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CASTLES OF IRELAND
Castles of Ireland
Some Fortress Histories and
C. L. ADAMS
ILLUSTRATED BY REV. CANON 7 LUCIUS O'BRIEN
ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.
THE Castles of Ireland are far too numerous for any single
volume to contain their separate histories, and all that I
claim for the present work is that it includes epitomised
accounts of those of chief interest, as well as some regarding
which I had special facilities for collecting information. It
is, I also believe, the first collection of such records, and
therefore I hope but the forerunner of similar works which
may be issued in the future, so that the time will yet
come when all these interesting relics of a troubled and
stormy past may be classified and chronicled, and the
present obscurity in which the history of so many of them
is shrouded be entirely cleared away.
The number of ruined castles in Ireland is always a
matter of surprise to visitors from the Sister Isle, and
perhaps they help us, of less stirring days, to realise
more fully the continual state of warfare in which our
ancestors must have lived than printed records can
These castles range in dimensions from the few blocks
of protruding masonry on the green sward, \vhich mark
the foundation of a ruined peel tower, or the scarcely
traceable line of wall which was once a fortified bawn,
to the majestic ruins of castles like Adare with its three
distinct and separate fortifications one within the other,
or royal Trim, deemed strong enough to be a prison for
Yet in the majority of cases little or nothing is known
locally about the builders, owners or destroyers who have
206 f Og'
left us these picturesque, if somewhat sad, mementoes of
their vvarfaring existence. Three items of information
will in all probability be supplied to the enquirer that
they were built by King John, occupied by the Geraldines,
and demolished by Cromwell in person, and'indeed if the
hill from which the bombardment was carried out is not
shown to the stranger his informant is lacking in the
general art of story-telling. In some cases the origin
of the castles is boldly attributed by tradition to the
Danes, thereby unconsciously introducing the much wider
controversy as to whether such stone fortresses were
known in Ireland before the landing of the Normans at
Wexford in 1169. Be this as it may, it was only sub-
sequent to this date that they were built in any number.
Both invaders and invaded relied chiefly on these strong-
holds for obtaining supremacy in their constant struggles.
Grants of land were generally given with the condition
of erecting a fortified residence. It was only when the
introduction of gunpowder rendered such buildings un-
tenable in war, that they were very generally deserted
for more comfortable dwellings, and jackdaws alone keep
watch to-day from many a crumbling battlement that once
echoed a sentinel's tread, and bovine heads protrude from
the doorways from which mailed knights rode forth to
I regret to say that space forbids my mentioning by
name all those owners of castles and others who have so
generously assisted me in compiling the following accounts,
but perhaps I may be allowed to specially acknowledge the
valuable help I received from the Librarian and Assistant
Librarians of the National Library, Dublin, Lord Walter
Fitzgerald, and Mr. Herbert Wood, of the Public Record
C. I,. ADAMS.
INTRODUCTION ..... . v
LEGEND OF KILKEA CASTLE . xi
ADARE CASTLE . . . i
ANTRIM CASTLE . .... 9
ARKLOW CASTLE . . . . . . -15
ARTANE CASTLE . . . . . . 18
ATHLONE CASTLE . . . . . . .22
BALLYMOTE CASTLE ...... 27
BALLYSHANNON CASTLE ... 31
BALLYTEIGUE CASTLE . . 37
BARBERSTOWN CASTLE . . 39
BARGY CASTLE .... 42
BARRYSCOURT CASTLE . . . . . -45
BIRR CASTLE ....... 48
BLACK CASTLE, WICK LOW . . . . -54
BLARNEY CASTLE ...... 57
BUNRATTY CASTLE . . . . . -65
CARLOW CASTLE . . . 71
CARRICKFERGUS CASTLE ... -77
CARRICK-ON-SUIR CASTLE ..... 85
CARRIGOGUNNEL CASTLE. . . . . .90
CASTLE BARNARD ...... 97
CASTLE BORO . . . . . . . 101
CASTLE DONOVAX . . . . . .104
CASTLE KEVIN, COUNTY CORK . . 107
CASTLE KEVIN, COUNTY WICKLOW . 109
CASTLE SALEM . . . . . . .114
CLOGHAN CASTLE . . . . . .116
CROM CASTLE . . . . . . .121
DOE CASTLE . . . . . . .126
DRIMNAGH CASTLE . . . . . 133
DUNLIN CASTLE . . 137
DUNDAMEL CASTLE ...... 142
DUNDRUM CASTLE, COUNTY DOWN . . . 148
DUNDRUM CASTLE, COUNTY DUBLIN . . . -152
DUNLUCE CASTLE . . . . . .157
DUNSOGHLY CASTLE . . . . . .165
ENXISCORTHY CASTLE . . . . .168
ENNISKILLEN CASTLE . . . . . .172
FERNS CASTLE . . . . . .177
FERRYCARRIG AND SHANA COURT CASTLES . . .182
GEASHILL CASTLE . . . . . .185
GLEN ARM CASTLE . . . . . . .191
GLIN CASTLE . . . . . . 193
GREENCASTLE, COUNTY DONEGAL .... 198
GREENCASTLE, COUNTY DOWN .... 202
HOWTH CASTLE ....... 209
KILP.ARRON CASTLE . . . . . .214
KlLBRITTAIN CASTLE . . . . . .217
KILKEA CASTLE ...... 220
KILKENNY CASTLE ...... 228
KILLIANE CASTLE ...... 235
KlLLYLEAGH CASTLE ...... 239
KING JOHN'S CASTLE, CARLINGFORD . . . 244
KING JOHN'S CASTLE, LIMERICK .... 250
LEA CASTLE ....... 257
LEAP CASTLE ....... 264
LEIXLIP CASTLE ...... 272
LISMORE CASTLE ....... 280
LOHORT CASTLE ...... 285
LOUGH CUTRA CASTLE ...... 287
MACROOM CASTLE ...... 289
MALAHIDE CASTLE ...... 292
MALLOW CASTLE . . . . . . 297
MAYNOOTH CASTLE . . . . . -305
MONGEVLIN CASTLE . . . . . . 311
MONKSTOWN CASTLE, COUNTY CORK . . . -313
PORTUMNA .CASTLE . . . . . . 316
ROSCOMMON CASTLE . . . . . .318
Ross CASTLE ....... 325
ROSSCLOGHER CASTLE ...... 330
SHANE'S CASTLE ...... 336
SWORDS CASTLE ....... 344
TILLYRA CASTLE ...... 350
TIMON CASTLE . . . . . . . 351
TRALEE CASTLE ...... 353
TRIM CASTLE . .... 359
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
ADARK CASTLE ..... Frontispiece
ANTRIM CASTLE ..... 8
BIRR CASTLE ... -49
BLACK CASTLE, WICKLOW . . -55
BLARNEY CASTLE ... 59
BUNRATTY CASTLE ...... 64
CARLOW CASTLE . . . . 72
CARRICK FERGUS CASTLE . , 79
CARRICK-ON-SUIR CASTLE . 84
C'ARRIGOGUNNEL CASTLE . . .91
CASTLE DONOVAN. . . ... 105
CROM CASTLE . . . . . . .120
DRIMNAGH CASTLE . . . . . .132
DUBLIN CASTLE . . . . . .136
DUNDRUM CASTLE, COUNTY DOWN .... 149
DUNI.UCE CASTLE . . . . . .156
DUNSOGHLY CASTLE . . .164
ENNISKILLEN CASTLE . . . . .173
GLENARM CASTLE. . . . . . .190
GREENCASTLE, COUNTY DONEGAL . . . 199
GREENCASTLE, COUNTY DOWN ..... 203
HOWTH CASTLE . . . 208
KILBARRON CASTLE . . . . . -215
KILKEA CASTLE ... . . 221
KILKENNY CASTLE . . 229
KlLLYLEAGH CASTLE ...... 238
KING JOHN'S CASTLE, CARLINGFORD . . . -245
KING JOHN'S CASTLE, LIMERICK . . .251
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
LKA CASTLK (INTERIOR) . 2 5 8
LEA CASTLE (EXTERIOR) . -62
LEAP CASTLE . 265
LEIXLIP CASTLE 2 73
LISMORE CASTLE . 282
MALLOW CASTLE . 298
MAYNOOTH CASTLE 34
Ross CASTLE . . 3 2 4
SHANE'S CASTLE . -337
SWORDS CASTLE . 345
TRIM CASTLE . 3 61
THE LEGEND OF KILKEA CASTLE.
IT is seven years since they last awoke
From their death-like sleep in Mullaghmast,
And the ghostly troop, with its snow-white horse,
On the Curragh plain to Kilkea rode past.
For the Lord of Kildare goes forth to-night,
And has left his rest in the lonely rath.
Oh, roughen the road for the silver shoes,
That they wear full soon on his homeward path.
So thus to his own he may come again,
With a trumpet blast and his warriors bold,
And the spell that was by his lady cast
Will pass away as a tale once told.
For dearly she loved her noble lord,
And she wished that no secret from her he kept,
So she longed to know why in chamber small
He watched and toiled while the household slept.
But the Wi/.ard Farl would not tell to her
The secret dark of his vaulted cell,
"For fear," he said, "in the human frame,
Lets loose the power of furthest hell."
But she feared for naught save his waning love,
And at length to her wish he bent an ear,
So flood, and serpent, and ghost gave place,
For the lady's heart had shown no fear.
Then her lord to a bird was soon transformed,
That rested its wing on her shoulder fair ;
But the lady screamed and swooned away
When a cat sprang forth from the empty air.
For a woman must fear for the one she loves,
And a woman's heart will break in twain,
When she knows that her hand has struck the blow
To the man she had died to save from pain.
And thus the Farl must sleep as dead
Till the silver shoes of his steed are worn,
By which every seven years, they say,
To Kilkea and back to the rath he's born.
And swiftly they pass, that phantom band,
With the Earl on his charger gleaming white,
So we think 'tis the shade of a cloud goes by,
With a shifting beam of the moon's pale light.
" Peaceful it stands, the mighty pile
By many a heart's blood once defended,
Yet silent now as cloistered aisle,
Where rum> the sounds of banquet splendid."
THIS name is a corruption of Athdare, or Ath-daar,
signifying " The ford of oaks." The present village is
situated on the west bank of the River Maig, nine miles
south-south-west of Limerick.
Desmond Castle, on the east bank, commands the river
pass, and near the northern entrance to the castle were
formerly the remains of a gateway and wall, traditionally
supposed to have belonged to the ancient town of Adare.
The ruins of the fortress are extensive. They consist of
an outer and inner ward, separated by a moat, which in
former times was crossed by a drawbridge.
There are three entrances to the outer ward, the chief
being a square gate tower in the west wall which was
defended by a portcullis. There is another entrance on
the north, as well as a doorway opening on the river.
The chief buildings are situated near the water's edge.
They consist of the great hall which is 75 feet long by 37
feet in breadth. It is lighted by three windows of rough
masonry in its south wall and by one on the west, with
fifteenth-century "ogee" heads inserted in the older
The doorway on the east opens to the river. The chief
2 CASTLES OF IRELAND
entrance and porch were on the north side. The base of
one of the sandstone jambs remains, showing it to have
been of thirteenth century date. The walls are 3 feet
thick, and the roof, which had a very high gable, was
supported by four pillars.
At the eastern end are the buttery and smaller offices,
while separated from them by a passage is the ruined
kitchen (45 feet by 19 feet), which contains the remains of
an oven and also a small well of river water. A curtain
wall running west, connects these building with a fine
oblong, two-storey structure, 56 feet by 3 1 feet, which is
remarkable, inasmuch as the walls of the top storey are
thicker than those below, the extra width being supported
by projecting stones. The top room, which has loops
splayed for archery, was reached by an exterior stone stair.
The floor was supported on beams, and the lower room
seems to have been used as a stable.
Adjoining the building is a small square tower, which
projects into the river that flows under it through an
archway in the basement. A wall connects this tower
with the gateway.
The inner ward is now reached by a small wooden
bridge. The gate tower is connected with the S.E. angle
of the keep by a thick curved curtain with an embrasured
and looped parapet. A turret protected the juncture of
the outer and inner walls. A semicircular tower also
projects from the boundary wall on the left of the inner
court. It was loopholed, and divided into two storeys.
The keep, which is in the inner court, is about 40 feet
square and 67 feet high. Only the north wall and the
portions adjoining it remain at their original height. The
side next the river is entirely broken down, tradition say-
ing it was destroyed with cannon in Cromwell's time from
the opposite hill. The angles of the remaining wall are
crowned with turrets.
The doorway leading to the vaults being of later date
A DARE CASTLE 3
than the rest it is supposed they were of more recent
insertion. One of the dungeons seems to have been used
as a prison. It is lighted by a loop of peculiar construction.
A staircase leads to the chief apartments, and a well of
river water is within the walls. The height of the keep
seems to have had a third added to it after its original
construction as is shown by the old weather-tabling of the
roof. The present building was divided into three storeys
above the ground floor, which was vaulted. The stairway
was in the thickness of the west wall. Small cells occupy
the projecting portions at the angles.
From the objects that have been found in the moat
which surrounds the keep, it has been thought likely that
it occupies the site of a rath, as some of the relics are of
much anterior date to the Norman Conquest. The fortress
is supposed to have been formerly a stronghold of the
O'Donovans until they were dispossessed by the invaders.
The architecture of one of the windows seems to be that
in vogue during the close of the twelfth century.
Lenihan states that Adare was famous for its castle and
church in the reign of Henry II.
Geoffrey de Mariscis, Justiciary of Ireland, was granted
permission to hold a fair in his manor of Adare in 1226,
but according to the Spanish historian, Lopez, it had passed
into the hands of the "Earls" of Kilclare in 1227, when
(still according to him) the Earl of March came from Scot-
land to Adare on shipping business, and the " Earls " of
Kildare, not deeming the accommodation at the inn fit for
his rank, insisted that he should come to their castle.
During the visit he spoke in such praise of the Trinitarian
order that the Earl's father said he would found a priory at
Adare. The story is probably inaccurate. In the first
place the Earldom of Kildare was not created until 1316,
and Lope/, speaks of "Earls" in the plural. It is also
hard to imagine what shipping business could have been
transacted in an inland town. Yet no doubt there is
4 CASTLES OF IRELAND
some foundation for the record, as in 1279, 1315, and 1464
other abbeys were founded at Adare by the Kildare
In 1290 the manor of Adare was in the possession of
Maurice Fit/Gerald, 5th Baron of Offaly, and his wife,
Lady Agnes de Valence, cousin of the King. Their claim
being disputed, a charter was issued in 1299 confirming the
The castle was rebuilt in 1326 by the 2nd Earl of
Edward III. granted the lands of Adare to the Earl's
stepfather, Sir John Darcy, during the Earl's minority in
1329, and it was probably at this time that the inquisition
was held in the report of which we find the first authenti-
cated mention of the castle. It is described as having a
hall, a chapel with stone walls and covered with thatch, a
tower covered with planks, a kitchen covered with slates,
and a chamber near the stone part covered with thatch.
Turlough O'Brien burned it sometime during the
The estate was forfeited by Gerald, 8th Earl of
Kildare, for his adherence to the cause of Perkin Warbeck,
but it was shortly afterwards restored.
When the 9th Earl of Kildare was summoned to London
to answer the charge of allowing the Earl of Desmond to
evade arrest, it is likely that he set out from Adare, as he
was in that part of the country. It was during this trial
in 1526 that Cardinal VVolsey cried out, "The Earl, nay,
the King of Kildare for, when you are disposed, you
reign more like than rule the land."
Upon the confiscation of the estate after the rebellion of
"The Silken Thomas," in 1536, the Earl of Desmond
became possessed of Adare, which he leased the following
year from the Crown. He seems to have done so with the
intention of restoring the lands to his kinsman, the young
Gerald, then in hiding from the Government.
ADARE CASTLE 5
The castle remained in the Earl of Desmond's possession
("with intermissions) until his death in 1583, when it reverted
to the Kildare branch of the Geraldines. His name still
clings to the ruins, no doubt because of the stormy scenes
that occurred at Adare during his short ownership.
Here in 15/0 the celebrated Levcrus, Bishop of Kildare,
sought shelter with the Earl of Desmond. He had been
tutor to the young heir to the Earldom of Kildare, when a
price was set upon his head after the rebellion of the Lord
Thomas. Leverus had saved his pupil, who was ill with
smallpox, by putting him in a basket, wrapped in blankets,
and taking him from Kildare to Thomond.
In 1578 the castle was taken by Sir Nicholas Malby
after a siege of eleven days, and garrisoned by English
under Captain Carew.
Sir John Desmond, the Earl's brother, shortly afterwards
assaulted it in vain. The following year saw continual
warfare round the town of Adare between the two parties,
and a garrison of English was placed there by the Lord
Deputy, who was accompanied by the Earl of Kildare.
Desmond made every effort to recover the castle in
1580. He resorted to several stratagems, one of which
was to send a beautiful young woman to the constable, by
whose means he hoped the castle might be betrayed. But
upon hearing from whence she came, the officer tied a
stone round her neck and threw her into the river.
The following year, however, Colonel Zouch, having
disbanded part of his forces, the Earl gained possession of
the castle, and put the garrison to the sword. Fresh forces
arriving from Cork, Zouch marched on Adare, only to find
it deserted ; but he pursued the Irish to Lisconnel, where
he defeated them in an engagement.
Captain Mynce was recommended as custodian in 1585,
and in 1598 Mr. Marshal's castles of Bruff and Adare were
reported to have been taken.
In 1600 the Sugan Earl of Desmond occupied Adare,
6 CASTLES OF IRELAND
hut upon the approach of Sir George Carew, in July,
the Irish burnt the castle and fled. He reports it as "a
manor-house belonging to the Earls of Kildare, wholly
ruined by Pierce Lacy."
This Lacy was one of the Earl of Desmond's supporters.
Insurgents seized the stronghold in 1641, but were driven
out by the Earl of Castlehaven, and the castle is said to
have been dismantled in 1657 by CromwelFs orders.
The lands remained in the possession of the Earls of
Kildare until 1721, when they were purchased by the Ouin
family, now represented by the Earl of Dunraven.
J. Dowel, " The County of Limerick."
The Countess and Earl of Dunraven, " Memorials of Adare."
Marquis of Kildare, " The Earls of Kildare."
M. Lenihan, " Limerick : Its History and Antiquities."
J. Ferrar, " History of Limerick."
Calendar of State Documents.
Calendar of Carew MSS.
" Brown in the rust of time it stands sublime
With overhanging battlements and towers,
And works of old defence a massy pile,
And the broad river winds around its base
In bright, unruffled course."
ANTRIM town is situated in the county of the same name,
on the right bank of Six-Mile-Water just before it enters
Lough Xeagh, a little more than thirteen miles north-west
The castle, sometimes erroneously called Massereene
Castle, was erected in the reign of James I. by Sir Hugh
Clotworthy, a gentleman of Somersetshire.
Hugh and Lewis Clotworthy were amongst those who
accompanied the Earl of Essex in his expedition to Ulster
m ^/j. ar) d in 1603 Captain Hugh Clotworthy was doing
garrison duty at Carrickfergus under Sir Arthur Chichester.
In 1605 he received a grant of the confiscated lands of
" Massarine," and erected a residence on the site of the
present building. This consisted of a moated courtyard
flanked by towers.
Shortly afterwards he was knighted, and married the
beautiful Marion Langford " of the flowing tresses."
In 1610 Sir Hugh Clotworthy commenced to erect a
castle according to the undertaking of the grant, and it
was completed in three years. It consisted of a quad-
rangular pile, three storeys in height, which enclosed a
io CASTLES OF IRELAND
small courtyard, and was flanked at the angles by square
towers. The walls measured 6 feet in thickness. A
short flight of granite steps led to the entrance hall, which
contained a great open fireplace. On the right of the hall
was the "butter}-," where at about 3 feet from the floor
was a small square door through which food was distri-
buted to the poor. The townspeople had the privilege of
passing through the hall by the buttery to a pathway
leading to the lake.
The river protected the castle on the west, while on the
other sides it was surrounded by a moat. The " Mount "
to the east of the castle was furnished with ordnance.
Two bastions commanded respectively the town on the
south and the lake on the north. The whole fortress
covered more than five acres of ground.
