking. The old Estate encompasses 10,000 acres which are directly accessible from the Castle where guests can wander through unspoilt woodland on horseback and lose themselves in the peace and tranquillity of their surroundings.  



Knappogue was built by Sean MacNamara, son of Sioda who built Bunratty, in 1467.Sean, Lord of Clancullen's reputation for lavish parties and royal entertainment surpassed even the reputation of his father for hospitality and lavishness.In 1571 the castle became the seat of the MacNamara Clan, Earls of West Clancullen.Douglas MacNamara was a leader of the 1641 rebellion and the castle was occupied by the Cromwellian forces. Arthur Smith was then granted the castle but it was later returned to the MacNamaras.The MacNamara Clan sold the castle to the Scotts in 1800.The castle is open to the public May through October and twice nightly during this time medieval banquets are held, subject to demand. The theme of the entertainment at these banquets is the story of the women of Ireland, from pirate queen to saints to sinners.


Leap Castle is one of the most haunted castles in Ireland.Though turbulent centuries, Leap Castle kept watch for the lords of Ely O'Carroll and still stands fortress-like on its perch overlooking a vast stretch of the countryside. It guarded the pass from the Slieve Bloom into Munster. From here the O'Carrolls set out for victory and defeat, here they brought their brides and captives, within lurks Ireland's most intriguing elemental presence - unique in that it is reputed to give off a ghastly ghostly odour.The Gaelic name for the castle is "Leim ui Bhanain" - which means the Leap of the O Bannons. .The O Bannon clan were the first owners of Leap . Before the O Carrolls went to live in the Castle the O Bannon family were under chiefs of the O Carrolls.The Leap Castle is a keep.The keep it self was built in the fourteenth or fifteenth century Around 1604 or 1605 some of the territory of Ely O Carroll was attached to Kings County which is now known as Offaly.There is a rumour that an O Carroll daughter helped a Darby to escape from the castle and then married him afterwards Following the failure of the Revolt of the Earls, in 1619 the plantation of Ely O Carroll took place. The English rulers settled the area with loyal Protestant Scots and Englishmen and deprived the local Gaelic population of their land. Leap Castle passed into the hands of the Darby family. Many Darbys became high Sheriff of Kings County.But the most famous Darby who was Admiral Sir Henry Darby fought at the battle of the Nile.Sir Henry Darby escorted Napoleon Bonaparte into exile when he left France. John Nelson Darby, who died in 1832, wrote around thirty volumes.In the 17th century the castle passed to Richard Martyn, Mayor of Galway. After that it was purchased by Oliver St. John Gogarty and became the center of literary meetings of such writers as W.B. Yeats, his patron Lady Gregory, George Bernard Shaw, Edward Martin and J.M. Synge.In 1954 Christobel Lady Ampthill acquired the castle and completed the restorations. It is now owned by Shannon Delvelopment and is open to the public from May through October and medieval banquets, complete with entertainment centered around the literary giants that once met here, are held twice nightly, subject to demand. 



Historically, the centre of Leixlip has always been Leixlip Castle, a medieval castle strategically placed on a rock above where the Rye Water flows into the River Liffey in County Kildare. Over the following several hundred years Leixlip Castle was to be one of the strongholds of the Pale as an outpost.In 1317 the castle was attacked by Robert Bruce, King of Scotland. Bruce's army failed to capture it but in the process burnt part of Leixlip.In 1485 Herny VII granted the castle and lands to Gerald FitzGerald the 8th Earl of Kildare. It was to remain with the FitzGeralds until the rebellion of "Silken Thomas", the tenth Earl of Kildare, in 1534. After 17 years of turmoil, including a tentative plan to marry the young man to Mary I, "Bloody Mary" Tudor, in 1554 Gerald made a submission to the Catholic Queen Mary I and a portion of his lands were restored and his title as the eleventh Earl of Kildare "legitimised."Leixlip had returned to its position as a bastion of English authority . In 1569 The castle then passed into the possession of Sir Nicholas Whyte and its importance as a military outpost and seat of power diminished. The Whyte Family retained ownership for the next 200 years.Architecturally the castle reflects the passage of time with a complete renovation in the 18th Century when the courtyard was enclosed around a grand staircase and the facade punctuated with Gothic windows. In 1732 the castle passed into the ownership of the Conolly family where it remained until 1914 when the castle was acquired by Lord Decies who replaced the Gothic Windows in the drawing room and library, requiring instead Tudor-style mullioned windows.Various tenants have included Archbishop Stone, the Protestant Primate; Viceroy Lord Townshend; Lord Waterpark; and Baron de Roebuck. In 1945 the castle was sold to William Kavanagh prior to the purchase in 1958 by The Hon. Desmond Guinness, founder of the Irish Georgian Society.  



There has been a castle at Lismore ever since 1185 when Prince John built a "castellum" on the present site. When John became King of England he handed the Castle over to the Church and it was used as a Bishop's Palace until 1589. The earliest remaining part of the Castle is a round tower, which dates back to the 13th Century.In 1589 the Castle was leased and later bought outright by Sir Walter Raleigh. In 1602, when Raleigh was imprisoned in the Tower of London for high treason, he sold Lismore along with 42,000 acres for �1,500 to Richard Boyle, who later became the first Earl of Cork. Richard Boyle's youngest son, Robert Boyle, the philosopher and father of modern chemistry, was born at Lismore in 1626.Much of the present Castle dates back to the time of the first Earl of Cork and his coat of arms may still be seen above the main entrance gate.Lismore was considerably involved in the Cromwellian wars and, in 1645, a force of Catholic confederacy commanded by Lord Castlehaven sacked the town and Castle. Some restoration was carried out by the second Earl of Cork (1612-1694) but from then until 1800 very little was done to the Castle by its owners.James II stayed at Lismore Castle after the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 and on his way from Dublin to Kinsale from whence he fled to France.In 1753, the Castle and its lands passed to the fourth Duke of Devonshire following his marriage in 1748 to Lady Charlotte Boyle, the only surviving daughter and heiress of the fourth Earl of Cork (1695-1753). The sixth Duke (1790-1858), known as the bachelor Duke, undertook the most extensive restoration of the Castle.He was a patron of Dickens, Thackeray and, most importantly, Joseph Paxton (1801-1868) who joined the Duke's establishment as under gardener in 1823 and became his friend and consultant in many spheres. Botanist, inventor, engineer, architect, town planner, and railway promoter, Joseph Paxton not only designed the Crystal Palace for the London exhibition of 1851, he also organised the army works and served in the Crimean war, and became a Liberal member of Parliament. Tsar Nicholas 1st of Russia knighted him in 1844 and he was later knighted by Queen Victoria in 1851. It was he who played a leading part between 1840 and 1858 in creating Lismore Castle as it is today.Adele Astaire, Fred Astaire's sister, married Lord Charles Cavendish (the present Duke's uncle) and lived in the Castle between 1932 and 1944. When her husband died she returned to America but continued to visit Lismore for a month each summer, during which time Fred Astaire was a frequent visitor. So much so that on two occasions in the visitors book his sister wrote after his entry, "What, not again", and, "I thought he'd never leave".The present duke is Andrew Cavendish, 11th Duke of Devonshire (b. 1920). His elder brother was married to Kathleen Kennedy, sister of President John F. Kennedy, and was killed on active service in 1944. Kathleen Kennedy died in a plane crash four years later.  