Extensive alterations were made in the castle in 1813
by Chichester, fourth Earl of Massereene. At present it
consists of a square embattled building of three storeys
with a long wing at the same elevation running northward,
flanked by two castellated towers near the end. At its
extremity rises a very high tower in Italian style, which
gives a most picturesque appearance to the stables when
viewed from the lough.
The grand entrance hall is square, and the wall which
once divided it from the centre courtyard has been re-
placed by oak pillars leading to an inner vestibule and
staircase which occupies the site of the former open space.
From this a passage extends the whole length of the
castle to the Italian tower. The oak room is a magnifi-
cent apartment, wainscotted in dark Irish oak, relieved
with lighter shades and exquisitely carved. The panels
are painted with armorial bearings. There is a beautiful
carved chimney-piece at the lower end of the apartment
set with the grate in one frame. Upon touching a
secret spring this all swings out and discloses a recess
large enough to hide in. The furniture of the room is also
ANTRIM CASTLE 11
Irish oak. Here is preserved the " Speaker's Chair " of
the Irish Mouse of Commons.
The drawing-room and library are both very handsome
rooms, and with the oak room, breakfast-room, parlour, and
dining-room, form a splendid suite of rooms, opening one
off the other. There is a very valuable collection of family
portraits in the castle.
The Italian tower contains the chapel, record-room, and
a small study. The first of these is in Gothic style and
beautifully proportioned. Among the treasures to be seen
here are Cranmer's New Testament and Queen Mary's
Over the front entrance is a stone screen slightly raised
from the wall and ending in a pointed arch under the
parapet wall. It is about 8 feet in width, and is hand-
somely sculptured with arms, mottoes, and events connected
with the castle and its owners. At the top is a carved
head representing Charles I., supposed to have been placed
there by the first Viscount when he added to the fortress
in 1662. Lower down are the arms of the founder and his
wife, with the date of erection (1613), &c. Immediately
over the hall door is a carved shell supported by mermaids,
which represents the Skeffyngton crest.
The two ancient bastions have been formed into terrace
gardens, and the grounds of the whole castle are most
beautifully laid out. A splendid view is obtained from the
old " Mount," the summit of which is reached by a winding
The demesne is entered from the town through a castel-
lated entrance, surmounted by a turretted warder's lodge,
which upon state occasions in modern times has been
sentinelled with warders garbed in antique costume, battle-
axe in hand.
Near the gatehouse upon the angle of the southern
bastion is the carved stone figure of " Lad}' Marion's
Wolfdog," representing that splendid Irish breed now
12 CASTLES OF IRELAND
extinct. At one time this statue surmounted a turret of
the castle, where the great animal appeared to be keeping
a " look out " over the lough. Local superstition said that
it had appeared there without human agency on the night
after the incident occurred with which the legend connects
it, and that as long as it keeps watch over the castle and
grounds so long will the race of Lady Marion Clotworthy
continue to live and thrive.
The story is as follows : The lovely bride of Sir Hugh
Clotworthy wandered one day in his absence outside the
bawn walls along the shores of Lough Neagh. Hearing
behind her a low growl, she turned round to find a wolf
preparing to spring. In her terror she fell to the ground,
and with the force of the animal's leap he passed beyond
her. Before he had time to return to his victim a large
wolf-hound had seized him in mortal combat. The lady
fainted at the sight, and when she recovered consciousness
the dog was licking her hands, while the wolf lay dead.
She bound up the noble animal's wounds, and he followed
her home, being her constant companion for many a day,
until he suddenly disappeared and no trace of him could
Shortly after this the castle was built, and one wild,
stormy night the deep baying of a wolf-hound was heard
passing round and round the walls of the fortress. The
warders, scared by the unusual sound, kindled the beacon
on the mount, and by its light discoverd a band of natives
making preparation for an attack. A few shots dispersed
them, but before they left a howl of pain was heard near
the entrance gate, where a few flattened bullets were found
the next morning. Then upon the castle tower the
affrighted warders perceived the stone figure of the dog.
It is probable that Sir Hugh had the figure carved to
please his lady, and after the attack considered its mys-
terious appearance on the fortress the best protection
against a superstitious enemy, who had most likely de-
ANTRIM CASTLE 13
stroyed the beautiful original, which had come from the
Abbey of Massarine to warn its former kind friend of
Sir Hugh Clotworthy was succeeded by his son, Sir John,
afterwards first Viscount Massereene. He sat in both the
Irish and English Houses of Commons, and was one of
Stafford's chief accusers. He was in London when the
rebellion of 1641 broke out. The insurrection was in part
prevented by a retainer of his, one O\ven O'Conally, called
" the great informer."
Sir John's brother, James, secured the castle in his
absence from attack, and the owner returned to it at the
end of the year, and took command of the forces in the
district. He was imprisoned in 1647 for three years for
censuring (with other Members of Parliament) the seizing
of the King. During this time his mother, the Lady
Marion, occupied the castle. O'Conally commanded Sir
John's regiment in his absence, and in 1649 it was joined
to General Monk's forces. Oliver Cromwell made
O'Conally commander of the regiment then at Antrim
Castle, and Monro marched against it and killed its leader,
but the castle still remained in possession of the troops.
Sir John was raised to the peerage by Charles II. in
1660 as Viscount Massereene. He had no son, and was
succeeded in the title and estates by his son-in-law, Sir
John SkerTyngton, and henceforward his surname was
added to the family name of Clotworthy.
James II. conferred several honourable appointments on
him, nevertheless the " Antrim Association " was formed
in the castle upon the beginning of the revolution, and the
Viscount's eldest son, Colonel Clotworthy Skeffyngton,
was appointed Commander-in-Chief.
The Jacobite General, Hamilton, pushed on to Antrim
after his success at Dromore, and Lord Massereene fled
from the castle at his approach. The family plate, valued
at ,3,000, which was hidden before the family left, was
H CASTLES OF IRELAND
shown to the newcomers by a servant, and was seized by
Colonel Gordon O'Neill, son of the great Sir Phelim,
occupied the fortress in 1688-89, but Lord Massereene
recovered his property when William came to the throne.
His grandson was created an earl in 1756, but this title
expired in 1816, when Harriet Viscountess of Massereene
succeeded to the estates, and through her they passed to
the present Viscount.
The last time that the castle figured in history was
during the battle of Antrim in 1798. The yeomanry
bravely held the castle gardens against all comers, while
the great gun of the mount, " Roaring Tatty," was drawn
from its position and fired on the town. One, Ezekiel
Vance, gave the signal to the military outside the town
to advance by waving a woman's red cloak from one of
the towers of the fortress.
The present Lord Massereene is the nth Viscount.
C. O'Neill, " Antrim Castle."
O'Laverty, " Diocese of Down and Connor."
Smith, "Memoirs of "98," in Ulster Journal of A rchcrology.
THE town of Arklow is thirty-nine miles and a half south
by east of Dublin, in the County Wicklovv.
Joyce thinks the name may have a Danish origin, but
others believe it comes from the Irish word Ardchocli.
The ruins of the castle are situated on high ground on
the south side of the Ovoca River, and consist of a ruined
and now ivy-clad round tower, which protected the
northern angle. This building is broken on the river-
side to about 12 feet in height, but on the south side
it measures some 46 feet.
About 10 feet from the ground is a pointed doorway,
which leads to a stone floor formed by the arch of the
lower chamber. Thirty-four stone steps in the thickness
of the wall give access to the top of the tower from this
This building is one of similar flanking towers which
defended the walls still running south and west, the
remains of some of the other turrets having only dis-
appeared during the last century.
A barrack for two companies of soldiers was built near
the former site of the castle, and the walls of the latter
were incorporated with those enclosing the yard of the
A monastery was founded at Arklow by Theobald
FitzWalter, hereditary Lord Butler of Ireland, who also
built the castle.
Lord Theobald Walter le Botiller died in the castle in
16 CASTLES OF IRELAND
1285, and was buried in the convent of the Friars
Preachers in Arklow, beneath a tomb ornamented with
In 1331 the castle was attacked by the O'Tooles, but
Lord de Bermingham came to its relief with a small
party, and drove the enemy off with considerable loss.
The same year, however, the Irish got possession of it by
The Lord Chief Justice again re-captured it in 1332,
with the help of Dublin citizens and the English settlers
in Wicklow, so that it was once more in the King's hands,
and at this time it was partly rebuilt.
In 1522-24 Sir Piers Butler was accused of being in
league with the O'Mores, and of using the castle of Arklow
to rob both by land and sea.
The following year the Earl of Kildare made a series
of charges against the Earl of Ormond through Lord
Leonard Grey, amongst which was that of keeping a ward
of evil persons in Arklow Castle to rob the surrounding
A few years later (1532) the Earl of Ossory and Ormond
complained to Thomas Cromwell that the Earl of Kildare
was trying to get some of his castles into his possession
(amongst which he mentioned Arklow), under the plea of
holding them by lease from the Earl of Wiltshire. He
states these fortresses " bee the veray keyes of the Cuntrey,"
and that the King ought to prevent Kildare becoming too
powerful. Sir Thomas Bullen had then been created Earl
of Ormond and Wiltshire by Henry VIII.
During the rebellion of "the Silken Thomas" in 1536
the King had to send " an army royal " to get the castle of
Arklow and others into his possession.
The following year the manor was re-granted to Peter
Butler, Earl of Ossory and Ormond.
In 1578, when forming the county of " Wicklo or
Arcklo," the castle of the latter is mentioned as the chief
ARKLOW CASTLE 17
place, and belonging to the Earl of Ormond, who was also
Lord of Arcklow.
The Lord Deputy placed a garrison there in 1581.
In March, 1589, Feagh M'Hugh O'Byrne seized the
wife of Hugh Duff O'Donnell, uncle to Sir Hugh
O'Donnell, who was a tenant of the Earl of Ormond in
Arklow Castle. In the autumn of the same year O'Byrne
tried to force an entrance into the castle " to execute his
malice " upon Hugh O'Donnell.
The land was laid waste round the fortress in 1600, but
the castle was held for the Queen by the Earl of Ormond
at his own expense.
In the rebellion of 1641 the Irish surprised the fortress
and killed the garrison. It remained in their possession
until 1649, when it was captured by Cromwell's forces, of
which the following is the account :
" The army marched through almost a desolate country
until it came to a passage of the River Doro, about a
mile above the Castle of Arklow, which was the first seat
and honour of the Marquis of Ormond's family, which he
had strongly fortified ; but it was upon the approach of the
army quitted, wherein he (Cromwell) left another company
MS. Ordnance Survey.
Brewer, " Beauties of Ireland."
Grose, " Antiquities of Ireland."
Bagwell, " Ireland Under the Tudors."
Joyce, " Irish Names of Places."
Marquis of Kildare, " Earls of Kildare."
Griffiths, " Chronicles of County Wexford."
Murphy, "Cromwell in Ireland."
THE name was originally Tartain, and is probably derived
from Tortan, meaning a diminutive tor, being a small
knoll or high turf-bank. The site of the former castle
is situated on the southern border of the Barony of
Coolock, in the County of Dublin, about three miles from
The Artane Industrial School now occupies the castle
grounds, and the manor house is used as the residence
of the Christian Brothers. Lewis states that this house
was built of stones from the old castle, but, at any rate,
the present dining-room is supported by beams taken from
A hen-run belonging to the school is now on the site of
the former stronghold not far from the present house.
The manor of Artane was acquired by the family of
Hollywood, or "de Sacro Bosco,"in the fourteenth century,
by Robert de Hollywood, one of the Remembrancers, and
afterwards Baron of the Exchequer.
In 141 6 and 1420 the King committed the custody of the
lands to Philip Charles and Richard FitzEustace during the
minority of Robert Hollywood, the King's ward, son of
the late Christopher Hollywood.
On the 27th of July, 1534, the rash Lord Offaly rose in
rebellion, and threw the Sword of State on the Council
table in Dublin, upon the rumour of his father, the Earl
of Kildare, having been murdered in London. He left the
presence of the assembly with armed men to muster fresh
ARTANE CASTLE 19
forces for the rising, and Dublin was at once seized with
John Allen, Archbishop of Dublin, was then in Dublin
Castle, and having been as bitter and relentless a foe of
the Geraldines as his patron Wolsey, he decided to fly
when news of the outbreak reached him. He had with
him a trusted servant named Bartholomew Fit/Gerald,
who urged him to sail to England, and offered to pilot
him across. The Archbishop seems to have had implicit
faith in his follower, although a Geraldine, and it has never
been actually proved that it was misplaced.
The Prelate and his attendants embarked in the evening
at Dames Gate, but owing, some say to adverse winds, and
others to the design of the pilot, the little vessel stranded
The Archbishop at once made his way to the house
of his late friend, Thomas Hollywood, at Artane, whose
hospitality he had commemorated in his " Repertorium
At this time the wardship of the heir, Nicholas Holly-
wood, was in the hands of Richard Dclahidc and Thomas
It seems hardly possible that the Lord Thomas
FitzGerald could have heard of the mishap so quickly
unless treachery had been employed. Be that as it may,
he and a band of armed followers arrived at Artane in the
early morning, being the 28th of July, and surrounded the
castle while the Archbishop still slept.
Among the party were the young Vice-Deputy's uncles,
Sir James and Oliver Eit/.Gerald, James Delahicle, and
about forty men.
He sent two Dublin yeomen, John Teeling and
Nicholas Wafer, into the house to bring out the Arch-
bishop. They dragged him out of bed, and brought him
before the Lord Thomas " feeble for age and sickness,
kneeling in his shirt and mantle, bequeathing his soul t<>
20 CASTLES OF IRELAND
God, his body to the traitor's mercy." He " besought him
not to remember former injuries, but to consider his present
calamity, and whatever malice he might bear to his person
to respect his calling."
It seems that the " Silken Thomas " was touched by the
appeal of his helpless foe, and turning his head aside, he
said, " Beir uaim an bodacli" meaning, "Take the churl
away from me," and, no doubt, as he afterwards said, he
only intended them to imprison him. His followers, how-
ever, put a different interpretation upon his order, and
immediately murdered the Archbishop, who was in the
fifty-eighth year of his age.
Some say he was dragged within the castle hall, and
there put to death, while others say that the spot on
which he was slain was hedged in and shunned as an
unholy place for many years.
Lord Thomas could not have been ignorant of what had
occurred, as he sent Robert Reilly the same day to May-
nooth with a casket which had belonged to the murdered
Lord Offaly was excommunicated for the crime in St.
Patrick's Cathedral with great solemnity.
Shortly after this Thomas Howth, alias St. Laurence,
one of young Hollywood's guardians, went to live at
This Nicholas Hollywood also died while his son
Christopher was a minor, and in 1570 the wardship and
marriage of the boy was granted to John Bathe, of Drum-
condra. In 1585 a Charles Hollywood is referred to as
being of Tartaine.
Nicholas Hollywood possessed the manor and lands of
Artane in 1 587. They contained one castle, six messuages,
and one hundred and ninety acres of land held of the
King, in capite by knight's service. He died in 1629.
During the rebellion of 1641 Lord Netterville's son,
Luke, possessed himself of the castle, and established a
ARTANE CASTLE l\
body of Royalist troops in the stronghold. He met with
no opposition, as one of the Hollywood family named
Christopher was a partisan, who afterwards sat in the
Council of Confederate Catholics at Kilkenny.
Nicholas Hollywood forfeited the estate at this time, and
John Hollywood, one of the signers of the Roman Catholic
Remonstrance, came into possession.
In 1680 the King granted the estate for one thousand
years to Sir Arthur Forbes, one of the Commissioners of
the Court of Claims.
Lewis says the old Castle was pulled down in 1825 by
Mathew Boyle, Esq., who erected the present manor house
with the material. He also says it belonged to the
Callaghan family in 1837, while D'Alton states Lord
Maryborough owned it in 1838. The Butler family
resided there at a later date.
A tomb of Elizabeth, daughter of John Talbot of Mala-
hide, and wife of Christopher Hollywood, is in the old
churchyard adjacent. She died in i/u, and her husband
Marquis of Kilchirc, " The Earls of Kildare."
J. D'Alton, " History of County Dublin."
J. D'Alton, " Memoirs of the Archbishops of Dublin."
S. Lewis, "Topographical Dictionary of Ireland."
Fiants of Elizabeth.
THE castle of Athlone is situated on the Connaught side
of the river Shannon in the Barony of Athlone, County
Roscommon, sixty miles west-by-north of Dublin.
The name is derived from at/i, " a ford," and luain, " the
moon," and signifies " the ford of the moon," to which it is
supposed to have been dedicated in pagan times. Some
gold lunettes and crescents found in a neighbouring bog
seem to bear out the statement.
The castle commands the bridge, and is built upon a
spur of the hill upon which the town on the Connaught
side is built. It is overlooked by the houses of the town,
while on the river side it is supported by a great buttress
The entrance is on the road which leads from the bridge
up to the town, and is by a modern drawbridge.
The fortress consists of a strong curtain wall having
circular towers mounted with cannon at irregular intervals.
Most of them have been restored with fresh blue lime-
The Connaught tower, which stands isolated in the
courtyard, is considered the oldest part of the fortress,
and usually supposed to have formed the keep of the first
Norman castle built in King John's reign. It is decagonal
in form, but owing to having been pebble-dashed and
whitened of late years, it does not retain an appearance of
The English stronghold was erected on the site of an
ATHLONE CASTLE 23
old Celtic fortress of the O'Connors. It is recorded that
the castle and bridge of Athlone were built in 1129 by
Turloch O'Connor, " in the summer of the drought."
The following year they were demolished by Murogh
O'Mleghlin and Feirnan O'Rorke, and in 1153 the castle
Between 1210 and 1213 the Norman fortress was erected
by John de Grey, Bishop of Norwich, in his capacity of
Lord Justiciary of Ireland. During its building a tower
fell and killed Lord Richard Tuit, who founded the
Cistercian Abbey of Granard, County Longford.
Athlone Castle was built on abbey land, and in 1214
King John commanded Henry, Archbishop of Dublin, to
give the monks a tenth of the expenses of the castle in
lieu of the land used, in accordance with the conditions
agreed to by the Bishop of Norwich when he was fortifying
it. After this there are several references in the State
Documents to the tithes and other compensation due to
In 1 22 1 the King instituted a fair to be held at the castle.
The fortress being situated on the border of Irish
territory, its early history has an exceedingly stormy
record. In 1226 Geoffrey de Marisco, who was then
Justiciary of Ireland, complained that as the King of
Connaught refused to come to Dublin, he had appointed
to meet him at Athlone, although the castle was fortified
against the Crown.
In 1232 an order was issued to Hubert de Burgh to
deliver the castle to Peter de Rivall, and the next year one
to Richard de Burgh, who was to surrender it to Maurice
FitzGerald, Justiciary of Ireland.
Walter de Lacy received twenty marks for the custody
of the fortress in 1240, and eleven years later a tax was
levied for its repair.
It was granted to Prince Edward, the King's son, in
1254; and during the years 1276-77 it was repaired.
24 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Richard de Verdon was besieged in the castle in 1288 by
Richard de Burgo, and the same year John, Archbishop of
Dublin, took up residence there to oversee its better
fortification, and to try and make terms with the Irish.
In 1305 Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, was
The castle was "obtained" for the King in 1537, having
been in the hands of the Irish for many years. It con-
tained only one piece of broken ordnance, and there is a
request that another piece should be sent.
During Queen Elizabeth's reign it was the residence of
the President of Connaught, and also the Chief Justice
and Attorney-General for Connaught.
Tradition states that the Earl of Essex frequently
stayed in the castle, and some of his letters to the Queen
are dated from Athlone.
The O'Conor Don was imprisoned in the fortress in
1570 while Sir E. Fitton was constable, as a hostage for
the good behaviour of his sept. Some of his followers,
however, brought a " cot " under the castle walls, into
which the captive stepped, and so escaped.
In 1585-86 it is described as being a fitter residence for
the Chief Commissioner of Connaught than the Lord
Deputy in the following words : " That the castle is
conveniently furnished with buildings and other neces-
saries fit for the said Commissioner, but far too mean for
the Lord Deputy and the train that must follow the
It was ordered to be garrisoned in 1599, and the
following year it was to be entrusted to none but a
" sound Englishman." In 1606 it was repaired and
Two years later it was seized by the Earls Tyrone and
Tyrconnell. It passed again to the Crown, and the Earl
of Clanricard was constable in 1610.
Thirteen years later it was repaired, and a curious tax is
ATHLONE CASTLE 25
mentioned with regard to the operations, which is, that
the sept of Kellyes was bound to supply three hundred
labourers yearly for work in the fortress.
The Court of Claims sat in the castle during the
In 1682 Sir H. Piers writes of it : " In the centre of
the castle is a high raised tower which overlooked! the
walls and country round about. On the side that facet h
the river are rooms and apartments which served always
for the habitation of the Lord President of Connaught
and Governor of the castle, the middle castle being the
storehouse for ammunition and warlike provisions of all
After the battle of the Boyne in 1690, Lieut-General
Douglas, with ten regiments of infantry, three of horse,
two of dragoons, twelve field-pieces, and two small
mortars, endeavoured to take possession of Athlonc.
The bridge across the Shannon was broken, and he
erected his batteries on the Leinster side of the river.
He continued the cannonading for eight days, but his
powder running short he was obliged to retire. In his
despatch he stated he had done his best, and that it was
his opinion Athlone Castle was "of the greatest importance
of any in Ireland."
Colonel Richard Grace held the fortress for King James.
The following year the main division of William's army,
under de Genckell, laid siege to the town. At once
seizing that portion of it that is in Leinster, he began
to play his batteries on the north-east side of the castle on
June 22nd. By seven in the evening he had made a large
breach in the walls.
Firing continued all night, and by five in the morning
the side of the castle next the river was completely broken
down, and the garrison was obliged to go in and out by a
hole made in the wall on the western side.
The following evening the castle garrison raised two
26 CASTLES OF IRELAND
batteries above the castle, and some others, but the firing
had little effect. The bridge was slowly and surely gained
by the besieging troops, and their guns played constantly
on the fortress, wrecking the Connaught tower and walls.
Two officers deserting from the town informed William's
troops that the best regiments had been withdrawn by
St. Ruth, and thereupon a concerted and sudden attack
was made on the 3Oth of June, which carried the bridge,
castle, and town by storm.
Repairs were at once begun by the victors on July 3rd,
and in 1697 the castle was the chief depot of military
stores in the west.
It is now used as a barrack, and officers' quarters and
other buildings have been erected inside the walls.
Weld, "Statistical Survey of Co. Roscommon."
July, "Old Bridge of Athlonc."
O' Donovan, " Annals of the Four Masters."
D' Alton, " History of Drogheda."
Proceedings of Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.
In Journal of same, Langrishe, "Walls of Athlone," and "Sieges of
Tins fine old ruin is situated in the Barony of Corran,
County Sligo, about twelve miles north-west of Boyle.
The name signifies the " town of the moat," and was not
used before the building of the Norman fortress. Some
think "mote" is derived from "mound," but it is more
likely to refer to the ditch which surrounded the castle
until the close of the seventeenth century. The place was
formerly called Athcliath-in-Chorainn, or "the hurdleford
The castle fell to ruin after the rebellion of 1688. The
curtain walls, which are 9 feet thick, were flanked by six
round towers, one of them still being about 60 feet in
height. The courtyard which was thus enclosed contained
150 square feet.
A passage about 3 feet wide ran round in the thickness
of the walls, and communicated with the towers and
defences. The state-rooms were on the north side of the
courtyard, and some of them were fine apartments. The
Survey of 1633 calls this part "the Court." A few traces
of outworks remain.
About twenty years ago the present Rector of Bally-
mote was told by an old man that an underground passage
was locally supposed to lead from the castle to the abbe}',
a distance of about 200 yards. Upon further investigation
Canon Walker discovered two arches, one in the vestry of
the abbey and the other within the castle, apparently
leading in the same direction. Both are now choked with
28 CASTLES OF IRELAND
rubbish. The entrance in the castle is exceedingly narrow,
and was reached from the castle yard by descending steps.
Ballymote was erected by Richard de Burgo, " the Red
Earl," in 1300. It was dismantled in 1318, and twenty-
two years later it was in the possession of Turlough
O'Conor, King of Connaught, who was besieged in it by
MacDermot. Peace was afterwards concluded.
In 1346 it was restored and garrisoned by John de
Two years later it is referred to as belonging to Rory
O'Conor, and it was by that family entrusted to the
MacDonoughs to hold against the Burkes. These Mac-
Donoughs seized the castle of Ballylahan in 1381, and
taking its gate to Ballymote, there erected it.
In 1470 Brian MacDonough, who was lord of Ballymote,
was slain by Teige MacDonough, who took possession of
the castle. It was still in this family's possession in 1522
when the famous parchment " Book of Ballimote " was
sold by the MacDonough of the time to Hugh Oge
O'Donnell for the large price of 140 milch cows, he having
first obtained the consent of his family to the transaction.
The MacDermots laid siege to the castle in 1561, and
Cathal and Owen MacDermot were both slain before the
walls. Five years later the castle was taken by the
English and Hugh and Comae MacDonough imprisoned.
Almost immediately, however, the fortress was surprised
by Tomaltach and Duagal MacDonough.
Sir Richard Bingham recovered Ballymote in 15 84 and
placed his brother George in charge with seven warders,
while he also carried off MacDonough as hostage. At
this time sixteen quarters of the best land were set aside
for the castle's maintenance, which seems to have given
rise to a great deal of jealousy regarding its custody.
The year after its capture Sir Richard applied to be
made constable, with a lease of the fortress for sixty
BALLY.MOTE CASTLE 29
In 1587, writing to Air. Treasurer Wallop, he states he
is willing to give up Ballymote if he is refunded the money
he has laid out upon it. The following year George Good-
man and Thomas Wood seem to have been constables.
The Irish burnt the town and drove the garrison back
to the castle in I 593, and two years later O'Conor Sligo
petitioned the Government for the fortress. The next
year there was an unsuccessful attempt to surprise it, and
this year O'Conor Sligo occupied it upon his return from
Bingham managed to victual the castle across the
Curlew mountains in 1595, but with the loss of many of
his best soldiers, and in i 598 it was betrayed to the Mac-
Donoughs by two men the constable trusted. The captors
immediately put the fortress up to auction. There seems
to have been sharp bidding between Sir Conyers Clifford
and Red Hugh O'Donnell, but it was finally purchased by
the latter for 400 and 300 cows.
O'Donnell remained in it until Christmas, and he con-
tinued to occupy it at different times until 1601, being six
months in residence after his victory of the Yellow Ford.
It was from here he set out for his disastrous march to
He left Owen O'Gallagher as Governor, who handed the
keys to Roderick O'Donnell in 1602.
Two years after it was granted to Sir James Fullerton
by James I., and when he left Ireland to be tutor to Duke
Charles (afterwards Charles I.), the castle passed to Sir
It was surrendered to Sir Charles Coote upon articles in
1652, which are still preserved.
The chief conditions were that the garrison was to
march away with bag and baggage, and twenty days
were to be allowed for the removal of goods, during which
time Major-General Taaffe and his family might remain
at the castle. After this he was to have a free pass to the
30 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Continent, and Lady Taaffe was to be allowed to live at
Ballymote, on condition she did not use it against the
State, and that the Parliamentary forces might garrison
it at any time.
In 1689 the castle was held for King James by Captain
M'Donough. A party under Captain Cooper was sent to
reconnoitre the district, and pursued M'Donough 's men to
the drawbridge of the fortress.
Two years later Lord Granard summoned the castle,
but the governor, named O'Conor, refused to surrender.
Thereupon he despatched Baldearg O'Donnell and a
thousand men to lay siege to the place. They brought
with them one 12-pounder and two small field-pieces, and
as soon as O'Conor saw the guns he surrendered, upon con-
dition the garrison might march out with their belongings
and proceed to Sligo.
After this period the castle was dismantled, and the
land subsequently passed to the Gore Booths. Of late
there has been some talk of erecting a modern institution
within the old walls.
Wood-Martin, " History of Sligo."
O'Rorke, " History of Sligo."
Atkinson, " Book of Ballimote."
Bagwell, " Ireland under the Tudors."
THE name used by the early annalists to denote Bally-
shannon, was Athseanaigh, which signified the " Ford of
Seanach," who was ancestor of the Princes of Tirconnell.
" Bel " stands for mouth, and the modern designation is a
corruption of the Celtic name meaning " the entrance to
The town is situated on both sides of the river Erne,
about eleven miles south -south-west of the town of
Donegal, to the extreme south of the county.
The castle was on the north bank of the river, and
commanded the principal ford. For this reason its
possession was of immense strategical importance, it
being the key to the province of Tirconnell. Of the
great fortress of the O'Donnells only a small portion
of one of the walls remains. This is on the north side
of the market yard, part of it being incorporated with
a grain store and part with a butter shed. It is 10
feet high and 5 feet thick.
The fortress originally occupied the whole of the market
square, and it is most likely that its stones were used in
the erection of a cavalry barracks, which subsequently
occupied the present market enclosure, but which has now
Round the castle stretched a beautiful park, the name
being still preserved in some old leases. This extended
almost to the summit of the hill on the north. Quantities
of human bones have been found in the neighbourhood,
32 CASTLES OF IRELAND
The castle was erected in 1423 by Niall, son of Turlough
O'Donnell. In 1435 Naghtan O'Donnell gave it to Brian
Oge O'Neill for promising him assistance against the
O'Neill. Brian, however, went treacherously to his chief
without O'Donnell's knowledge, leaving his warders in
the castle. O'Neill, not approving of such double dealing,
took him and his two sons prisoners, cutting off a hand
and a foot from each, under which treatment one of the
The fortress was taken from O'Donnell's warders in
1496 by his son Hugh. His brother Con, with the assis-
tance of Maguire, laid siege to the castle and dislodged
him. O'Neill possessed himself of the stronghold in
1522, and slew the warders. It seems to have remained
in his possession until Sir Henry Sidney came north in
1 566 and had it delivered to him, as well as the castles
of Donegal, Beleek, Bundrowes, and Castle Sligo. All
these fortresses he placed in the hands of O'Donnell and
his allies, who were at this time in high favour with
The next year Shane O'Neill liberated Con O'Donnell
and his brother, who were at the time his prisoners, and
the castles of Ballyshannon and Beleek were delivered to
About this time the Government began to look with
alarm on the growing power and popularity of the
O'Donnells, and the State Papers of the period contain
notes regarding the advisability of garrisoning Bally-
shannon and the other fortresses of Tirconnell.
The regular military force under O'Donnell consisted
of 1,500 foot and 300 horse, out of which the garrison
of Ballyshannon numbered 200 foot soldiers and 40
In 1584, Lord Deputy Perrot recommended the erection
of a castle and bridge at Ballyshannon, no doubt to
counteract the power of the O'Donnells' fortress, which
BALLVSHANNON CASTLE 33
could hold the main ford against all comers. Four years
later the Lord Deputy dates a letter from Ballyshannon,
and about this time young Hugh O'Donnell was kidnapped
and imprisoned in Dublin Castle.
In 1592, Mr. Ralph Lane applied to Burghley, asking
for the custodianship and fee-farm of the castle and lands
of Ballyshannon, &c. The successful escape of Red Hugh,
however, from Dublin Castle seems to have placed the
possibility of the Government's disposing of his ancestral
home quite out of the question, and in 1592 the greatest
of the O'Donnells received a most royal welcome from
his father's dependents in the north.
Arriving at Ballyshannon, where the O'Donnell warders
still guarded the fortress, the whole country flocked to
meet him and offer their congratulations on his escape.
The neighbourhood was in the most fearful state, being
entirely overrun by freebooters, against whom even the
English were powerless the castles of Ballyshannon and
Donegal alone remaining in the hands of the O'Donnells.
After a most successful campaign against the marauders,
Hugh O'Donnell returned to Ballyshannon to undergo
medical treatment for his feet, which had been fearfully
injured by travelling from Dublin to Glenmalure in his
house-shoes over the mountains and in bitter cold. He
did not recover entirely until the end of the year, as both
his great toes had to be amputated.
In 1594 Sir Ralph Lane, writing to Burghley, mentions
that Hugh Roe O'Donnell would have broken down
Ballyshannon but that his mother dissuaded him from it,
assuring him that it might be defended with his own
forces. Yet this very year it was evidently in the hands
of the O'Donnells, and remained so until its capture in
The State Papers of this period are full of letters
requesting money and forces sufficient to take it, alleging
that the fortress was the " key of the province," and no
34 CASTLES OF IRELAND
peace could be hoped for in the north until it was gar-
risoned by English.
In the meantime the O'Donnells lived in royal state,
and with lavish hospitality entertained the surrounding
chiefs, while their flag floated from the battlements.
Sir George Carew observes of the Prince of Tirconnell :
"O'Donnell is the best lorde of fishe in Ireland, and
exchangeth fishe allwayes with foreign merchants for
wyne, by which his call in other countryes is the kinge
It was during a great assemblage of chiefs at Bally-
shannon to organise a raid on the English border, that
the great Shane O'Neill became madly enamoured of
O'Donnell's lovely daughter, Helen. He went to her
father and demanded her hand, but was informed that
the lady was already betrothed to Maguire, the young
chieftain of Fermanagh, who held his lands under
suzerainty of O'Donnell. This young man had been
educated at the Spanish court, and was all that a maiden
could wish in a suitor.
One evening the lovers left the castle together, for a
stroll by the river side, towards Belleek. Here, while
Helen was singing to her harp, O'Neill, who had followed
them, broke in upon their happiness. Maguire drew his
sword to defend the lady, but he was no match for the
great chief from whom he quickly received his death
wound. O'Neill placed the fainting form of the fair
Helen before him on his horse, and, with a few followers,
rode to Dungannon Castle. Her father at once called
his forces together, and followed to revenge the injury-
The end of the story has several variations, but the most
probable seems to be that O'Neill, finding the beautiful
girl irreconcilable to the loss of her handsome lover,
returned her to her father. The world had, however,
lost its charm for her, and the rest of her short life was
spent in seclusion.
BALLYSHANNON CASTLE 35
In 1597 the first determined attack was made on Bally-
shannon. Sir Conyers Clifford, Governor of Connaught,
with four thousand men, foot and horse, marched on the
stronghold, accompanied by Donough, the son of Connor,
Murragh, Baron of Inchiquin, and other Irish nobles.
O'Donnell having all the fords guarded, they were obliged
to cross the river about half a mile west of Belleek. Here
the Baron of Inchiquin was shot through his armour, while
his horse was standing in the deep water below the ford,
where he was encouraging the soldiers and saving them
The ordnance was landed by water and planted against
the castle. The siege lasted three days, but when the
little garrison were thinking of surrendering, help arrived
from Tyrone, and the English were driven off with great
loss. The defenders of the castle numbered only eighty
men, and were commanded by a Scotchman named Owen
During Red Hugh's absence in Spain in 1602 the
English took the opportunity to again attack the fortress.
The warders, seeing no hope of relief, fled, after the walls
had been battered by a big gun, and Captain Digges took
" that long desired place."
Ballyshannon, with 1,000 acres, was reserved to the
King in 1603, and five years later Sir Henry Folliot was
appointed Governor. In this year the plot to seize the
King's castle of Ballyshannon was one of the charges in
the indictment against the Earls of Tyrone and Tirconnell.
In 1610 the castle, lands, and fishings were granted to Sir
I-I. Folliot for twenty-one years. He was raised to the
peerage under the title of Baron Folliot of Ballyshannon,
During the Jacobite troubles the castle was still used as
a military headquarters, and the town was for a time in
the hands of the Royalists.
The land on which the ancient fortress stood is now
36 CASTLES OF IRELAND
part of the Connolly estate, and was acquired by purchase
from the Folliots.
Allingham, " Bally shannon, its History and Antiquities."
Donovan, "Annals of the Four Masters."
Calendar of State Papers.
" The Donegal Highlands."
Tins castle is situated in the tovvnland of the same name
upon the shore of Ballyteigue Lough, in the County
Wexford. The name signifies " O'Teige's town."
The old fortress forms part of a modern dwelling-house,
and the keep has always been kept roofed and in good
It was erected by Sir Walter de Whitty, one of the
Norman settlers, the name being spelt variously Why-
thay, Whythey, Wytteye, Whittey, Wythay, in old
Sir Richard Whitty was summoned to Parliament as a
baron by Edward 1 1 1., and his son Richard held three
carucates of land in Ballyteigue in 1335.
In 1408, as we learn from a MS. in the British Museum,
the Castle of Ballyteigue was burnt by Art M'Murrough
Kavanagh on Tuesday, the morning after the Feast of
Richard W T hitty, of Ballyteigue, died in 1539, and his
son Robert being only fourteen at his father's death, the
custody of Ballyteigue was granted to John Devereux
during his minority. The estate contained 3 manors,
3 carucates, and 523 acres.
The manor and castle of Ballyteigue were in the posses-
sion of Richard Whittie in 1624 and 1634.
The estate was forfeited in the time of the Common-
wealth, and was granted to Colonel Brett. It afterwards
passed into the hands of the Sweenys, and subsequently
3$ CASTLES OF IRELAND
to the Colcloughs, a branch of the family of Tintern
In 1798 the castle was the residence of John Colclough,
one of the leaders of the Wexford insurgents. He was
only twenty-nine when the rebellion broke out.
As soon as Bagnal Harvey heard that Lord Kings-
borough's terms for the surrender of Wexford would not
be ratified, he hastened to Ballyteigue, but Colclough and
his wife and child had already fled to one of the Saltee
Islands, about ten leagues from Wexford. He followed
them, but the island was searched, and the fugitives taken
in a cave. They were conveyed to Wexford, and Harvey
and Colclough were immediately tried and hanged. Col-
clough's head is buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery, Wexford.
His little daughter and only child inherited Ballyteigue.
She afterwards married Captain Young, and both lived in
the castle until their death. Their only daughter sold the
house to Mr. Edward Meadows, from whom it passed to
Mr. Thomas Grant.
A legendary tale of " Sir Walter Whitty and his cat,"
published some years ago by the late M. J. Whitty, editor
of the Liverpool Post, may have originated from the lion
which is represented in the Whitty arms.
MS. Ordnance Survey.
Book of Inquisitions of Leinster.
R. Madden, " United Irishmen."
" Balliteigue Castle," in The People.
Joyce, " Irish Place Names."
THIS castle is situated in the parish of Straffan, County
Kildare, in the barony of North Salt, about a mile north
of the village of Straffan.
The name is spelt variously Barberstowne, Barbeston,
Barbieston, Barbiestowne, Barbiston, Barbitstowne, Bar-
The present building consists of a battlemented rect-
angular keep considered by experts to be of thirteenth-
century construction, and measuring at its greatest height
52 feet. It is divided into three floors. The lower room,
which is vaulted to the height of 17 feet, is 18 feet long by
15^ feet wide, and the walls are 4^ feet in thickness.
The entrance is situated at the north-west angle, above
which are two grooves of sufficient width to stand in, and
evidently intended for the protection of the doorway.
The room above the vault is of slightly greater pro-
portions than that below, owing to the walls being of less
Two small rectangular towers are joined to the main
building on the south side's western angle, and west side's
northern angle respectively. The latter contains a winding
stone stair of fifty-three steps leading to the now slated
roof. The original crenelated loops for musketry have
here and there been enlarged to admit more light. The
summit of the watch tower is reached from the roof by a
short flight of nine steps.
A man is said to be interred between the top of the main
40 CASTLES OF IRELAND
stair and the roof of the tower. His family having held the
castle by a lease which expired when he was put under-
ground, determined to evade relinquishing their hold on
the property by keeping him always above the earth.
The southern tower consists of three storeys correspond-
ing with those in the keep, and had formerly doors opening
from the main rooms. Next the southern wall is a curious
slit in each floor just wide enough to permit of a ladder
giving access to the apartment above or below. The
ground floor in this tower is of very small dimensions,
being about 3 feet square.
The walls of the keep slope considerably at the outside
base so as to prevent an enemy getting out of gun shot by
closing up to the building. Large modern windows now
light each floor, and the whole is in excellent preservation.