At the junction of shop Street and Upper abbeygate street is Lynche's Castle, a 16th century castle which was heavily altered in 1966 when it was converted into a bank.Lynch's Castle is the only complete secular medieval building left standing in Galway today. The Lynch's were an important family, who supplied the city with many Mayors.The Castle is four stories high and a large extension was added in 1808. The building has been modified a number of times over the years. The exact date of its foundation is not known but a number of features point to a date at the end of the fifteenth century or the beginning of the sixteenth century. A framed panel at the front of the building shows the arms of King Henry VII, King of England from 1484 to 1509. At the side of the building there is a stone inserted containing the coat-of-arms of the Earl of Kildare who freed Galway from the de Burgos after the Battle of Knockdoe in 1504. The Lynch coat-of-arms is to be found at the front of the building.The Castle was acquired by Allied Irish Banks in 1930 and carefully restored to its former splendour. A fine carved doorway was added in 1933, the work of L. Cambell a Dublin Architect.The exterior preserves some of the few remaining Irish gargoyles. On the ground floor historical material dealing with the castle is displayed. The so-called Spanish Arch, is the south-western portion of the old town, was one of the gates in the old city wall and houses a museum.


Malahide is said to be the oldest castle continuously inhabited by the same family. Until 1976, apart from a period when they were evicted by Cromwell, there were Talbots in residence at Malahide. Legend insists that 14 Talbot cousins breakfasted at the castle before riding out to the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, never to return. Many family portraits hang in the medieval Great Hall. Malahide Castle, set on 250 acres of park land in the pretty seaside town of Malahide, was both a fortress and a private home for nearly eight hundred years, and is an interesting hotch?potch of architectural styles. The Talbot family lived here from 1185 to 1973, when the last Lord Talbot died. The house is furnished with beautiful period furniture together with an extensive collection of Irish portrait paintings, mainly from the National Gallery. The history of the Talbot family is recorded in the Great Hall, with portraits of generations of the family telling their own story of Ireland's stormy history. One of the more poignant legends concerns the morning of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, when fourteen members of the family breakfasted together in this room, never to return, as all were dead by nightfall. Many additions and alterations have been made to this romantic and beautiful structure, but the contours of the surrounding parklands have changed little in eight hundred years, retaining a sense of the past. The grounds are also open to the public, and appeal to all visitors, young and old.  



Regarded as one of Ireland's major architectural , masterpieces, Markree Castle is Sligo's oldest inhabited castle. It has been the home of the Cooper family since 1640, but over the years the house has undergone a number of transformations.Today, the castle retains its family atmosphere and the character of the old building, while providing every modern comfort., The interior boasts a spectacular oak staircase. This is overlooked by a stained glass window, purportedly tracing the Cooper family tree back to the time of King John of England.There are a variety of notable reception rooms, in addition to the interconnecting dining rooms which feature Louis-Philippe style plasterwork created by Italian craftsmen in 1845.The bedrooms vary in character and style, but all offer views over the gardens or surrounding countryside., Markree is in the heart of -Yeats Country', with , magnificent scenery all around. The Rosses Point golf course and the Strandhill course are within a few miles. Trout and salmon fishing can be arranged nearby., Places of interest nearby: Carrowmore, which has Europe's largest and oldest collection of megalithic remains; Lissadell House; Yeats's grave at Drumcliffe; and the town of Donegal. Directions: Nine miles from Sligo , airport, 125 from Dublin via N4. Collooney is just south of Sligo town.  



This unusual sixteenth century tower house takes the form of a cylinder supported by four boldly projecting spurs which are commanded by shotholes ingeniously placed in the apex of pointed notches at the fusion of the cylinder and the spurs. One of these notches, or ghost-gables, lies over the door which is also commanded by one of four machicolations projecting from the parapet.The tower has five storeys with dome vaults over the ground and third storeys, both of which have well-preserved impressions of wickerwork matting. The hall on the fourth storey has mullioned windows with the spiral stair projecting into the room. The top floor, originally a bed chamber, has now been incorrectly restored as a gallery, presumably so that visitors can admire the new conical oak roof.The castle was originally built by a sept of the O'Briens and later passed into the hands of the O'Loughlins (O'Lochlainns), the self-styled "Princes of the Burren". It was still inhabited by the family at the end of the nineteenth century, but later fell into ruin.In 1994 the castle was restored as an exhibition centre for the adjacent Burren Art College.   