A flue runs in the thickness of the wall on the north
side s which is crowned by a handsome brick chimney,
evidently added when the Elizabethan dwelling-house
which adjoins the castle was erected. A still more modern
house has been added to the north of this building, so that
at present three distinct periods are represented by the
castle and houses, which are all joined together.
The remains of an old wall near the fortress points to its
having once been of larger dimensions. Tradition states
that an underground passage leads from the castle to a
lodge near the roadway. Some fine old yews of great age
adorn the lawn, similar to those which are to be seen near
Locally it is believed that Barberstown was once the
residence of the King of Leinster, but its architecture does
not bear out the tradition.
In 1622 William Sutton, of Barberstown, is mentioned
in an inquisition, and in 1630 it is stated that he held it as
tenant of the Earl of Kildare.
Nicholas Sutton was in possession of the castle in 1641,
and at a subsequent date it must have passed to the
BARBERSTOWN CASTLE 41
Crown, who granted it in 1666 to John King, first Lord
His son Robert, the second Baron, was exempted from
mercy by Tyrconnell's proclamation, and his estate
sequestered in 1689.
Richard, Earl of Tyrconnell, then became possessed of
the fortress, and, strange to say, that although he could
only have retained it until he was attainted in 1692, yet it
was known for many years as Tyrconnell Castle. Lady
Tyrconnell retained some of her husband's lands in the
neighbourhood to a much later date.
Bartholomew Vanhomrigh, Esq., of Dublin, father of
the famous Vanessa, bought Barberstown from the Crown
in 1703 for 1,300. James Young was the tenant at the
time, and the property is thus described : " In the parish
of Straffan, distant from Dublin ten miles, Naas 5, and
Manooth 3 ; is Arable Medow and Pasture, on it I Castle
in repair, with a large stone House adjoyning, and Orchard,
also 8 Cabbins, with Gardens."
At the beginning of the next century it was occupied by
a family named Douglas, and it was purchased by the
Bartons, of Straffan, in 1826. They restored and re-
castellated it, and it still remains in their possession.
Subsequently it was occupied by Admiral Robinson,
and the present tenant is S. F. Symes, Esq.
A most extensive view is obtained from the summit.
A Book of Postings and Sale of the Forfeited and other Estates, &c.
Book of Survey and Distributions.
Book of Inquisitions, Province of Leinster.
S. Lee, " Dictionary of National Biography."
THIS castle takes its name from the Barony of Bargy,
County Wexford, on the borders of which it is situated,
about eight miles south-west of the town of Wexford, on
the margin of Lake Tucumshane.
The fortress is in excellent preservation, having been
several times restored. It consists of a square keep, to
which two wings have been added at more recent dates,
probably in the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries.
The chief entrance to the Castle was formerly by the
central tower, where a stained-glass window bearing the
Harvey Arms is now to be seen. On the outside of the
embrasure is a stone carved with figures supposed to
represent Queen Elizabeth and her court, and far above
this slab may be seen a large machicolation, once used for
hurling missiles for the defence of the door. The tower
is ascended by a winding stone stair, off which are
openings commonly known as "murdering holes." The
keep, in which are several rooms, is separated from the
rest of the mansion by a large door at the foot of the
stairway. A beautiful view can be had from the battle-
In the north wing of the castle is a small panelled
room, and not far from it a carved oak partition bears
with a cross and shamrock the following on the reverse
side: "I.H.S. 1591. R.R. M.S."
A beautiful oak staircase leads from the chief apart-
BARGY CASTLE 43
The castle grounds were formerly entered from the
south, where the old piers and gateway still remain. At
the back of the castle is part of the old moat or fosse,
which now contains large cellars.
The fortress is usually supposed to have been erected
by the Rossiter family at the beginning of the fifteenth
century, though some authorities state it owes its origin to
Hervey de Montmorency, one of the first Norman
William Rowcester, of Bridge of Bargie (Bargie Castle),
was pardoned for felony in 1540. He is described as a
" horseman," which, according to Hollinshead was a
position next to that of captain or lord. About 1553
Nicholas Roche was granted the wardship and marriage of
his son Richard.
The Most Rev. Michael Rossitter, Bishop of Ferns, is
supposed by some to have been born in Bargy Castle, in
1648, but the Down Survey maps of 1657 describe the
castle as being in ruins.
The last Rossiter to own Bargy was William Rositer,
who took part in the defence of Wexford against Crom-
well. His lands were confiscated in 1667, and Bargy
Castle was granted to William Ivory, Esq.
After this it passed to the Harvey family, and here
Beauchamp Bagnal Harvey was born, who commanded
the Wexford insurgents in 1798.
Bargy was confiscated to the Crown, after the sup-
pression of the rebellion ; and Bagnal Harvey, who
owned the castle, and Colclough were captured on the
Sal tee Islands and executed at \Yexford.
Troops were quartered at Bargy from 1798 to 1808,
when the property was restored to James Harvey, brother
of the late owner.
It is said that when a detachment of soldiers was sent
to take possession of the fortress in 1798 they indulged so
freely in the contents of the great wine cellars, that some
44 CASTLES OF IRELAND
of them injudiciously disturbed the hives in the garden,
whereupon the bees attacked their tormentors with such
force that some of the soldiers died from the effects, and
others were pursued by the irate insects to the very town
Mr. Harvey lived in London, and the castle gradually
fell into dilapidation until his death, when it passed to
Councillor John Harvey, who restored it. Major Harvey,
who died in 1880, is entombed in a mausoleum before the
hall door. The castle was afterwards let to Mr. Leared,
who re-roofed and improved it.
Ghostly tappings are reported to be heard on the castle
windows between 10 and n p.m., while a phantom
carriage is said to be sometimes audible driving up the
disused avenue, when the horses' hoofs cease before the
old entrance in the keep, and a minute or two later the
coach is again heard returning by the old drive.
Act of Settlement.
Down Survey Maps.
Plants of Edward VI.
Doyle, " Notes and Gleanings of Co. Wexford."
Madden, " The United Irishmen."
Article and letter in The People.
THE fine ruins of this fortress are situated about half a
mile south of Carrigtohill, in the County Cork.
It consists of a rectangular structure about 70 feet in
height, flanked by three towers, which open into the
main building at each storey.
A small oblong shaft in the south-east angle of the
keep runs from the upper to the lower rooms. A passage
in the main north wall is now filled up.
The arches are of good workmanship and well preserved.
In some of the smaller apartments the marks of the wattle
frames used in the building are still easily traced on the
ceilings, which show an early date of construction.
In the chamber above the chapel appears the date 1588,
as well as an inscription stating the castle was erected by
" D.B." and " E.R.," which initials stand for David Barry
and his wife, Eliza Roche. In another room the date 1596
The lands of the Harrys in Cork were confirmed to
Philip Barry by King John in 1206, and he later became
possessed of Barry's Court. The present castle is, however,
supposed to have been built during the fourteenth century.
Tradition states it was erected upon the site of an older
fortress belonging to the Lyons or Lehanes of Castle
Lyons, and that during the excavations for the present
foundations an inscribed stone was found stating that
" O'Lehan hoc fecit MCIII.," but O'Donovan does not
think the story probable.
46 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Geraltlus Cambrensis is credited with having written
part of his history of the conquest in the earlier castle.
In 1490 the head of the Barry family was summoned to
Parliament as Lord Barry of Barry's Court, and 1588
"James Barry of Barrescourt, Viscount Barrymore, other-
wise James, called Barrymore and Barryroo," was in
The Commissioners who were appointed to govern
Munster while the Earl of Desmond was in prison, wrote,
after arriving in Cork, in 1568: "Wood Kerne, under
Gerot Bracke, one of the Earl of Desmond's near kinsmen,
intercepted our letters, certain Kerne lay in ambush for us,
but Lord Barrymore and John FitzEdmund, Dean of
Cloyne, met us, and led us to Barry's Court."
In 1580 Sir Walter Raleigh started from Cork to make
complaint to Lord Grey in Dublin that the Barrys and
Condons were in league with the rebels. He received
orders to besiege Barry's Court, but Lord Barry, hearing
of his intention, set the castle on fire, while he and his
friend, Fitzgerald, the seneschal of Imokilly, lay in wait
for Sir Walter at the ford near the old abbey of Midleton.
In the encounter so little expected, Raleigh only saved
his life by his somewhat foolhardy daring.
In the account of his doings in Ireland in 1583, Sir
Henry Sydney writes : " I was well entertained at the
Viscount Barrie's house, called Barrie's Court."
During the Desmond rebellion of 1585, David Lord
Barry, whose initials are carved over the mantelpiece of
the castle, was associated with the disaffected. He after-
wards submitted and sat on the Council of Munster under
Sir George Carew. He was present at the relief of
Kinsale in 1602, and died at Barry's Court in 1617. He
was the second son of James Barry, and his wife, Ellen
Roche, was a daughter of Lord Fermoy.
Writing of him in 1606, Sir John Davys says: "From
Youghall we went to Cork, and dined by the way with the
BARRYSCOURT CASTLE 47
Viscount Barrie, who, at his castle at Barriecourt, gave us
civil and plentiful entertainment."
Barryscourt was regranted by James I. to his grandson
David, who succeeded him.
The castle seems to have again been consumed by fire
after James II.'s visit to Ireland, as it is stated that the
velvet bed hung with gold brocade in which he slept at
Sir James Cotter's, of Ballinsperrig, was then at Barrys-
court, and so destroyed by the conflagration.
The castle was in possession of the Coppinger family
for many years, William Coppinger being the owner in
It now belongs to Lord Barrymore.
A member of the Wakeham family informs me that it
was in possession of her ancestors several centuries ago,
and that the Lord Barrymore of that day gave the owners,
John and William Wakeham, the estates of Springhill and
Water-rock instead of it, which their descendants still
Gibson's " History of Cork."
Patent and Close Rolls, Chancery, Ireland.
"Local Names" and "Notes and Queries" in Journal
of Cork Ardiaoloi<ical Socieiv.
" Lords to whom great men submit,
Arc the O'Carrolls of the plain of Birr."
Tins fortress was one of the numerous strongholds of the
O'Carrolls of Ely O'Carroll. The derivation of the name,
formerly Biorra, is doubtful. Bir signifies "water," birm =
"abounding in wells," or "fountains of water," /;/r="a
spit," /;/or="the brink of a river," and the name may have
originated from any of these words.
The town is situated on the right bank of the Little
Brosna River at its juncture with the Birr rivulet. It is in
the barony of Ballybrit, King's County, sixty-two and a
half miles west-south-west of Dublin.
The O'Carroll's stronghold, called the " Black Castle,"
stood some sixty yards north-west of the present building
on the high bank of the river. The principal tower was
raised on an artificial mound, and in 1627 Sir Laurence
Parsons added a watch tower, whidi stood on thirteen
corbels, projecting on the outside, and was higher than all
the other buildings. The dungeon of the stronghold was
situated in the Black Castle, but this older fortress has
long since been demolished.
In 1620-21 Sir Laurence Parsons made a great many
additions to the castle. He erected a tower 46 feet long
and 25 feet broad, at each end of which an arch of hewn
stone gave entrance to the fortress. The present hall,
which is reached by a flight of stone steps under a vaulted
vestibule, is the centre part of this tower, as it is also that
of the present mansion.
In the following two years Sir Laurence also built a
porter's lodge, known as the " Garden House," fitted up a
drawing-room and made a garden and orchard.
In 1624 he built a new line of offices, which formed one
side of the courtyard, and in which was a kitchen, &c.
Another side of the enclosure was occupied by the stables,
which extended along the river, south of the Black Castle.
On the north was a double wall filled up with earth, and
having a gateway in the centre.
Sir William Parsons threw all these buildings down in
The castle was enlarged and remodelled under the
direction of Mr. J. Johnstone, architect, who altered the
entrance to the back of the building, away from the town.
Sir Laurence Parsons had also added a " French Flanker "
in 1627, but on what site is not known.
50 CASTLES OF IRELAND
The Annals of Clonmacmoise record that Byrre Castle
was besieged in 1207 by " Moriertagh Mac Bryen an
Sleyve," who burnt the whole town.
Ely O'Carroll was granted to Fitz Walter by Henry II.,
nevertheless King John re-granted it to William de Braosa
in 1 200, and Fitz Walter had to buy it back to regain
It shortly afterwards passed into the hands of Hugh de
Hose or Hussey.
The English rebuilt and enlarged the stronghold in
In 1432 the Earl of Ormond went to war with O'Carroll
of Ely, and demolished his two chief castles, which most
likely were Birr and Leap, for in spite of Royal grants
the stronghold remained in the possession of the
A dispute arose about the chieftainship of the sept in
1532, the senior branch of the family holding Birr Castle.
Ferganainm O'Carroll, the son of the late chief, enlisted the
aid of the Earl of Kildare, whose daughter he had married,
and together they laid siege to Birr. The Earl received a
bullet in his side from the garrison. It is said that a
soldier, hearing him cry out in agony, remonstrated with
him, remarking he himself had been wounded three times
and was none the worse, to which the Earl replied he was
sorry he had not received the fourth bullet in his stead.
The ball was extracted the following spring, but it is said
to have hastened his end.
In 1537 Lord Leonard Grey took Birr Castle, and is
reported to have received submission from O'Carroll, who
was created Baron of Ely in 1552.
At the time of the plantation of Ely, Birr and its castle
were granted to Sir Laurence Parsons in 1620, and the
same year his steward arrived to make preparations.
Shortly afterwards O'Carroll appealed in vain.
In 1641 Sir William Parsons was made Governor of Ely
BIRR CASTLE 51
O'Carroll and the Castle of Birr, which latter he garrisoned
with his tenants.
He put the place at once in a state of defence. He
raised a flanker behind the stables, and erected scaffolds
inside the castle for the garrison to fight from.
After some skirmishing the fortress was closely besieged
in 1642, and of the nine hundred people in town and castle
many died of starvation, while others were reduced to
eating dogs and cats.
At length the Earl of Ormond sent a detachment to
its relief, but early the next year General Preston
approached the stronghold with artillery and troops.
He reconnoitred the town from Drumbawn Hill, and
after firing a few shots encamped in the neighbouring
woods. On the second day of the siege he sent a mes-
senger to the Governor to inquire if he held the castle for
the King or the Parliament, and asking to be allowed to
garrison it for his Majesty's use.
Sir William replied that he had not heard of any differ-
ence from his Majesty or from the Parliament, and that
he held his commission as Governor of Ely O'Carroll.
At this reply Preston entrenched, and next day began
to bombard the fortress in earnest. The following night
a mine was commenced under the direction of a mason
who had been employed in the castle. The garrison,
hearing the noise, fired on the sappers, but the darkness
prevented the shot taking effect, and in the morning they
Preston continued firing, and destroyed much of the
wall and one of the flankers. He said he would break
down the fortress about the Governor's ears. Some of the
balls found in the masonry weighed 9 Ibs. each.
Under cover of a parley the defenders of the mill were
withdrawn, and the garrison held out for two days after
they had been undermined. A conference was held and
the besieged were granted honourable terms.
52 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Lord Castlehaven conducted them to A thy. They
numbered about eight hundred men, women, and children.
Preston seems to have retained possession of Birr until
1645, when for five years it was held by the Confederate
It was taken from the Irish in 1650 by General Ireton,
the enemy having burnt it before retreating. The Marquis
of Clanrickarde tried to retake it in vain.
In 1688 Birr was so infested with robbers that Sir
Laurence Parsons took some of his neighbours and
tenants inside the castle and closed the gates. This act
was magnified to the Government by his enemy, Colonel
Oxburgh, who obtained an order from the Lord Lieu-
tenant to put a garrison in the castle.
Oxburgh demanded admittance, and Sir Laurence
refused until he should hear from Lord Tyrconnel. A
siege then began, and when they attempted to undermine
the fortress terms of capitulation were agreed upon.
Both terms of surrender (1643-1688) are preserved in
the castle and have been published in the Report of the
Historical MSS. Commission.
Sir Laurence and some of his tenants were imprisoned
in the fortress. He was tried for high treason and several
times reprieved. He was liberated after the Boyne, and
appointed High Sheriff for the King's County.
In 1690 the castle garrison, being English, was sum-
moned, but after a parley the enemy retired.
Later the same year it was attacked by Sarsfield, who
fired all day on the stronghold. The marks of the shot
are still to be seen upon the castle walls. The besieged,
under Captain Curry, held out until reinforcements
The English army, passing through Birr in 1691, left
four hundred wounded men in the castle for two months.
Sir Laurence Parsons died in 1698.
The second Earl of Rosse succeeded to the estates
BIRR CASTLE 53
in 1841. His experiments towards improving the reflect-
ing telescope had been begun in 1827 at Birr Castle. He
employed local workmen, and the tools, machinery, fur-
naces, ovens, c., were all constructed on the spot, many
of which are still to be seen.
At length, after many failures, two specula were cast in
1842-43. They each measured 6 feet in diameter, weighed
4 tons, and were of 54 feet focus.
The tube in which one was mounted is 58 feet long and
7 feet in diameter. It is slung on chains between two
piers of masonry, and the telescope is moved and sup-
ported by a complex system of cast-iron platforms,
triangles, and levers.
It is the largest telescope in the world, and cost about
,20,000 to construct. Observations were commenced in
February, 1845. There are several smaller telescopes at
the castle as well.
The present Earl of Rosse is the third Earl, and, like
his father, is an eminent scientist.
T. Cooke, " History of Birr," &c.
Cooke, " Picture of Parsonstovvn."
Brewer, " Beauties of Ireland."
Donovan, "Annals of the Four Masters."
S. Lee, " Dictionary of National Biography."
Report of Historical MSS. Commission.
BLACK CASTLE, WICKLOW
WICKLOW is situated about twenty-five miles south-south-
east of Dublin, and the ruins of the Black Castle occupy
an isolated rocky promontory east of the town, and on the
south side of the Leitrim river. The name Wicklow is
likely to have been of Norwegian origin, but the mean-
ing is uncertain. The Irish name Kilmantan signified
S. Mantan's Church. The castle followed the natural
shape of the dark rock on which it was built, and from
which, no doubt, the designation "Black" is taken. It
was divided from the mainland by a chasm, which was
probably bridged in former times. A few fragments of
walls, with window openings, are all that remain.
The fortress can never have been of large dimensions if
it was confined to the rock on which the ruins now stand.
In 1176, after Maurice FitzGerald had been recalled by
Strongbow, he received a grant of the Castle of Wicklow,
among other possessions, in lieu of his lands in Wexford,
which King Henry wished to retain. From this it would
appear to have been the site of an older fortification.
Maurice FitzGerald began to erect a Norman strong-
hold on the promontory, but he died before it was
Soon after his death William FitzAdelm managed by
falsehood to get possession of the Black Castle from his
son Gerald, first Baron of Ofifaly, and surrendered him
instead the unprotected Castle of Ferns.
The Earl of Ormond being arraigned for treason in
BLACK CASTLE, WICKLOW 55
1422, one of the charges against him was that he had
retained William Edward, Constable of Arklow, in his
service after he had assisted the O'Byrnes in seizing the
King's Castle of Wicklow. They killed John Liverpoole,
the constable, and sent his head to the O'Byrne. They
also imprisoned a priest, whom they found in the fortress,
to hold for ransom.
The O'Byrnes seem to have been in possession of the
castle in the early part of the sixteenth century, but in
BLACK CASTLE, WICKLOW.
1534 it had again passed to the Crown, and Thomas
Stevyns was appointed constable. In 1567 Sir Thomas
Fytzwylliams began his suit for the fortress, which, in
1575, he offered to re-edify, though his doing so does not
seem altogether to have worked in his favour.
It seems generally believed that the present ruins repre-
sent the stronghold he built, but in 1580 it was reported
that Wicklow Castle was razed by the enemy.
Nineteen years later the terrible disaster took place in
56 CASTLES OF IRELAND
June, 1599, in which the English troops were utterly
routed between Rathdrum and Glenmalure by the com-
bined Irish septs of the district. It was this that caused
Essex such a sharp reprimand from Queen Elizabeth.
Sir Henry Harrington was in command, and his troops
fell back upon Wicklow Castle in the wildest disorder,
chased by the Irish within half a mile of the town.