Oranmore Castle was built sometime round the fifteenth century possibly on the site of an older castle. It was a stronghold of the Clanricardes who were a prominent norman family of Galway. In 1641 Galway was under the overlordship of the Marquess and fifth Earl Clanricarde. In March 1642 the town revolted and joined the Confederates with the Fort (St Augustin's) still holding out. Clanricarde placed a strong garrison in Orannmore castle, from which he provisioned the Fort of Galway from the sea until 1643 when Captain Willoughby Governor of Galway surrendered both fort and castle without the Marquess's consent. In 1651 the castle surrendered to the Parliamentary forces.All the Marquess's property was of course forfeited but his successor, the 6th Earl, got back most of it including the castle. In 1666 he leased the castle to Walter Athy. Mary, Walter's daughter married secondly Walter Blake of Drumacrina Co Mayo, and her descendants by that marriage, held Oranmore until 1853, when the estates of Walter Blake were sold to the Encumbered Estates Court.The Blake family built the house against the south side of the castle. This house was left in ruins when the Blake family left Oranmore and the castle was unroofed until 1947 when it was bought by Lady Leslie, a cousin of Churchill and wife of Sir Shane Leslie the writer.Lady Leslie reroofed the castle and gave it to her daughter, Mrs Leslie King who is aiso well known as a writer under the name of Anita Leslie. Between 1950 and 1960, Mrs Leslie King and her husband, Cmdr Bill King (also a writer who sailed solo around the world in 1933) added a two storey wing joined to the castle by a single storey range. The castle is now occupied by Leonie King, daughter of Anita Leslie and Bill King. 



This castle of the Butlers - Earls and later Dukes of Ormonde - stands above the Suir on the east side of Carrick. It was acquired in 1315, though the oldest part of the castle is a mid-fifteenth-century walled bawn with a tower house in each of its northern corners. Sometime after 1565 the tenth, or "Black", Earl of Ormonde, who spent many years in the court of his cousin Queen Elizabeth I, added a Tudor manor house of a type common in England but like no other in Ireland. The low U-shaped range of this house forms three sides of a small court attached to the north of the old bawn, whose towers rise behind it. It has two storeys with a gabled attic, rows of mullioned windows with curved-headed lights, and steep brick gables with slender finials. There are few defensive features save for small firing-holes either side of the front door. The house was a favourite haunt of the Great Duke of Ormonde, but afterwards it was deserted by the family, although they continued to own it until the present century. Fortunately, it was never allowed to fall into complete ruin and in 1947 was taken over by the State, who subsequently conserved the building. Their most notable achievement was the restoration of the long gallery on the first floor of the front elevation, whose ceiling had largely collapsed.  This delightful room, once hung with tapestries, has a magnificent limestone mantel bearing the date 1565, and stucco representations of Queen Elizabeth flanked by Equity and Justice. The Queen would have felt at home in this room and in the rest of this house, which was probably intended, for she is believed to have promised her favourite cousin "Black Tom" that she would one day honour Carrick with a visit.  


  Parke Castle on Loch Gill, formerly Sir Brian O'Rourke's Newtown Castle (16th century), was granted to Robert Parke, an English soldier and settler.

Captain Robert Parke built this late-medieval fortified manor house in 1609. Romantics should take note, this castle is situated on the shores of Lough Gill, immortalized in Irish poetry by W. B. Yeats.Parke's Castle highlights include an Irish oak interior, mullioned windows, parapets, and a courtyard that predates the castle by a century. The grounds also feature a cluster of old stone buildings and a wishing well.The castle was beautifully restored about ten years ago and is one of Ireland's finest examples of Plantation architecture. 



Portlick Castle is an 12th century Dillon Castle located on the shores of Lough Ree with 30 acres of walled gardens, wooded areas and pasture land. The castle and period extensions have all been extensively renovated to a very high standard.Portlick Castle remains the last of six Norman Castles built by charter of King John on the shores of Lough Ree, or "The Lake of Kings" and is a stunning example of medieval architecture.Additional wings were constructed in the 15th, 18th and 20th Centuries. An old ringfort and motte exist nearby dating from around 200 AD. Above all, Portlick Castle is an edifice that stands proud alongside magnificent surroundings and is drenched in Irish history being the only surviving Dillon castle in the Ireland.   