Captain Adam Loftus seems to have been the only one
who endeavoured to redeem the day. He was wounded
in the leg and conveyed to the castle. A surgeon was sent
for, though the wound was not considered dangerous at
first ; but he shortly afterwards succumbed to the effects.
In 1610 Sir William Usher, Knight, was made constable
of the fortress, and in 1641 Luke O'Toole and a band of
insurgents laid siege to the town and castle, but retreated
upon the approach of Sir Charles Coote with some English
Gilbert, " History of Viceroys of Ireland."
Marquis of Kildare, " Earls of Kildarc."
O'Toole, "History of the Clan O'Toole."
Brewer, " Beauties of Ireland."
Joyce, l< Irish Names of Places."
Book of Howth, Carew MSS.
" There is a stone there whoever kisses,
Oh, he never misses to grow eloquent,
'Tis he may clamber to a lady's chamber
Or become a member of Parliament.
A clever spouter, he'll sure turn out, or
An 'out an' outer' to be let alone,
Don't hope to hinder him or bewilder him.
Sure he's a pilgrim to the Blarney Stone !"
APPROPRIATELY built on an isolated limestone rock, the
castle of the Blarney (Blarna meaning "little field") was
the chief stronghold of the chiefs of the sept Carty, from
Cartheigh, "an inhabitant of the rock." It is situated some
three and a half miles north-west of Cork, near the junction
of the Comane (i.e. crooked stream) and the Awmartin
River. The present ruins show three distinct periods of
construction, of which the oldest is a slender tower, or peel,
situated at the north-west corner of the larger block of
masonry that was built to it, the whole being the great keep
of the fortress.
A stone bearing the inscription " Cormac M'Carthy,
Fortis Me Fieri Facit, A.I). 1446," forms the sill of one of
the machicolations on the south side of the tower, and
being damaged during the siege in Cromwell's time, has
been supported with iron.
The keep is gnomon in shape, the later rectangular
tower being 60 feet by 36 feet, while the peel, which is half
built into the north-west corner, forms a projection of 18
58 CASTLES OF IRELAND
feet by 12 feet. The tower is about 120 feet high. The
original entrance to the peel, which was 10 feet above the
ground, is now built up, and access is gained by the large
newel stair in the later building. What are called " the
back stairs," were the original flight belonging to the first
tower. Here is situated the " Earl's bedroom," with a
more modern bay window, and remnants of the tapestry
which once covered the walls may still be seen. In the
very top storey is situated a kitchen with two great fire-
places, and one of the now floorless rooms in this tower was
probably the chapel.
In the later portion of the keep is the store-room and
guard chamber near the entrance, which is a low-pointed
doorway once defended from above. The apartment in
the third floor was most likely used as a reception room,
above which the great banqueting hall is situated, with an
elaborately-worked chimney, and a fireplace 12 feet wide.
The tower on the south and east is finished by machicolated
parapets, resting on fourteen corbels, and having a corre-
sponding number of opens or crenelles above.
The keep represents the fifteenth-century masonry,
except where it is surmounted by the ogee parapet of brick
work, which was seemingly added at the time the now
ruined mansion to the east of the tower was built. This
dwelling, erected by the Jeffreys family, was unroofed and
its timber sold in 1821.
What are locally called " the dungeons " are merely
divisions in the well cavern, which was at one time con-
nected with the castle by a covered passage now filled up.
There seems to be great uncertainty as to the identity
of the famous kissing stone, said to give a persuasive
tongue to whoever touches it with his lips. The power of
conferring this accomplishment appears to have been
unknown in the early part of the nineteenth century.
The inscribed stone already mentioned is generally sup-
posed to be the true " Blarney stone," chiefly, it seems
BLARNEY CASTLE 59
because it has been carefully propped, and most likely had
the mystic reputation conferred upon it when a slightly
water-worn hollow stone situated on the parapet of the
east side of the turret disappeared more than a quarter of
a century ago.
Again a stone bearing the date 1/03, on the highest part
of the north-east angle, and another engraved with a sham-
rock in relief have each been asserted to be the original stone.
The origin of " Blarney," meaning flattery, is said to
have been from an exclamation of Queen Elizabeth upon
receiving a very plausible letter from M'Carty, to the effect
that it was all " Blarney" and he did not intend to carry
out his promises.
The castle at one time covered eight acres. In a quarry
near a large number of human bones have been found.
Cormac MacCarty, surnamed Laider, or the Strong, came
60 CASTLES OF IRELAND
into the lordship of Musketry three years after he had built
Blarney Castle, and such was his power that English
settlers paid him a yearly tribute of .40 to protect them
against the attacks of the Irish. He was fourth lord, and
direct descendant of the former Kings of Desmond and
Cork. He died in 1494.
Teige MacCormac Carty signed an indenture of allegi-
ance to the English laws in 1542, and this was faithfully
adhered to by his descendants, who, unlike the other great
Irish septs, never went eagerly into rebellion. At this time
the clan could raise three thousand fighting men. His son
Dermod was knighted in 1558.
The Manor of Blarney, Twhoneblarney, the entire country
of Muskerry, with all its lordships and possessions, were
granted to M'Dermod to hold by military service in 1589.
His cousin Charles, however, was page to Sir Walter
Raleigh, and through his interest procured from the Privy
Council a sequestration of the rents.
In 1596 Cormack M'Dermot M'Carthy asked for a new
grant of the Manor of Blarney with a release of all con-
When war broke out, although Lord Muskerry remained
with the English forces, he was seized as a traitor (1600)
because his brother had joined the rebels, and a relative in-
formed the Council that he himself was plotting against them.
Tyrone at this time encamped with all his forces near
Blarney, which is described as one of the strongest castles
in the province of Munster, " for it is four piles joined in
one, seated upon a main rock, so as it is free from mining,
the wall 1 8 feet thick, and flanked at each corner to the
Sir Charles Wilmot and Captain Roger Harvey endea-
voured to surprise the garrison after the arrest of Lord
Muskerry, but the warders, suspecting their motive, made
them partake of the food they asked for, outside the castle
BLARXEY CASTLE 61
When Lord Muskerry was put upon his trial he
indignantly denied the charges made against him. The
President replied that he had better either confess his guilt
and ask pardon, or deliver up Blarney Castle until the
accusations were proved false. This Lord Muskerry
hesitated to do, and so was committed to prison. At
length he consented to give up Blarney to Captain Taafe,
on condition that it would be restored to him unaltered.
Shortly after this he escaped, in 1602, but seeing the
struggle against the Crown was hopeless, he asked leave to
make submission to Sir George Carew, which was granted.
In 1628 he was created Baron of Blarney and Viscount
Cartie of Muskerie, and as such went to Parliament.
Charles I. appointed him President of Munster, but in
1646 Lord Broghill, afterwards Earl of Orrery, took the
castle of Blarney and made it his headquarters. Lord
Muskerry was the last Royalist in Ireland to lay down
arms, and he was tried for his life by Ludlow and others.
He was permitted to pass to Spain, while his wife was
allowed to receive his income from the estate, except
1,000 a year granted to Lord Broghill for his services
Two years later Lord Muskerry was recalled, after the
Restoration, and created Viscount Muskerry and Earl of
Clancarty. His property was given back to him, except
the portion allowed to Lord Broghill, who was now a sup-
porter of the King.
When James landed at Kinsale, Blarney Castle was used
as one of the prisons for the Protestants of Cork, the fourth
Earl of Clancarty being one of the King's chief supporters.
Upon the succession of King William the Clancarty
estate, worth about 150,000, was confiscated and sold, a
pension of 300 being allowed to the Earl, who died at
The Rev. Dean Davies, of Cork, was tenant of the castle
for some years after the Hollow-Sword-Blade Company of
62 CASTLES OF IRELAND
London bought it. Upon leaving he took away many of the
oak beams of the castle for his new residence at Dawstown.
Chief Justice Pyne then purchased it, and held it for a
short time, but in 1703 Sir James Jeffreys bought the castle
and lands, and from him the present owner, Sir George
Colthurst, is descended.
There is in the possession of The O'Donovan, at Liss
Ard, Skibbereen, a dadagh, or Irish skean, with which an
O'Donovan killed M'Carty Reagh about the middle of the
sixteenth century. The dispute arose about some plundered
cattle which M'Carty wished to drive into the bawn of
Blarney without division. Being opposed by O'Donovan,
he attacked him and threw him down, but O'Donovan,
although on the ground, snatched the dadagh from him,
and slew him with his own weapon.
About a quarter of a mile south-west of the castle, in the
park is the lake, where it is supposed the plate chest of
the last Earl of Clancarty was thrown before the castle was
surrendered to William's forces, and a legend says that the
Earl rises from the lake every seven years, and walks two
or three miles in the hope that some one will speak to him,
so that he may tell them where it lies. Another version
says that as soon as the estate is restored to the MacCartys
the chest will be discovered. A little silver ring has been
found in the lake.
Calendar of State Papers.
Joyce, " Irish Names of Places."
Croker, " Fairy Legends," and " Researches in the South of Ireland."
Savage, " Picturesque Ireland."
Windele, " Notices of the City of Cork and Vicinity."
Smith, " History of Cork.''
C. C. Woods, "Blarney Castle" (Journal of the Cork Archaeological
Proceedings of Archaeological Association of Ireland.
BUN RATTY CASTLE
TllE village of Bunratty is situated in the Barony of
Lower Bunratty, County Clare, and the castle stands on
the banks of the Ougarnee River, a little above its junc-
ture with the Shannon on its northern bank, about six
miles below Limerick.
The former name of the river was Ratty, and the name,
therefore, signifies the end or mouth of the Ratty.
The fortress is still in a very fair state of preservation
and shows many signs of alterations during its existence.
It consists of an oblong structure, flanked by four square
towers built into the angles, which are joined at the head by
The north-east tower contains an oratory. It has a
piscina, and the ceiling is a handsome specimen of
richly moulded seventeenth-century stucco work, probably
executed when the " great Earl " of Thomond restored the
castle in 1610. Out-offices and servants' quarters formerly
surrounded the main building, but were removed by the
late Mr. Studdert to supply material for the modern manor
An inscribed stone at the summit of the castle states
that the present building was erected by O'Brien in 1397.
There are marks of shot still visible on the walls.
The cantred of Tradee was granted in fee farm to the
Norman Robert de Muscegros, at a yearly rent of ^30.
Henry III. remitted him two years' rent in 1251 to
enable him to fortify Bunratty Castle, which he had built.
66 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Shortly after he surrendered it to the King on condition
he was allowed for the repairing, provisioning, and defend-
ing of it. It was taken by the Irish in 1257.
De Muscegros exchanged his lands of Tradee, in
Thomond, with Sir Richard de Clare in 1275 for property
in England, and the following year Bunratty Castle was
taken for the King by Geoffry de Gyamul, Lord Justice.
The same year King Brian the Red granted to de Clare
the district he had acquired by exchange, and he at once
began to repair the castle. It is recorded he built "a
defensive thick-walled castle of lime and stone, which was
a sheltered, impregnable fortress, and a wide white-washed
mansion which he founded in the clear-harboured Bun-
ratty," and that he resided here with English retainers
whom he purchased " for love or money."
Torlough O'Brien invaded Thomond, and its King,
Brian, fled to Bunratty. Among those who opposed the
invaders was de Clare's brother-in-law, Patrick Fitz-
Maurice, who was slain in the conflict. When news of
his death reached Bunratty there was great lamentation,
and his sister, de Clare's wife, denounced King Brien, who
was then at dinner, as the cause of the disaster.
He was thereupon dragged from the table, bound to
wild horses, and literary torn to pieces. This act of
treachery was rendered even more horrible from the fact
that he and de Clare had sworn friendship with the most
Among the State Documents of 1298 is an entry for
expenses and wages of horse and foot soldiers in an
expedition to relieve Bunratty, which was besieged by
Turlough O'Brien. This attack probably took place at
an earlier date.
The castle was besieged again in 1305 by Coveha
MacConmara and the outworks burnt, which is thus
picturesquely described: "Yea, at this bout, the open-
spaced Bunratty, when it was gutted, fed the flames ; and
BUNRATTY CASTLE 67
by the Wolf-dog's pertinacity, not once, but twice, were
many of the lime-white towers burnt."
The fortress was not taken, and Lord Burke persuaded
MacConmara to raise the siege.
At this time Maurice de Rochford was custodian.
The Karl of Ulster marched into Clare with a great
army in 1311 to besiege Bunratty. Richard de Clare
sallied out to meet him on the hill behind the fortress, but
was obliged to retreat. William de Burgo, pressing too
far in pursuit, was taken prisoner, as well as John, son of
Walter de Lacy.
In 1313, de Clare was about to hang O'Brien's son, who
was hostage for the tribe of Coileau, but his wife, with the
clergy and nobility, interceded for him.
De Clare and his son Thomas were killed in 1318 in the
battle of Dysert O'Dea, and upon his wife, Lady Johan de
Clare, hearing of the disaster, she set fire to the castle and
sailed for England.
The following year it was spoiled by King Mortogh.
It was immediately repaired, and the Government
assigned it to Matilda, wife of Robert de Wills, and
Margaret, wife of Bartholomew de Badlesmere, sisters to
Richard de Clare, and appointed Robert Sutton constable.
In 1326 it was held for the Crown by James de bello
Fago, and in 1332 it was besieged and taken by the
There is an order dated 1356 to liberate Thomas, the
son of John EitxMaurice, who had been imprisoned as
accessory to the loss of the castle.
The Lord Deputy recovered the fortress in 1558 by
firing across the river until the garrison of Donnell O'Brien
The Earl of Thomond was proclaimed rebel in i 570, and
fled to sea ; the Earl of Ormond meantime garrisoned Bun-
ratty with his own men, but in 1 585 the castle was confirmed
to the Earl of Thomond.
68 CASTLES OF IRELAND
The "Great Earl" of Thomond restored it in 1617.
Some authorities say Lord Forbes seized the castle in
1642 in a buccaneering expedition.
When the rebellion broke out in 1641 the Earl of
Thomond of the time found himself in a difficult position,
for by religion he might have been supposed to side with
the Government, while at the same time he was closely
related to many of the prominent Confederates, being
uncle to Lord Muskerry who commanded their troops in the
south. He, therefore, remained quietly at Bunratty taking
neither side, but he was too powerful to be allowed to
presevere in neutrality.
The Supreme Council of the Confederates entrusted the
seizure of both the castle and Earl to his relatives, the
O'Briens, but in the meantime the Earl of Ormond had
entered into a treaty with the Earl of Thomond whereby
the latter \vas to surrender the castle of Bunratty to a
governor they mutually agreed upon.
The choice fell upon Colonel Adams, "a stout officer,"
who, with upwards of six hundred men, took possession of
the stronghold in 1645. The governor was a Scotchman
whose family name was Adam, but upon settling in Ireland
he seems to have been called Adams, and sometimes
MacAdam. He was married to the Hon. Catherine
Magennis, granddaughter of Hugh, Earl of Tyrone, there-
fore his wife was first cousin to Owen Roe O'Neill, which, no
doubt, guided his selection as commander of Bunratty
Before the castle was surrendered the Earl of Thomond
built all his plate and money into the walls to the amount of
2,000, and had the place plastered and rough cast. Some of
the servants betrayed the fact to the soldiers, and they seized
the Earl and threatened to kill him unless he showed them
the treasure, whereupon they took it before his face. He
afterwards tried to recover it as a debt from the Govern-
ment in vain.
BUNRATTY CASTLE 69
The castle was provisioned at the cost of 1,200 by
The Earl of Thomond left his fortress in the hands of
the soldiers and sailed for England. Colonel Adams at
once set to work to put the place in a state of defence by
raising earthworks and fortifying outlying positions, as
well as mounting cannon in the garden. He was much
helped in his operations by the marshy character of the
The Confederates sent an army to besiege the castle,
which encamped in the park. They were shortly afterwards
joined by Lord Muskerry, who seems to have been only
half-hearted in attacking his uncle's property, and it
required the persuasion and presence of the Nuncio to
push the siege to a victorious issue.
Cardinal Rinuncini must have been much impressed
by the beauty of the spot, as later he had scenes of
the siege painted on the walls of his Italian palace.
After some weeks a dam about half a mile from the
castle was captured, but only held a few hours when
deserted by its guards, who were hanged for the offence.
Two pieces of cannon were then directed upon a small
outlying castle, and at the end of two days' firing Colonel
Adams repaired to the place to see if it could be held any
longer. A chance shot at the upper window mortally
wounded him, and being carried out he died that night
When Muskerry heard this he decided to attack in force,
" knowing how much discouraged they were at the loss of
so valiant a person."
The Irish gradually gained position, and at length the
garrison capitulated for their lives, and the officers their
swords, and returned to Cork by water. This was in
In 1712 Henry, 8th Earl of Thomond, disposed of his
estate, and the castle passed to the Studdert family, who
lived there until the neighbouring mansion was built.
70 CASTLES OF IRELAND
For some years afterwards it was partly used for a police
barrack, and now it is in the hands of a caretaker.
MS. Ordnance Survey.
Frost, " History of the County Clare."
White, " History of Clare."
O'Donoghue, " Memoirs of the O'Briens."
B. Adams and M. Adams, " History of the Adams Family."
Murphy, " Cromwell in Ireland."
Dwyer, " Diocese of Killaloe."
Joyce, "Irish Names of Places."
Gilbert, " Affairs in Ireland, 1641-52" (Apporismical Discovery of
Gilbert, " History of the Irish Confederation by Richard Sellings."
Proceedings of Royal Society of Antiquaries, Ireland.
\Vcstropp, " Xormans in Thomond ; " Macnamara, " Inchiquin,
Co. Clare;" Shirley and O'Brien, " Extracts from the Journal
of Thomas Dineley," all in Journal of the Royal Society of Anti-
Wcstropp, ' On the Churches of County Clare," in Proceedings of
" Bunratty," Dublin Saturday Magazine.
THE town of Carlow, Catherlough or Catherlogh, is situated
on the banks of the Barrow, five and a half miles south-
by-west of Castledermot near the junction of the above
river with the Burren. The name signifies " the city on
the lake," but the sheet of water from which it derived its
name has disappeared.
The castle stands on a slight eminence to the west of
the town on the east bank of the river, where it commanded
The present ruins consist of two round towers, and the
western wall, which measures about 105 feet in length and
some 70 feet in height. One of the towers is joined to
this structure, and a small portion of the north and south
walls adhere to both turrets respectively.
The doors were remarkably low and narrow, and light
was admitted almost entirely by loopholes.
In Thomas Dineley's quaint diary he states that the
fortress was built of freestone, and a picture in the same
work represents it with gables and a high-pitched roof. It
is flanked by round towers and has many tall chimneys.
It appears to be surrounded by a low battlemented wall,
and to have numerous little out-houses.
Like so many castles in Ireland, local tradition ascribes
its erection to King John, but Eva, Strongbow's wife,
Isabel, their daughter, Hugh le Bigod, 4th Earl of Norfolk,
and Bellingham, Lord Deputy of Ireland, have been men-
tioned by other authorities. Ryan, in his history of Carlow,
72 CASTLES OF IRELAND
deals with the likelihood of each claim, and thinks that it
was most probably built by Hugh de Lacy. He is said to
have erected it about 1180, but the architecture is rather
that of the beginning of the thirteenth century.
The castle is mentioned in the charter of William, Earl
In 1283 we find the repairing of the old hall, kitchen,
and tower among the accounts of Roger le Bigod, Earl of
Norfolk, in whose possession it then was. Among the
items of expenditure are 700 nails and canvas, which were
probably for the roofing of the great hall, which was
covered with wooden shingles, and seems to have been
difficult to keep in repair.
Carlow Castle was at this time the centre of government.
The courts were held in the hall mentioned, and the
Exchequer House was probably situated in one of the
towers. The income of the lordship was 750 a year.
After all this expenditure, however, when the Earl's
CARLOW CASTLE 73
possessions passed to the Crown in 1306, the castle and
hall were so ruined that no value was placed upon them.
J. de Bonevill, of his Majesty's Castle of Carlow, was
appointed seneschal of Carlow and Kildare in 1310 to put
clown the robberies and outrages in the country.
It is stated that the castle was seized in 1397 by Donald
MacArt Kavanagh, the MacMorrough, but the authority is
not considered very reliable.
In 1494 James Fitzgerald, brother to the Earl of Kildare,
having gone into rebellion, seized the castle and hoisted
his standard on its battlements. Sir Edward Poynings
marched to Carlow, and after a siege of ten days recovered
Carlow Castle was in the hands of Thomas, roth Earl of
Kildare, better known as the " Silken Thomas," during his
rebellion in 1535. After his imprisonment in 1537 Lord
(James) Butler, eldest son of the Earl of Ossory, appealed
to the Crown for compensation for having defended the
Castles of Carlow and Kilkea, " standing on the marches,"
close to Irish territory. He was granted his expenses, and
appointed constable of both castles.
At the same time the Deputy wrote to the Lord Privy
Seal advising him to let the King keep the " manors of
Carlagh, Kylea, and Castledermont " in his hands to
prevent Lord Ossory and his son from becoming too
Sir Robert Hartpole applied for the custodianship of
the fortress in 1567, it being at that time in possession of
Frances Randall, widow of its late keeper.
Rory Oge O'More, Chieftain of Leix, burned the town
and Sir Robert Hartpole made a sally from the castle with
fifty men and released Harrington and Cosby, who were
his prisoners, but O'More escaped in the dark.
Queen Elizabeth desired the Lord Deputy to exchange
some of the crown lands with Henry, Earl of Kildare, for
the castle and lands of Carlow in 1589. During the unfor-
74 CASTLES OF IRELAND
tunate Essex's rule in Ireland, in 1598 to 1600 the Queen's
warders held the fortress, but the Kavanaghs laid the
surrounding country waste.
By the State Papers of 1604 the manor of Carlow was
granted to Donagh, Earl of Thomond, with the exception
of the castle, of which, however, he and his son were made
constables. The following is taken from a document
setting forth the conditions of the grant :
" In all works made within the castle, the inhabitants of
Carlow are to find six workmen or labourers daily, during
the said work, at their own expense ; also each tenant and
cottager to weed the demesne corn yearly for three days,
and a woman out of every house in Carlow to bind the
sheaves for one day ; each tenant and cottager to cut wood
for the use of the castle for three days in summer, and
each of them having a draught horse to draw the wood to
the castle for three days, also to draw the corn out of the
fields to the area of the said castle for three days ; to give
one cartload of wood, and one truss of straw at Christmas
Shortly after this the castle and bawn was granted to
Sir Charles Wilmot.
Five hundred English were besieged in the castle in
1642, and were in a starving condition when relieved by
Sir Patrick Wemys, who had been despatched to their
relief by the Earl of Ormond. The rebels burned the
town and fled at his approach.
In 1647 the King's garrison was so hard pressed that the
Earl of Ormond borrowed ^60 for its relief, and forwarded
it by Major Harman, but the fifty men who came to rein-
force the garrison could not get in, as the stronghold was
closely invested. The siege lasted about a month, and
then the castle surrendered.
In Dr. Jones' diary he states that the Cromwelfian army
arrived before the castle on the 1 8th of March, 1649. That
the garrison of two hundred men refused to surrender it
CARLOW CASTLE 75
until the battery played on the place, and preparations
were made for storming.
The next day the castle was surrendered, and two com-
panies left to garrison it. The officers in command being
Colonel Ilewson, Sir T. Jones, and Colonel Shelburn.
Again we learn that Ireton arrived to take the castle on
July 2, 1650, and that he spent the whole day in preparing
for the attack. The troops encamped on the Queen's
County side of the river, the field still being pointed out.
They had to erect a temporary bridge of ropes, hurdles
and straw to cross the river, and the soldiers passed over
one by one.
In Edmund Ludlow's " Memoirs" he describes the place
as " a small castle, with a river running under its walls,"
and ascribes its importance to the fact of the neighbourhood
being in sympathy with the garrison.
Just before sunset Ireton sent a letter to the governor
offering terms to the defenders if they surrendered. The
officer he sent returned to say Ireton should have an
answer the next morning.
Accordingly, Captain Bellew sent a courteous reply to
him asking for a truce of three days, so that he might com-
municate with the Bishop of Dromore. This was granted,
and Ireton went on to Waterford, leaving Sir Hardress
Waller in command.
After a short cannonade he took the town, and the
castle surrendered upon articles. The garrison received a
safe convoy to Lea Castle, and a pass of ten days to
In Carte's "Life of Ormond," he attributes the castle's
loss to treachery, but except in a local tradition this does
It is said that the garrison running short of water sent
an old woman to the river to fetch some, but that she was
taken prisoner by some of the soldiers, and brought to the
hostile camp. She was promised her life and a reward if
76 CASTLES OF IRELAND
on the following night she would show by a torch on the
battlements the position of the stairway where the walls
were thinnest. The legend runs she fulfilled the conditions
and that, the cannonade at once beginning, she was the
first to lose her life through her own treachery.
The manor passed from the Earl of Thomond's family,
on account of an unredeemed mortgage, to a Mr. Hamilton,
M.P., who, in 1729, brought his case before Parliament for
having been deprived of the castle yard during the time of
The castle was leased in 1814 to a Dr. Middleton.
This gentleman intended to convert it into a lunatic
asylum, and endeavoured to enlarge the windows and lessen
the thickness of the walls by the then little known process
of blasting. The results were disastrous. One morning,
at about nine o'clock, while the workmen were fortunately
at breakfast, the huge pile began slowly to totter to its fall.
An eye-witness who had time to escape from the
threatened destruction said: " After viewing the portentous
and amazing nodding of the towers, the immense pile
gradually disparted into vast masses, which broke with
difficulty into fragments less mighty."
J. Ryan, " History of County Carlow."
Brewer, " Beauties of Ireland."
'Book of Hovvth, Carew MSS.
Lord Walter Fitzgerald, " Kilkea Castle," in 'Journal of Kihiare
R. Malcomson, "Cromwell at Carlow"; J. O'Meagher, "Diary of
Dr. Jones " ; E. Shirley, " Extracts from Journal of Thomas
Dineley " ; and J. Mills, " Accounts of the Earl of Norfolk's
Estates in Ireland": all in 'journal of Royal Society of Anti-
quaries of Ireland.
MS. Ordnance Survey of Ireland.
IT is popularly believed that Carrickfergus derived its
name from a king called Fergus having been lost there in a
storm about 320 it.C., whose body was washed up on the
rocky peninsular where the castle stands. The name is,
ho\vever, more likely to be a corruption of Carraig na
Fairgc, signifying " rock of the sea." It is often erro-
neously called Knockfergus in ancient documents. The
town is situated on the northern shore of Belfast Lough,
about ten miles distant from that city.
The castle occupies the whole of a tongue of rock at the
south end of the town, which was at one time surrounded
on three sides by water.
The entrance to the fortress on the north, or landward
direction, was by a drawbridge across a dry moat. This
was protected by two semicircular towers, and a portcullis
which still exists. Above the entrance is an aperture, from
which missiles and lead could be poured upon besiegers.
From the gate towers a high curtain follows the forma-
tion of the rock that gradually rises to about 30 feet in
height towards the south. The wall is at present mounted
with ordnance used by the militia. The enclosed space is
divided into two yards. The outer one, which is entered
immediately from the gateway, contains a number of
buildings and offices erected in 1802, at which time the
castle was used as a barrack. There are also vaults,
which were supposed to be bomb proof. In the line of
wall is situated a small projecting tower known as the
t$ CASTLES 01^ IRELAND
" Lion's Den." The inner yard is approached through a
round arched gateway, and contains storehouses and keep.
This latter is 90 feet high, and divided into five storeys.
Its western side forms part of the outer wall. It was
formerly entered by a doorway on the second floor, and a
winding stone staircase in the wall of the west angle led to
the top. Loopholes admitted light and air, and there was
a small door at each storey. At present the ascent is
made partly by wooden stairs inside. There are two
towers at the summit of the keep, one on the south-east
corner covering the top of the stairway, and the other at
the south-west corner, which was intended for a sentry-box.
On the third storey is the large room known as " Fergus's
Dining-room," being 40 feet long by 38 feet broad and over
25 feet high. It was made into a barrack in 1793, but is
now employed as an armoury. Over the chimneypiece was
once a stone inscribed in Irish, which was removed in 1793.
The former draw-well of the castle, 37 feet deep, was
situated in the keep. It was famous for medicinal qualities.
The lower portion of the building is now used as a
magazine. The walls of the tower are 9 feet thick, and
the corner stones, or quoins, are of yellowish limestone,
which was probably quarried in the County Down on the
opposite shore of the Lough.
The building of the castle is generally ascribed to John
de Courcy, and, although there is no direct proof that this
was the case, many facts tend to support the supposition.
In the first place, as De Courcy settled a colony in Carrick-
fergus shortly after his conquest of Ulster, it is most likely
that he would provide some means for its protection.
Again, it was for a long time the hereditary property of
the Earls of Ulster, who were descended from De Courcy.
The ancient seal of the mayor of the town bears a spread-
eagle, which was the De Courcy crest, and several coins of
Henry II.'s time have been found near the building. In a
preface to State Papers the editors say that " the oldest
CARRICKFERGUS CASTLE ;o
fort in Ulster is Carrickfergus, built in the days of De
Courcy, and never out of the possession of the English."
In 1605, the Lord Deputy applying for means to have it
restored, remarks it was " founded by his Majesty's ances-
tors, and much needing repair."
It is likely King John stayed in the castle during his
visit to Carrickfergus in 1210, and an order is preserved to
(Krom an Engraving made in 1838.)
the Bishop of Norwich to buy supplies for it that year. It
appears to have passed into the hands of Hugh de Lacy
when King John granted him Ulster, but in 1223 a garrison
was to be placed in the castle lest it should be attacked
by De Lacy, who was then plotting against the King.
The following year a band of knights and soldiers were
despatched by the Earl of Pembroke for its further defence.
So CASTLES OF IRELAND
Although it was being besieged by Hugh they managed to
get into the fortress safely, and the siege was then raised.
Two years afterwards the custody of the castle was
granted to Hugh de Lacy's brother Walter.
In 1245 an order was issued for its repair, and later
(1253) it was assigned by the King as part of the dowry of
Eleanor, Queen Consort.
In 1315 the castle was besieged by Edward Bruce, and
Lord Mandeville, who endeavoured to relieve it, failed to
do so. The gallant little garrison held out for more than a
year, and it is said they were reduced to eating eight
Scotch prisoners who had died within the walls. Upon
the arrival of King Robert Bruce to aid his brother, the
fortress was surrendered. After the death of Edward
Bruce the castle passed again into the hands of the
English, and it appears to have been the only place in
Antrim not in the possession of the O'Neills after the
assassination of the Earl of Ulster, 1333.
In 1337 the King appointed a constable to the castle
under the belief that he was the owner of the stronghold,
instead of holding it only during the minority of the Earl
of Ulster, and as there was a constable already in office,
compensation had to be found for the disappointed cus-
todian. From this time there was a long list of constables,
the last being Stewart Banks, Esq., of Belfast, who used
merely to attend annually to see the Mayor sworn in the
outer yard of the castle. In 1461 an Act of Parliament
decreed that none but Englishmen should hold the office
of Governor. The position is now a mere sinecure.
In 1390, in an order for repair, the castle is described as
being " totally destitute and desolate of defence," and
sixteen years later its state does not seem to have been
For the next two years it was kept for nothing by Sir James
Whyte, who then (1408) petitioned the Crown to give him
aid against the threatened attack of O'Donnell and his Scots.
CARRICKFERGUS CASTLE 81
After the order for English custodians, James, Earl of
Douglas, was appointed Governor of Carrickfergus Castle
At the beginning of the next century Clannaboy Niall,
son of Con of Belfast, was prisoner in the castle on account
of a row between his servants and some soldiers (1507).
He exchanged his freedom for sixteen hostages, but no
sooner was he liberated than he returned with his followers
and took the castle and the Mayor, and rescued his
pledges. In 1552 Sorley Boy MacDonnell surprised
Carrickfergus and carried off Walter Floody, the constable
of the castle. In consequence of these disturbances the
Earl of Sussex marched to relieve the town in 1555. Two
years later Hugh O'Neill Oge and some other prisoners in
the castle escaped to join James M'Donnell. In 1559 the
fortress was walled in and repaired. The building seems
to have been much dilapidated in 1567, and upon Sir
Henry Sidney coming north the following year, he had the
keep roofed and restored. When the Earl of Essex
arrived by sea in 1573, he reports that he discharged the
ward of the castle, for it " doth not serve of any use, having
in it very few rooms, and none of those covered, so as I
have no apt place to employ her Majesty's munition and
other store but in wet vaults."
From 1583 to 1598 Carrickfergus was the only town
held by the Queen in the district, and in the latter year the
castle was but poorly provisioned.
General Monroe, with four thousand Scotch auxiliaries,
landed and took the castle in 1642, but four years later
he was surprised by General Monk, who occupied the
stronghold for the Parliament, being made Governor of it
The next year, but small resistance was offered to Lord
Inchiquin, who then held it for the King for a few months,
and it was retaken by Sir Charles Coote, who appointed a
Governor for the Commonwealth.
82 CASTLES OF IRELAND
In 1666, while the Duke of Ormond was at the head of
affairs, so great was the dissatisfaction that the castle was
seized by mutinous soldiers, and a strong force was required
to quell the disturbance.
Eight years later the fortress was ordered to be furnished
with twenty cannon.
The adherents of James II. sustained here a siege for six
days from the troops of the Duke of Schomberg in 1689,
after which they surrendered. It was on the I4th of June
in this year that King William III. landed at Carrickfergus
from the yacht Mary.
In 1711 50 feet of the outer wall fell down, and the
tower was roofed with lead.
The castle was taken by the French Commodore Thurot
with three ships of war in 1760, but his squadron was
captured a few days later by the English fleet.
In 1797 the United Irishmen laid a plot to seize the castle,
which was discovered by one of the garrison turning informer.
The year after the rebellion State prisoners were con-
fined at Carrickfergus, having been sent from Belfast. At
one time the fortress was used as a prison for all Antrim.
In 1814 a small square tower on the south side was
taken down and rebuilt.
The castle is now in the possession of the Crown.
Russell and Prendergast, Preface to State Papers.
M. Haverty, " History of Ireland."
Belfast Naturalists' Field Club Guide.
S. M'Skimin, " History of Carrickfergus."
Calendar of Patent Rolls.
Sweetman, Calendar of Documents.
" Notes on a Plan of Carrickfergus."
J. Bell, " Origin of the Name of Carrickfergus " (Ulstei
Journal of Archctology).
"The court of Carriole is a court well fortified,
A court to which numbers of the noble resort,
A court noted for politeness a court replete with pleasures,
A court thronged with heroes,
A court without torchlight, yet a court illumed ;
A court of the light of wax tapers !
A plentiful mansion so artistically stuccoed
With sun-lit gables and embroidery-covered \vulls."
Translated from Irish by J. O'D.XLY.
NINETEEN miles south-by-west of Kilkenny, in the
Barony of East Iffa and Offa, County Tipperary, stands
the old town of Carrick on the left bank of the Suir. The
name Carrick is derived from a rock in the Suir at the
point where the town is built. The castle was erected by
Edmond le Bottiller in 1309, he being created Earl of
Carrick six years later. Upon his son receiving the title
of Earl of Ormond the old title fell into disuse.
The present remains consist of two great towers of the
Plantagenet castle, rising behind the Tudor mansion which
was erected by Thomas, loth Earl of Ormond, in the
reign of Elizabeth. Although not now inhabited it is
preserved from further decay.
The two quadrangular towers of the older fortress stand
on the river bank, and are separated by a courtyard which
was entered on the north by an arched gateway from the
river front. In one of these towers is situated the chapel,
which is connected with the banqueting hall by a narrow
passage. A strong light from a double window falls upon
86 CASTLES OF IRELAND
the altar, round which is the remains of a carved stone
canopy supported by the figures of angels.
The Tudor house which connects the older buildings is
a many-gabled mansion, and said by O'Donovan to be the
most perfect specimen of that period's architecture in
The ceiling of the Great Hall is a beautiful example of
stucco work. It is divided by richly-moulded ribs enclosing
Tudor emblems, and arms and mottoes relating to the
Ormond family. This apartment is 63 feet in length by
1 5 feet in breadth, and is lighted by mullioned windows, that
on the north side being large and deeply recessed. It also
contains several handsome chimney-pieces.
The walls were richly hung with tapestry, which was
removed at the beginning of the nineteenth century, some
of it being transferred to Kilkenny Castle.
Little is known of the history of the early feudal fortress.
Several charters granted by the Ormonds as Lords Palatine
of Tipperary are dated from Carrick, showing that the
family were occasionally in residence.
There is a tradition that Anne Boleyn was born in the
castle. Thomas, Earl of Carrick and Ormond, who died in
I5i5,had two daughters, one of whom married Sir William
Boleyn, a London merchant, and she was grandmother to
the future Queen. History is uncertain where Anne
Boleyn was born, as several places are mentioned ; it is,
therefore, not impossible that at Carrick Elizabeth's mother
first saw the light. Henry VIII. created Anne's father
Earl of Ormond and Wiltshire, but the former title after-
wards reverted to the Butlers.
In 1571 Perrott visited Carrick Castle during his cam-
paign in Munster, and it was plundered by the seneschal
in the Desmond rebellion of 1582.
In the time of Thomas, loth Earl of Ormond, it became
the chief residence of the family. Thomas Dubh, or the
Black Earl, was the favourite of Queen Elizabeth, who
CARRICK-ON-SUIR CASTLE 87
used to call him her " black husband," to the annoyance
of his rival the Earl of Leicester. He was a great states-
man and chivalrous nobleman, and enjoyed the full
confidence of his Sovereign during her long reign.
In the latter years of his life he lived almost entirely at
Carrick. A glimpse of his loyal love for England is given
by Sir John Davys in the following observations of his on
a journey in Munster in 1606 :
"And because I was to pass by the Carricke, a house of
my Lord of Ormond, where his lordship hath lain ever
since his last weakness, I went thither to visit his lordship
and to rest there upon Easter Day ; but because the feast
of St. George fell out in the Easter holidays, I was not
suffered in any wise to depart until I had seen him do
honour to that day. I found the Earl in his bed, for he
\vas weaker at this time than he had been for many months
before ; so that upon the day of St. George he was not
able to sit up, but had his robes laid upon his bed, as the
manner is. From thence I returned to Dublin at the end
of Easter week."
Towards the end of his life, Earl Thomas was quite
blind, and a quaint old MS., discovered at Brussels in
1822, gives a graphic account of a prophecy supposed to
have been delivered by him at a Christmas family gathering
in Carrick Castle shortly before his death, which took
place in 1614.
Among those present at the feast were Sir Walter Butler,
of Kilcash, brother to the Earl, and also his son and grand-
son, James. The latter was only four years old, and there
being no room at the table, he was let play about, and
" being a sprightly boy, entertained himself with a whipping
of his gigg " (a kind of top) behind his great-uncle's chair.
Black Thomas asked what the noise was, and being told,
he took the child (afterwards the great Duke of Ormond)
between his knees and said :
" My family shall be much oppressed and brought very
88 CASTLES OF IRELAND
low ; but by this boy it shall be restored again, and in his
time be in greater splendour than ever it has been."
Viscount Tullogh, who was the Earl's son-in-law and
heir, pushed back his chair angrily from the table, and
again the blind Earl asked who made the noise. Upon
hearing, he said
" Ah ! he is a flower that will soon fade."
Shortly afterwards the Viscount died without children,
and later events proved the strange truth of the prophecy.
A long law suit, manipulated for political purposes, im-
poverished the earldom, but it was brought to a satisfactory
termination by James Butler of Kilcash marrying Lady
Elizabeth Preston, the other claimant to the estates through
her mother's rights.
The young couple began their married life at Carrick,
where Walter, Earl of Ormond, joined them, and died in
the castle in 1632.
When civil war broke out in 1646, James, then Marquis
of Ormond, was appointed Chief Governor and hastened
from France. He landed at Cork, and proceeded to
Carrick. Here a deputation from the Confederate Assem-
bly of Kilkenny waited on him.