The impressive castle at Portumna was the seat of the Clanricarde Burkes, for so long the most important landowners in County Galway. It was completed c. 1617 by Richard Burke, 4th Earl of Clanricarde, but was accidentally destroyed by fire in 1826. The Office of Public Works has been involved in its restoration in recent times. It is a large building, rectangular in shape, with four square towers at the corners. It was one of the first buildings in Ireland with Renaissance features and is also noted for the Jacobean-type gables on its roof. The castle is located in a most natural scenic setting overlooking Lough derg and also Portumna Forest Park, which was once part of the demesne. The front rose garden and elaborate entrance gate are added attractions. 



You round a 20th century bend on the main Dublin-Cork road and you are transported back 1500 years. There, standing proud of the plains, is the great 4th century fortification of Cashel - the stone fort. This was the seat of kings and mediaeval bishops for 900 years and flourished until the early 17th century. Indeed, there was a settlement here from pre-christian times, traces of which have long since vanished. Interwoven into the turbulent history of the 'Rock' is an impressive ecclesiastical fabric which spans the Middle Ages. In the 5th century St. Patrick converted Aenghus, the King of that time, and made Cashel a bishopric. This great monument in stone has seen war and peace, scholarship and devotion over a millenium and a half. It is fitting, therefore, that once again, the great traditions of learning and art which kept the flame of scholarship alight in a Europe dimmed by the Dark Ages, should have an echo at Cashel today. BRU BORU - the palace of Boru ( Brian Boru was King of all Ireland ) - is a national heritage centre at the foot of the Rock of Cashel. This cultural village is designed around a village green and is home to the study and celebration of native Irish music, song, dance, storytelling, theatre, genealogy and Celtic studies. Cashel is a thriving townset against a backdrop of antiquity and located in the rich pasture lands of the Golden Vale. In addition to the Rock of Cashel, Hoar Abbey, Dominican Abbey, the City of Kings has many and varied attractions i.e. Folk Village, Bolton Library, Cashel Heritage Centre, potters, silversmiths, artists, historians..... the list is endless. Cashel is an oasis of history, Cashel also boasts some of the countrys best restaurants, two hotels and numerous high standard guesthouses. Cashel is a shopper's dream with many varied and well stocked shops.  



Ross Castle was built in the 15th century on the shore of Killarney's Lower lake by O'Donoghue M�r, who lost it after the Desmond rebellion at the end of the sixteenth century. 

A family called Browne were rewarded for their support for Cromwell with vast tracts of the countryside around what was to be Killarney, including the castle. They eventually became the earls of Kenmare. Ross Castle was one of the last strongholds in the country to hold out against Cromwell.Popular legend would have the defender, Lord Muskerry, bravely holding out against the English forces under Ludlow, firm in the belief that the castle would never be captured by land. Ludlow, however, had decided to attack from the water and had ships built in Kinsale and brought up to Killarney by land and river.The defenders, seeing an attack being mounted from the Lake, immediately capitulated. The truth is that Muskerry had already decided to surrender, knowing that by 1652 there was no chance of defeating the Cromwellian forces, and the appearance of the boats provided as good an excuse as any. So in 1652 Ross fell to the English General General Ludlow.The castle was used as a military barracks in the 18th and 19th centuries.   



Shankill Castle

Built by Archbishop Henry de Loundres in 1229; site of the ancient Shankill church. It is one of the oldest surviving structures in the area. 