Three years later Cromwell's troops, under Colonel
Reynolds, took the town of Carrick, and about a hundred
of the garrison fled to the castle, but surrendered the
following day. It was well provisioned with stores, and
Cromwell, it is said, intended to winter there. Ormond,
hearing of its capture, despatched Lord Inchiquin to re-
take it. He was, however, repulsed with great loss.
In the time of the Commonwealth Carrick Castle, with
its demesne, deer park, and 16,000 acres, were granted to
Sir John Reynolds, brother-in-law to Lord Henry Crom-
well. Upon the Restoration it reverted to its former
owner, who was created Duke of Ormond. He spent
much time at Carrick, and did a great deal to improve the
trade of the town.
CARRICK-ON-SUIR CASTLE 89
In 1816 Mr. Wogan was the tenant of the castle, and he
carried out some restoration. After he left the place was
dismantled, and for many years was allowed to go entirely
to decay. It is now, however, better preserved.
In 1876, when the present Marquis married Lady
Elizabeth Grosvenor, daughter of the Duke of West-
minster, a great feast for the Ormond tenantry was held
in the castle.
The fairy " Leather Apron " is said formerly to have
haunted the kitchen department and chastised servants
who did not do their work.
A local legend foretells the fall of the fortress upon the
wisest man. An underground passage is said to connect
the building with Edenderry Castle.
Mason, " Parochial Survey of Ireland."
Murphy, " Cromwell in Ireland."
Bagwell, " Ireland Under the Tudors."
In 'Journal of Kilkenny Archaeological Society, " Panegyric on Thomas
Butler, loth Earl of Ormond." Graves, "Ancient Tapestry
of Kilkenny Castle." Graves, "Anonymous account of the
early life and marriage of James, ist Duke of Ormond."
In Journal of IVatciford and Soutli-Eusl of Ireland Arc/urological
Society, Hurley, "Was Anna Boleyn born in the Castle of
Carrick-on-Suir ? "
In Clonincl Chronicle, " Carrick-on-Suir and its Ancient Castle."
" A sort of strength, a strong and stately hold
It was at first, though now it is full old.
On rock alone full farrc from other mount
It stands, which shews it was of great account."
Tills fortress, sometimes called Carrickaquicy, is situated
five miles west-south-west of Limerick City, in the same
county, in the barony of Pubble Brien. It stands on
an abrupt basaltic rock which has forced itself through the
limestone, and is surrounded by low marshy ground called
Corkass land which stretches away to the Shannon.
O'Donovan states that the name signifies " rock of the
O'Connolls," but it is more popularly believed to mean
" rock of the candle," and several versions of the following
legend are related to account for the designation :
The site of the castle was formerly supposed to be
inhabited by a hag of gigantic form called Grana, and
every evening she lighted a candle in her habitation, which
from its elevated position was visible for miles round, and
every one who saw its light died before morning.
The great Finn hearing of this scourge ordered a man
called Ryan to go and extinguish the light, and presented
him with a charmed cap to accomplish the mission. This
covered his eyes until he had scaled the rock, seized the
candle, and thrown it into the Shannon.
The witch in a fury was about to grasp him when he
took a jump of two miles westward, and she was only able
CARRIGOGUNNEL CASTLE 93
to vent her rage by hurling a rock after him, which is still
pointed out with the marks of her ringers on it to indicate
the " Hag's Throw."
The castle ruins comprise one or two towers and part of
the ramparts. It was finally destroyed by gunpowder,
and huge masses of masonry lie about in all directions,
indicating its once extensive proportions.
A great ash-tree adorns the centre of the pile.
William de Braose had large estates in Ireland when
he was driven into exile in 1210, his wife and son starved
to death, and his Castle of Carrigogunnel granted to
Donogh Cairbreach O'Brien for a yearly rent of 60 marks.
This O'Brien had done homage to King John at Water-
ford, but he seems to have been shortly afterwards deprived
of his land.
In 1535 Lord Leonard Grey marched to Limerick and
Mathew O'Brien surrendered him the Castle of Carrigo-
gunnel on condition it should only be garrisoned by
Englishmen. It was said at this time to have been in
undisturbed possession of the O'Briens for over two
The Deputy garrisoned it under the command of George
Woodward, " an honest and a hardy man."
In the meantime the fortress was given by indenture to
Donough O'Brien to hold for the King. He was son-in-
law to the Earl of Ossory, and had long been fawning on
the Government with offers to besiege the castle for them,
if provided with a hundred men and a piece of ordnance.
The governor of the castle, no doubt regarding this
arrangement as a violation of the conditions on which the
castle had been obtained, handed it back to its former
owner, Mathew O'Brien, which the State Papers describe
as losing it " by treachery."
This was in 1536, and the same year Lord Butler
appeared before it to regain it for his relative, Donough
94 CASTLES OF IRELAND
It was garrisoned partly by followers of Desmond and
partly by those of Mathew O'Brien.
A messenger was sent to them offering them their lives,
but otherwise no quarter. They returned no answer, but
imprisoned the bearer. t
A breach was soon made with a battering piece,
and after several attempts, the castle was carried by
The besiegers lost thirty killed and wounded, while
seventeen of the defenders were killed in the attack, and
forty-six were afterwards put to death.
A few of the principal O'Briens were conveyed to
Limerick, tried for high treason, and executed. Large
ransoms were offered for these men but were refused.
The fortress was then committed to Lord Butler, and he
transferred it to Donough O'Brien, who, it is stated,
" became a scourge to the citizens of Limerick."
James of Desmond besieged Carrigogunnel in 1538, and
the following year great complaints were lodged about the
plundering of the neighbouring country by the castle
Towards the close of the year these charges became so
serious that Donough O'Brien was deprived of his
The castle was in the hands of Brien Duff O'Brien,
chieftain of Pobblebrien, in 1590, and is described as being
very strong and " a most dangerous place if the enemy
were seized thereof."
Donough O'Brien is mentioned as of Carrigogunnel in
1607, yet Brien Duff O'Brien surrendered his possessions
and the castle to the Queen and received a patent for the
same. He was knighted, and died in 1615.
Daniel O'Brien forfeited the castle and lands for taking
part in the rebellion of 1641. Charles II. granted Carri-
gogunnel and four plowlands to Michael Boyle, Lord
Archbishop of Dublin.
CARRIGOGUNNEL CASTLK 95
In Thomas Dineley's Journal he states that it belonged
to His Royal Highness, and was at the time rented by the
Primate and Chancellor of Ireland.
Archdale says that it at one time belonged to the
In 1691, during the second siege of Limerick, after the
battle of Aughrim, it was garrisoned by a Jacobite ward of
a hundred and fifty men. Baron Ginle sent a strong
party and four guns, under the command of Major-General
Scravemore, to summon the castle, which was relinquished
without a blow. An historian of the time, commenting
upon this, says : " Which seems to have been rather from
want of instructions what to do than courage to defend it ;
for, to give the Irish their due, they can defend stone walls
The garrison were marched as prisoners of war to
Clonmel, and the following month both the Castle of
Carrigogunnel and Castle Connell were blown up. Dean
Story received 160 to purchase gunpowder for their
During the Whiteboy disturbances frequent meetings
were held amid the ruins.
Mr. and Mrs. Hall relate at length a sad tradition about
the daughter of a Palatine who was in love with one of the
conspirators, and whose father, having tracked her to the
ruins, was only saved from being put to death by her
lover, whom she shortly afterwards married against her
Upon returning to bid farewell to them before going
into exile with her husband, who was obliged to fly for
his life, her father detained her. Her husband was unable
to come openly to the house, and so she never saw him
again, but gradually pined away, and died under the ash-
tree growing among the castle ruins, where she used to
meet him before their marriage. Since then her ghost
is said to frequent the spot after nightfall.
96 CASTLES OF IRELAND
J. Frost, " The County of Clare."
Croker, " Researches in the South of Ireland."
Croker, " Fairy Legends."
Ferrar, " History of Limerick."
Lenihan, " History of Limerick."
Bagwell, " Ireland under the Tudors."
Hall, " Ireland."
Shirley (with note by O'Brien), " Extracts from the Journal of
Thomas Dineley," in Journal of Kilkenny Archaeological Society.
" \Vhcrc Castle Bernard sees with glad surprise,
At every wish successive beauties rise."
THE former name for this stronghold was Castle Mahon.
It is situated on the River Bandon not far from the town.
The present castle is said to occupy the site of the former
royal rath of the O'Mahonys, Kings of Munster. It was
called Rathleann, and the great Saint Fin Barr was born
there. This was much anterior to the English invasion,
although an inquisition held in 1584 states that the
O'Mahonys came from Carbery in 1460, and seized the
Crown lands, which had been forfeited by 'the Barry Oges
They were, however, only returning to the country over
which they had formerly ruled. The fortress is supposed
to have been built by an O'Mahony.
Francis Bernard, who succeeded to the estate in 1660,
threw down the ancient bawn walls, and enlarged the
windows. His son, Judge Bernard, rebuilt the castle after
it came into his possession in 1690.
A new brick front was added on the river side, the bricks
having been made in the neighbourhood.
He was succeeded by his son Francis (usually known as
Squire Bernard) in 1731, who added an eastern front to
the fortress, and planted the great beech avenue. Smith,
who collected his information in 1749, describes the castle
98 CASTLES OF IRELAND
as having two regular fronts of brick, with Corinthian
pilasters and coignes and beltings of Portland stone.
In 1788 Francis Bernard, afterwards the ist Earl of
Bandon, pulled down the two fronts which had been' added
by his predecessors, and connected the old castle by a
corridor (some 90 feet in length) with a mansion he
erected a little to the east of the stronghold. This new
part has large rooms, the library being a very handsome
This forms the present beautiful country seat of the
Earl of Bandon. It is situated in a park about four miles
in circumference, through which the Bandon River flows.
The O'Mahonys were not a powerful sept : their regular
field force only numbered twenty-six horse, no gallow-
glasses, and a hundred and twenty kern.
In 1575 the O'Mahony paid his respects to Sir Henry
Sidney during his visit to Cork, of whom Sir Henry writes
that he was "a man of small force although a proper
Conoher O'Mahony, of Castle Mahon, threw in his lot
with the Earl of Desmond during his rebellion, in which
rising he was killed at the age of twenty-three.
In 1587, an inquisition held at Cork found that Conohor
O'Mahownye, late of Castle Mahown, entered into rebellion
with Gerald, late Earl of Desmond, and was slain therein
and that he was seized of Castle Mahowne and of the
barony or cantred of Kineallineaky.
The following year the castle and lands were conferred
by patent on Phane Beecher, son of Alderman Henry
Beecher, of London.
Mr. William Weever, in his "discourse" on the Munster
rebellion of 1 598, records that Mr. Beecher deserted Castle
Mahon during the rising.
In 1611 it seems the grant to Phane Beecher was
The first Bernard to settle in Ireland during Elizabeth's
CASTLK BARXARD 99
reign had a son Francis, who was lord of the manor of
Castle Mahon, where he lived before the rebellion in 1641.
He had one son, Francis, who was in possession of the
castle in 1690 when Bandon was surprised and taken by
Colonel M'Carthy's men. After the town had fallen into
their hands they proceeded to Castle Mahon and de-
manded the fortress and its stores to be given up to King
James, and the garrison to surrender as prisoners.
Mr. Bernard had served many years with the Bandon
Militia, and had been rewarded with a grant of land from
Cromwell for military service, so that he was not likely to
surrender without a struggle when the trumpeter appeared
on the esplanade in front of the castle.
He had gathered his retainers and the neighbouring
farmers into the stronghold, and flew the red flag from
King John's Tower.
Having received a negative to their demand, the
besiegers attempted to batter in the great gate, but a
discharge of musketry killing some of their number they
desisted. They shook the windows and doors to try and
effect an entrance.
A line of sentries were posted in front of the castle with
orders to shoot any one who appeared at the windows, but
the deadly fire of the besieged killed them nearly all.
Seeing that their numbers were rapidly thinning they
sought cover from the out-houses in the rear, and from
there they carried on an ineffectual fusilade for some time.
Finding, however, this was of no avail they retreated to
the river, crossing by the ford. A pike blade and some
swords of this date were recently found in a pond which
lay in their route.
The brave garrison had many killed and wounded, Mr.
Bernard being among those who lost their lives.
The dead Irish were collected and covered with straw
in a stable until the next day, when they were buried in a
disused graveyard at Killountain.
ioo CAStLES OF IRELAND
Judge Bernard succeeded his father, having been born"
in the castle in 1663. He changed the name from Castle
Marion to Castle Barnard.
His son, " Squire Bernard," did much for the neighbour-
hood until a dispute with the townspeople about trees
caused him to go and live in England.
In 1/60 a sad accident took place which led to the
death of little Robert Bernard, one of the sons of the
house. He had climbed to the top of King John's Tower,
and as the bats and swallows flew in and out he tried to
strike them with his battledore, but overbalancing, he
stepped back to recover himself and fell through the trap-
door which gives egress to the summit. He died of the
Francis Bernard was created Earl of Bandon in 1800,
and Castle Barnard is still the principal residence of the
Earls of Bandon.
G. Bennett, " History of Bandon."
C. Smith, " County and City of Cork."
Calendar of State Papers.
Calendar of Carew MSS.
LOUD CARKW'S demesne of about a thousand acres is
situated in the to\vnland of Ballyboro, six miles west-
south-west of Knniscorthy, and is bisected by the River
Boro. The ancient name for this stream was Bel-atha-
Borumha, and was derived from the Borumha, or cow
tribute, which the Kings of Leinster had to pay to the
High Kings of Ireland.
To the south-east of Castle Boro mansion, on the other
side of the river, is the ivy-clad ruin, formerly known as
Ballyboro Castle. It now stands in the farmyard, and is
42 feet long by 27 feet wide when measured from the
outside. Two gables are still to be seen, and the windows
are built of brick.
Local tradition states that it was formerly the residence
of Brien Boroimhe, but the site is all that could possibly
have belonged to a dwelling of his.
About the year 1628 Robert Carew, younger son of
Carew of Haccombe in Devonshire, obtained through his
kinsman, Sir George Carew, afterwards Earl of Totnes, a
grant of lands in the County Wexford, which had formerly
belonged to the Desmonds. Charles II. confirmed the grant
in 1663 to his son. This Carew is generally supposed
to have built the now ruined castle, which was occupied
by the family until near the close of the eighteenth
century. By others, however, the date of architecture
is considered to be that of the beginning of the seven-
teenth century, and the castle believed to have been the
102 CASTLES OF IRELAND
residence of " James Hoar of Bellaborow, constable of the
Barony of Bantry " in 1608, who is mentioned thus in the
When James II. was fleeing to Duncannon, after the
battle of the Boyne, he stopped to water and rest his
horses at the ford of Aughnacopple, near the castle. The
Carew of that time sent provisions to the fugitives, and the
pair of gold sleeve links given by the fallen monarch as a
mark of his gratitude are still preserved as an heirloom
at Castle Boro. There is some doubt as to whether they
were presented at the river bank or sent later from Dun-
Towards the close of the eighteenth century the head
of the family wished to have a more modern house than
the old fortress, but not deeming it worth while to go to
the expense unless he had a son to succeed him, he delayed
the commencement of the work until the very day when
his son and heir was born.
The insurgents of 1798 attacked the residence, and a
picture hangs in the hall of Castle Boro which has holes in
it that were made by the rebels' pikes.
Mr. Robert Carew was raised to the peerage in 1834,
and in 1840, during the absence of the family, the newly-
erected house was burned down, the fire having originated
in a chimney. The west wing containing the library was
the only portion saved.
Building operations were at once commenced under the
direction of Mr. Robertson. The present mansion is in
Classic style, having a centre block four storeys in height
with wings at either side of a storey less. The drawing-
rooms are especially handsome apartments, and are being
decorated by the present Lady Carew with embroidered
panels of Early English design.
In the gardens are a number of trees which have been
planted by distinguished visitors, amongst whom were the
late Duke of Clarence, the present Prince of Wales, the
CASTLE BORO 103
Duke of Aosta, the Count of Turin, the Earl of Halsbury
and the late Sir H. M. Stanley.
A very handsome granite gateway gives access to the
The present Lord Carew is the 3rd Baron.
\V. Flood, " History of Enniscortliy.''
MS. Ordnance Survey of Ireland.
Joyce, "Irish Place Names,"
Tins stronghold is situated in a wild romantic district
among the mountains, to the north of the village of
Drimoleague in the eastern division of West Carbery,
about seven miles east of Bantry, County Cork.
Above it rises the hill of Mulraugh-Nesha. The country
round is destitute of trees, and from its elevated position
the castle is visible from a wide area.
The fortress consists of a tall, square keep with crene-
lated battlements and defences projecting from the angles.
It is built on a rock, the rough surface of which forms the
floor of the lower room in the castle.
There seems to have been no attempt to make the
ground even, as great indentations, nearly two feet in
depth, extend the whole length of the apartment.
The first floor is supported by a vault, and this state
apartment measures about 26 feet by 20. The windows
and loops are exceedingly small, the former being sur-
rounded by label mouldings well cut in the dark free-
A spiral stair leads to the hall above the vault, and this
is open to the heavens, but the high-pitched gables of the
roof still remain. Great cracks in the masonry run down
the centre and through the south-west angle.
It belongs to the earliest type of castle which succeeded
CASTLE DONOVAN 105
the p2el tower. The outworks, of which little remain but
the foundations, are situated close to the keep.
The O'Donovans were descended from a long line of
Munster kings. Cahill, the son of Donovan, was killed in
1254, and from him the district round the stronghold took
its name, and also the clan of which he was chief.
It is likely that he erected the fortress.
James I. granted the castle (then called Sowagh) to
Donell O'Donovan, of Castle Donovan, Gent., and with it
a large tract of country, part of which was created the
manor of Castle Donovan, with 500 acres of.demesne.
Donell O'Donovan died in 1639, and his son forfeited
the estate in the rebellion of 1641.
Tradition states that the castle was reduced by Ireton
during the Parliamentary wars.
Charles II. bestowed the lands of Castle Donovan by
letters patent on Lieutenant Nathaniel Evanson in 1679.
There is a legend regarding a mysterious drip of water
which apparently comes from the upper masonry of the
106 CASTLES OF IRELAND
tower, and which it is said will continue as long as there
is an heir to the chieftainship of O'Donovan.
J. Windele, " Notices of City of Cork."
" Rides through the County Cork " (Dublin Penny Journal), 1828.
CASTLE KEVIN, COUNTY CORK
THIS name was formerly written Castle Kiffin, and the
fortress is situated between Doneraile and the Blackwater
in the County Cork.
The castle has been much altered and modernised since
its first erection. It contains thirty-two rooms, though
some of them are exceedingly small. There are 365
windows, one, therefore, for every day in the year. The
hall of black and white marble is L shaped and much worn
by age. From this a very handsome oak staircase leads
to the first landing, which is lighted by a beautiful old
stained-glass window upon which the Thornhill arms arc
During repairs in 1810 a number of skeletons were
discovered under the steps. They were supposed to be
those of soldiers, and beside one a gold piece of James II.
and a number of copper coins of various elates were found.
These arc now in the possession of Colonel Badham-
During a siege, of which the fortress stood man)-, the
water supply was a serious inconvenience. Not only was
the well some distance from the castle, but it was apt to
run dry when largely drawn upon. It is situated in the
limestone rock at a great depth, and when being cleaned
in 1825 the key of the portcullis was found at the bottom
and carefully preserved by E. Badham-Thornhill, who was
The castle originally belonged to the O'Keeffs, from
loS CASTLES OF IRELAND
which, no doubt, the name is derived. Their territory
being seized, was given to the Anglo-Norman family of
de Rupe, or Roche, and in 1583 David and Maurice Fitz
John Roch are mentioned as of Castlekevin.
Cromwell's troops besieged and took the castle for the
Commonwealth, tradition stating that the soldiers placed
the late owner's head on a lance over the " Bell Gate," near
the present stables.
The castle was then granted to Sir Richard Thornhill,
who also possessed considerable property in the neighbour-
hood by purchase, so that the estate was about 10,000
acres in extent in the counties of Cork and Limerick.
The Thornhills occupied the castle until 1853, when it
was sold in the Encumbered Estates Court, and the
building was purchased by Mr. E. Reeves.
C. Smith, " County and City of Cork."
Fiants of Elizabeth.
Colonel Badham-Thornhill MS.