Slane Castle is located on the banks of the river Boyne, about a mile west of the crossroads at Slane Village, County Meath. Slane is fairly close to New Grange and is easily accessible from Dublin. The Caslte gates, pictured here, are at the bridge crossing at Slane, and one of the first things you see in Slane when coming from Dublin. The Gothic arch and turrets of the gate alone are a wonderful work of architecture.The path beyond them, to the Castle, is private.The castle itself was built by the Norman conquerers, The Flemings. A portion of the original castle has been incorporated into the now larger castle, built in the Georgian style. The Castle was bought by the Coyninghams after the Battle of the Boyne when the estate was confiscated by the victorious King of England. This family has held it ever since, presently represented by Lord Mountcharles. Lord Mountcharles' stewardship of the castle is marked by the rock concerts he has promoted on the castle lawn, a discotheque nightclub and one-time restaurant. A tragic fire that gutted much of the castle in late 1991, including its famous ballroom ceiling.The castle fire kept concerts from being held in Slane until 1998. The natural shape of the landscape provides a natural amphitheater upon which the eighty thousand or so music lovers may view the concert stage below them.  



Trim Castle is the largest and one of the most important Norman military constructions in Ireland. Its well-deserved reputation as the king of Irish castles rests upon its imposing curtain walls enclosing over three acres, its fine gatehouses, and its enormous isolated keep - all of which project a visually striking image of foreboding might and great power.The first fortification on this site above the banks of the Boyne was a motte erected by Hugh de Lacy in 1172. After this was destroyed by Roderick of Connaught in 1174, de Lacy embarked on building another castle, the nature of which has not yet been established. On the basis of the present limited evidence, it seems likely that the curtain wall and the huge stone keep, which envelopes the stump of the old motte, were begun by de Lacy during the 1170s.Structural examination of the keep has shown that it was built in two major phases, which were probably close together but not continuous. It is thought that this break in construction corresponds with the minority of Hugh de Lacy's eldest son Walter between 1186 and 1194, when the Lordship was held be Prince John. Work may still have been proceeding when King John came here in 1210, for the following year, after the Crown had taken control of the castle, the sum of �64 was spent on building work, including "22/- for a large horse ... for strengthening the tower". The keep was probably being completed around this time.The design of the keep is most unusual, comprising a massive square block with towers projecting from the middle of each face (only three out of the original four remain). On plan it looks like a combination of a square and a Greek cross. The towers have thinner walls than the main core and appear to have been added, not for defensive reasons, but to provide extra rooms and possibly because they looked good. Three of the four projections have ground floors, but the main core of the keep at this level is evidently filled with earth. The entrance is within the east tower at first-floor level, below the chapel, and access to the three floors of the centre block is provided by a mural winding stair in the south-west and north-east angles.The first floor and second floors are divided by a central wall, but the third floor was one large apartment and was clearly the main room in the castle - most probably the lord's chamber. Mural passages gave access to the rooms in the side-towers, though on the top floor galleries linked some of these subsidiary rooms with one another, without needing to enter the centre block at all. The curtain walls at Trim, two-thirds of which still stand, had a perimeter of 500 yards. They must have been completed by 1224 when William Marshall, the justiciar, besieged the castle for seven weeks, for it is unlikely the castle could have withstood his army for such a period without the protection of the curtain walls. The remains now consist of two sections, the first comprising the west gatehouse and the wall from it to the northern tower, while the second comprises the vulnerable southern curtain with its five D-shaped towers and circular east gatehouse.It has been argued that the rectangular west gatehouse is earlier because its vaulted passage uses round, rather than pointed, arches, but this is conjectural. There appears to have been a barbican on the town side of the west entrance, which was further protected by a murder hole, a portcullis, the gate, and a second murder hole through a hole in the passage. Barbicans only rarely survive, but the east gatehouse entrance passage is continued outwards between two crenellated walls to a fine barbican on the outer edge of the moat. It is often claimed that the upper rooms of this gatehouse were used to house the young Prince Hal, later Henry V, who was left at Trim by Richard II in 1399 before his fateful return to England.An extensive excavation was carried out between 1971 and 1974 in the area between the keep and the south curtain wall. This revealed a stone plinth added to the keep, parts of a ditch possibly dug around the keep and a number of ancillary buildings. It is to be hoped that more excavations will be carried out in the keep itself and in the area near the north tower, where it is evident that the Great Hall of the castle once stood. 



Tullynally has been owned by the Pakenhams, later Earls of Longford, since the 17th century.The original house was remodelled by the 2nd Earl as a huge rambling Gothic revival castle in the early 1800s, now one of the largest in Ireland to survive as a family home.Terraced lawns around the castle overlook superb 18th century parkland. The adjoining woodland gardens and walled gardens date largely from the same period and encompass a grotto of eroded limestone from nearby Lough Derravaragh and two ornamental lakes.The present owners have added a Chinese garden, complete with pagoda and a Tibetan garden of waterfalls and streams; and a local sculptor has made fantastic woodcarvings in existing roots and trees.The walled gardens have extensive flower borders and a magnificent avenue of 200 year old Irish yews. A woodland walk leads to the lower lake past planting of giant lilies, camellias and rhododendrons, many of them collected as seed by the owner, Thomas Pakenham. 





Enya Owns this small Victorian castle in Killiney, Dublin


There are some great paranormal programs that have gone to Leap Castle....scary place it is for sure...


This is a wonderful read Tierney, Thank you for all the work you put into the posting.


Brightest Blessings, Adolpha 




The castle is built along the shore of Belfast Lough and the rocks of the coast. Three castle areas, called "Wards", were built during the castle's history. John DeCourcy built the Inner Ward between 1180 and 1204 to start the Anglo-Norman control of Ulster. This inner section is the main structure built for defense on the shore and included a moat and drawbridge which was pulled up to surround the castle with water. The four-story "Keep" is part of the Inner Ward and includes the living quarters.   

The castle was captured by King John after a battle in 1210, and the Middle Ward was built between 1216 and 1224 to strengthen the castle. The wall is mostly in ruins, but there were towers and a gate with a door to the sea. Hugh de Lacy added the Outer Ward during his rule between 1228 and 1242. You enter the Outer Ward through the entry gatehouse when you tour the castle. The gunports, canons, chapel, and officers' quarters are located in the Outer Ward. The English retreated to Carrickfergus when Edward Bruce and the Scottish forces invaded Ireland in 1315. 

The English held out in the castle for one year, but finally surrendered to the Scottish in 1316. Bruce controlled the castle until he died in 1318 in the battle near Dundalk in County Louth. The castle was used for English administrative purposes in the Middle Ages. More additions for battle were made in the 16th century, and more fighting took place.The ghost of a young 16th century soldier named "Buttoncap" is said to still haunt the castle!

The castle was in disrepair when Frederick Schomberg took control for William III in 1689. Thurot, a French commander, captured the castle in 1760. Carrickfergus Castle was used as a prison in the 18th century and an armory until 1928. The Keep was used as an air-raid shelter in World War II. The Environment and Heritage Service maintains the castle today.


A wee bit you say?  I'de hate to see what you think a lot is.  Their huge.  Have you been in to see many of them?
Aye, a wee bit I say,LMAO. There is more than this, this is just some. They vary grande,and beautiful, I have been in all of them. I have not yet started with the castles that are in ruins.
An impressive amount of work...but wouldn't it be simpler to put the link where you c&p the info from?
It would have been,but I wanted to add some my own spirit to you,to say.I forgot the link, many apologies. I shall be posting more though this not all of them.


CLONONY CASTLE is a truly Tudor castle in Ireland. Built around 1500 by the MacCoughlan clan, it was ceded to Henry VIII by Jon Og MacCoghlan, then given to Thomas Boleyn when Henry wanted to marry his daughter Ann, making him Earl of Ormond. Mary and Elizabeth Boleyn, cousins to Queen Elizabeth I, lived out their lives in this castle and their tombstone still stands on the castle lawn under a spreading hawthorn tree  It is near the Shannon River and has shown a ghostly figure of a man in one of its towers.


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