CASTLE KEVIN, COUNTY WICKLOW
" The halls where mirth and minstrelsy
Than Fertirc's winds rose louder,
Were flung in masses lonely,
And black with English powder."
IN 1216 King Henry III. granted the manor of Swords
with increased privileges to Henry de Loundres, Arch-
bishop of Dublin, on condition that he should build and
maintain a castle on his manor of Castle Kevin. Nearly
two centuries later, Swords was seized by the Commis-
sioner of Forfeitures on the plea that this had not been
done, but it was afterwards returned to the Archbishop of
the time as having been unjustly taken.
The fortress was intended for protection in this direction
against the invasions of the O'Byrnes and O'Tooles. The
site was some three and a half miles north-east of Glenda-
lough, the ancient cathedral city of that diocese. Its
natural defences were the bog, on the edge of which it
stood, and thick woods that stretched almost from Dublin
to Glendalough. Quite close to it ran a stream, which
joined the Avonmore about a quarter of a mile lower
down, near the present village of Annamoe.
It appears to have been a square building, flanked by
towers at each corner. The foundations, which still
remain, measure some 120 feet each way. They are
elevated about 2.0 feet, and are now covered with grass.
The castle was built of rubble stone and excellent
ltd CASTLES OF IRELAND
mortar, which is shown by the huge blocks of the walls
which still lie round the foundations.
The Archbishops held courts and exercised jurisdiction
here through their officers, and had their own gallows.
In 1277-78 the Treasurer's account for the year contains
60 to John de Saunford for the custody of the new castle
of Mackinegan and Castle Keyvin. The stronghold was
often used by the Archbishops as a hunting-lodge, the
woods around being well stocked with deer. It was also
At the beginning of the next century (1308) the Viceroy
Wogan marched against the O'Tooles, but was defeated
with the loss of several knights. Castle Kevin was
captured and the garrison killed, while the towns near
were sacked and plundered.
Later Piers de Gaveston successfully subdued the rising,
and made a thanksgiving offering at the Church of St.
Kevin, Glendalough. The following year he built New
Castle in the O'Byrnes' country and repaired Castle Kevin,
at the same time cutting a pass through the woods, from it
Thirty years later Alexander de Bickner received royal
orders to repair his fortifications at Castle Kevin, so that
at this time it was still connected with the See of Dublin,
but it subsequently passed into royal keeping.
It appears that Henry VIII. by letters patent "made
grants to Arte O'Toole and heirs the manor of Castle
Kevin and the Farrtree " (hence Vartry) " on conditions
they used the English habit, language, education, hostings,
aidirtgs, and the like, and that he should keep Castle Kevin
in repair as a bulwark against the rebels."
Phelim O'Toole was the representative of the family in
1591 when Hugh Roe O'Donnell escaped from one of the
gate towers of Dublin Castle, where he had been confined
as a hostage for over three years.
O'Toole having visited him in prison, as a friend, during
CAStLK KKVIN, COUNTY WICKLOW itt
this time, he naturally thought he was safe in seeking
shelter at Castle Kevin.
Phelim's loyalty was not, however, above suspicion, and
he was divided between his wish to help the young fugitive
and fear for his own head. In this difficulty a woman's
wit apparently solved the problem. His sister Rose, wife
to the great O'Byrne of Ballinacor, was at Castle Kevin at
the time, and she advised him to send a slow messenger to
Dublin advising the Lord Deputy of O'Donnell's arrival,
and a fast messenger to her husband in Glenmalure (who
was in a state of open rebellion), telling him to come and
carry off Hugh before the Government officials arrived.
Phelim followed the advice given, but the " wine-dark "
Avonmore becoming flooded the party of rescuers, at once
despatched by O'Byrne, could not cross the river, and the
King's men arrived first upon the scene. Whereupon
Hugh O'Donnell was escorted back to Dublin, and was
confined in the Wardrobe Tower in irons, from which,
however, he escaped the following year.
Captain Charles Montague, writing to the Lord Deputy
in 1596, states that Feagh M'Hugh O'Byrne had
threatened to besiege the castle with three hundred men,
and that he had provisioned it for a month. The same year
a ward was placed in it during the rebellion, while in
1599 a commander was appointed to the forts of Rath-
drome, Castlekeavyn, and Wicklowe, at ten shillings a day.
No doubt the O'Tooles were implicated in the rebellion
referred to, for in 1609 we find J nn Wakeman, who had
received the confiscated estate of the O'Tooles, selling
Castle Kevin back to Luke (or Feogh) O'Toole. In the
deed recording the transaction it is remarked that the
castle for some years past " hath been waste and in
An inquisition of 1636 found that the son of Arte
O'Toole, to whom the lands were first granted, had gone
into rebellion and died, and that his son Feogh O'Toole
ti2 CASTLES OF IRELAND
who represented the family at the time of the inquiry, had
bought back Castle Kevin from the man to whom it had
been granted after the confiscation of the OToole property.
Castle Kevin had at this time been uncovered for thirty
years, and this was deemed sufficient for forfeiture, as it had
been granted on condition that it should be kept in repair.
Accordingly in July of the same year an ordinance was
issued by the King taking possession. The castle and
lands were then granted to Sir John Coke, Knight,
Secretary of State. Dr. Alane Cooke, writing to him from
Dublin in August describing his new property, says :
" Castle Kevin, the town where the castle doth stand ; this
hath a goodly wood, but no great timber and very fine
young oaks ; " and again : " Castle Kevin is the fittest
place to build the manor, because of the strength. The
bawn is very good, very near 20 feet high. All the castle
is down and the bounds are very nearly 50 yards square, a
fine small river running at the foot of the castle."
The grant of land consisted of 15,441 acres of all sorts,
English measure, 12 miles from Dublin, with a castle
called Kevin, and a fine river full of salmon and trout.
It does not appear, however, that Luke O'Toole was
easily dislodged, and when Oliver Cromwell left Dublin to
march to Wexford in 1649 he proved a source of constant
annoyance to the troops. At this time he was encamped
at Glenmalure with his four sons, one of whom managed
to seize Cromwell's favourite steed. Its owner offered
,100 to Luke for its return, "but for gold or silver he
would not give him back, but preferred to keep him as a
It is said that in revenge for this Cromwell ordered his
cannon to level Castle Kevin. Local tradition supports
this statement by pointing out a furze-covered rath from
which the castle is supposed to have been shelled by
Ludlow, while the blocks of adhering masonry round the
foundations are unlike the crumbling of age alone.
CASTLE KKVIX, COUNTY \VICKLO\V 113
Against this it is remarked that Castle Kevin does not
appear in the list of Leinster castles reduced by Cromwell.
This, however, might be accounted for from the fact that
(as it appears) only a part of the castle walls were standing
at the time, and that its final destruction had no strategical
value, but was merely private revenge for the theft of a
horse, and so was not recorded.
Luke O'Toole was afterwards captured and executed.
The land upon which the remains of the castle stand is
now in the possession of the Rev. Charles Frizell, who also
owns the modern manor house of Castle Kevin, some
quarter of a mile distant, on a hill above the ancient
D'Alton, *' Archbishops of Dublin."
O'Toole, " Clan of O'Toole."
Murphy, "Cromwell in Ireland."
O'Clery, " Hugh Roe O'Donnell." Introduction by Murphy.
Gilbert, " History of the Viceroys."
Stokes, "Anglo-Norman Church."
Reeves, Pamphlet on Swords.
Rev. W. Stokes, Pamphlet on Derrylossory.
BENDUFF, signifying the black peak or gable, was the
former name of this fortress, which was built on a rock in
the centre of a small valley about a mile north-west of
Ross, in East Carbery, Co. Cork.
The present ruins consist of the castle and a more
modern dwelling-house, which was added to the back of the
fortress and communicated with it by the ancient doorway
of the keep, about 12 feet from the ground, and which
gave access to the first landing of the more modern stair-
case. The castle had three arches, the walls being 1 1 feet
thick, and containing passages and recesses. A stone stair
led to the summit, which originally was reached at about
70 feet from the ground.
When in possession of the Morris family the old covering
was replaced by a slated roof, the material for which was,
no doubt, procured at the neighbouring slate quarry.
The situation is so enclosed by the surrounding hills
that figs grew plentifully here in former days. The
pleasure grounds were at one time laid out in the Dutch
style ; yew, beech, and laurel grew to great perfection, and
in a grove of the latter a rookery was established. The
remains of a deer-park wall are still to be seen.
The fortress is generally supposed to have been erected
by the O'Donovans, but it is also ascribed to the Lady
Catherine Fitzgerald, daughter of Thomas, 8th Earl of
Desmond, and sister-in-law to the long-lived Countess.
This would place its building at the later end of the
CASTLE SALEM 115
fifteenth century. There are various legends told about
" the black lady " in connection with Benduff, and they
may refer to the above Geraldine.
Later the castle belonged to the M'Carthys, and at the
time of the Commonwealth confiscation it was in the
possession of one Elorence M'Carty.
The estate was granted to Major Apollo Morris, an
officer in Cromwell's army, during the seventeenth century,
and upon the restoration of Charles II. he retained his
lands through the interest of the King's secretary, to
whom he was related.
The grant was preserved in the castle until the middle
of the nineteenth century, when Mr. William Morris sent
it to a Cork bookseller for publication, and it was lost
through the failure of the firm.
Major Morris was succeeded by William Morris, who
was an intimate friend of the great William Penn.
On the right-hand side of the avenue is an old Quaker
burial-ground, which was established by him, and to which
" Friends' " funerals came from all parts of Cork. He was
himself interred there, but against all the rules of the order
a tomb was erected to his memory, which may still be seen,
and after that the Quakers ceased to bring their dead to
Benduff for interment.
The property passed from the possession of the Morris
family into that of the Fitzgibbons.
D. Donovan, "Sketches in Carbery."
Smith, " County and City of Cork."
Townsend, "Statistical Survey of the County of Cork,"
Book of Survey and Distribution,
THIS fortress is situated between the Shannon and Little
Brosna River, on the banks of the latter, about three miles
south of Banagher, in the King's County. This part of the
country was formerly joined to Gahvay.
Joyce gives the meaning of the name Cloghan as
" stepping stones," but Cooke states that the full appella-
tion is Cloghan-na-geaorach, or "the stony place of the
sheep," Cloghan Hill being still famous for rearing these
When a tennis-court was being made some years back a
number of human bones and cannon shot were found,
while inside the castle a hand was discovered in the wall
covered by the plaster.
The castle is supposed to have been built in the reign of
King John and to be one of the oldest inhabited castles in
In 1249 we have a mention of " MacCoghlan of the
castles " of which Cloghan was one, but it subsequently
passed to the O'Maddens. The fortress was usually called
" Cloghan O'Madden," but on Sir William Petty's map it
is marked " Poghan."
It was destroyed in 1548 for fear it might fall into the
hands of the English, but it must have been afterwards
restored, as in 1595 Sir William Russell, Lord Deputy, laid
siege to it. A quaint account pf the taking of the castle is
given in a journal of the time which is, no doubt, accurate
in the main.
CLOGHAN CASTLE 117
It appears O'Madden was absent " in rebellion," but he
had garrisoned the castle with his chief men.
The Lord Deputy arrived on Thursday, iith of March,
and upon his approach the garrison set alight three of their
houses near the castle, and opened fire on the troops,
wounding two soldiers and a boy.
When surrender was demanded they replied to Captain
Lea that even if every soldier was a Deputy they would
Captain Izod was detailed to see none of them escaped
by the bog. Sir William visited the watch at midnight,
and hearing there were women in the castle sent the
garrison word that he would begin the attack next morn-
ing with fire and sword, and told them to send the women
away, but they refused.
In the morning one of the soldiers threw a fire brand on
the thatched roof of the castle, which set it alight, and at
the same time a bonfire was lighted at the door, which
smothered many of the inmates. A breach was soon made
in the walls, and those who had not been suffocated were
hurled over the battlements.
Forty-six persons were killed, two women and a boy
being alone saved by the Deputy's command. Most of the
garrison were O'Maddens, but a Captain M'Coleghan and
his two sons were also amongst the slain.
Some accounts give the number executed as 140.
The O'Madden's territory was forfeited after the rebel-
lion of 1641, and in 1683 Cloghan was granted to Garrett
Moore, who claimed to be descended from Rory Oge
O'Moore, Chief of Leix.
His almanac, or diary, was found in the castle, dated
1699. It contains entries of lead got for repairing the
fortress. It also records methods of making expanding
bullets and noiseless powder, as well as other strange infor-
After the battle of Aughrim troops from Birr took
ii8 CASTLES OF IRELAND
possession of the castle, and it was garrisoned under the
command of Lieutenant Archibald Armstrong.
In the middle of last century it was purchased by
Dr. Graves, and is at present in the possession of his
descendant, Robert Kennedy Crogan Graves, Esq.
Donovan, " Annals of the Four Masters."
Cooke, " History of Birr."
J. Wright, "King's County Directory."
Joyce, " Irish Names of Places."
Proceedings of Kilkenny Archaeological Society.
THIS castle is situated in the parish of Galloon, Barony of
Coole, County Fermanagh. It stands on the east bank of
Lough Erne, about sixteen miles from Enniskillen.
The name Crom,orCrum, signifies "sloping" or "crooked."
The remains of the chief walls form a square of about
50 feet, which does not coincide with the measurements
given in several inquisitions. Some of the stones have
evidently been carried off for building purposes since the
building was burnt in 1/64.
The position of the castle was commanded by wooded
hills, and it is built so near the shore that the waves dash
against it in winter time. It seems to have had no outer
ring of defences, and it is therefore even more wonderful
how it should have been successfully defended in two sieges.
The marks of the cannonading are now covered by a
heavy growth of ivy.
Michael Balfour, laird of Mountwhany in Fifeshire,
began to erect the fortress in 1611, when granted the
manor of Crum, under the plantation scheme of Ulster.
In 1616 he sold the property to Sir Stephen Butler,
and in 1619 Nicholas Pynnar describes Crum as follows :
" Upon this proportion there is a bawne of lime and stone,
being 60 feet square, 12 feet high with two flankers.
Within the bawne there is a house of lime and stone."
The Rev. George Hill states that the castle was built by
Butler and Balfour at great expense, so it is likely to have
been added to after it changed hands.
121 CASTLES OF IRELAND
In 1629 another inquisition describes it as "One bawne
of stone and lime, containing 61 feet every way and 15
feet in height ; and within the same is one castle, or
capital messuage, built in like manner of lime and stone
containing 22 feet each way."
Crum was leased to Dr. James Spottiswood, Bishop of
Clogher, in 1624.
It must for a short time after this have been possessed
by the M'Manuses, who offered it for sale at 100 and
100 cows. Among the State Papers of 1646 is preserved
Sir William Cole's petition to the Commissioners to be
advanced 160, so that he might become the purchaser.
He promises to return the money if unsuccessful, and says
it is the only hold the rebels have in the country and " a
place of good strength." The money appears to have
We find, however, in 1645, that it is mentioned in Bishop
Spottiswood's will, and through his daughter marrying
Colonel Abraham Creichton the leasehold passed to that
It was afterwards converted into a perpetuity, subject to
a small head rent, which was bought out by the Earl of
Erne in 1810 from Brinsley, 4th Earl of Lanesborough, a
descendant of Erancis Butler.
In the struggle for the Crown between James and
William, Crum was twice unsuccessfully besieged.
It was a place of considerable importance, as it com-
manded the waterway between Enniskillen and Belturbet.
The first attempt was made in March, 1689.
Colonel Abraham Creichton, although an old man, had
fortified the castle and garrisoned it with his tenants and
retainers. Lord Gaimoy arrived at Belturbet with a con-
siderable force belonging to King James's army, but found
the roads so boggy as to be impassable for cannon. He
therefore decided to make some mock guns by which to
frighten the crarrison into submission.
CROM CASTLE 123
They were manufactured out of tin, measured about a
yard long and 8 inches in the bore. They were bound
together with fine cord twisted round them, and the whole
covered with a kind of buckram to represent the colour of
a real cannon.
To this sham artillery sixteen horses were harnessed
and they were brought to Crum with a great show of
difficulty and much apparent urging of the animals.
As soon as they were within ordinary range of the
fortress Lord Galmoy demanded its surrender, and
upon being refused he tried to fire one of his fraudulent
guns with a wooden bullet, but it burst and nearly killed
He then began a systematic siege and sent messengers
to Enniskillen to demand that garrison's surrender too.
The governor of the town at once despatched two
hundred firelocks to relieve the castle of Crum. Some
were sent by water and some by land during the night,
but daylight had arrived before they reached their
The besiegers opposed their landing, but nevertheless
they forced their way into the castle with the loss of only
one boatman, while Lord Galmoy *s party lost several.
A sally was at once made from the fortress, and the
besiegers were driven from their trenches with a loss of
thirty or forty men, and the garrison captured the mock
guns and took two suits of armour and several other
Lord Galmoy then retreated to Belturbet.
Colonel Creichton's son David, then a lad of eighteen,
greatly distinguished himself during the conflict.
Although the castle was unprovided with cannon, great
execution was done by the long fowling-pieces generally
used for wild fowl on the lake.
Lord Galmoy was standing on a hill about an English
mile distant from the castle, with a glass of wine in his
124 CASTLES OF IRELAND
hand, which he was about to drink to the confusion of the
garrison, when a fowler from the fortress shattered the
glass he was raising and killed the man beside him.
At this time a Captain MacGuire was prisoner at Crum,
and Lord Galmoy proposed to Colonel Creichton to
exchange Captain Dixey for him. This was agreed to,
but when MacGuire was sent, Lord Galmoy, instead of
returning Dixey, had him hanged with a cornet named
Captain MacGuire was so disgusted with the treachery
that he returned to Crum and threw up his commission in
Lord Galmoy also enticed Colonel Creichton to a parley,
and would have put him to death, too, had not Lord
Mountcashel rescued the old man and conducted him
safely back to his castle.
The following year Crum was again besieged, and
Colonel Creichton sent an urgent message to Enniskillen
to say that the besiegers had brought cannon with them.
The next day he sent another message saying that
Lieutenant- General MacCarthy had begun to batter the
This was Monday, and Colonel Wolseley returned
answer that they should be relieved on Wednesday, and
in the meantime he despatched orders for reinforcements
A strong detachment set out, therefore, from Ennis-
killen to the castle's relief, but upon their approach the
enemy withdrew to Newtownbutler, where a great engage-
ment was fought that shattered the cause of James II. in
the north of Ireland. The garrison of Crum Castle greatly
distinguished themselves in this engagement.
The David Creichton, who was eighteen at the time of
the siege, finally succeeded his nephew in the estate. He
left an only son, who was created Lord Erne, and it was in
his lifetime that the castle was burnt.
CROM CASTLE 125
A letter from Lord Shannon, dated September i, 1764.
is still in the family's possession, in which he condoles
with his kinsman for the destruction of his castle. " Un-
happy indeed to be consumed by a few accidental sparks
of fire when it had so bravely withstood the firing of 6,000
men so many years ago."
To the south of the fortress along the side of the lake
lay the castle gardens, in the centre of which still grows a
magnificent yew-tree, under which tradition records an
O'Neill and his lady-love parted in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth upon the former being attainted for high treason.
Henry, however, writing in 1739, says it was only
planted about seventy years previously. It is 25 feet in
height, while the trunk is 12 feet in girth. The circum-
ference of the branches is 120 feet.
It was the custom for many years for sportsmen on the
lake to fire a salute when passing the ruined fortress,
which produced a most wonderful echo, as if the shot had
been answered by a volley.
The Earl of Erne, "Crom Castle" in Ulster Journal of Archaeology.
King, " Henry's Upper Lough Erne in 1739."
Latimer, " Actions of the Enniskillen Men."
Joyce, " Irish Names of Places."
Proceedings of Royal Society of Antiquaries.
THIS fortress is situated at the extremity of a small
Donegal bay called Sheephaven, in the Barony of Kil-
macrenan, about a mile east of Creeslough. It was the
chief stronghold of the MacSweenys, and derives its name
from MacSweeny Doe or MacSweeny " of the districts."
The castle is built on a projecting rock, surrounded by
the waters of the inlet upon the north, east, and south,
while on the west its entrance was guarded by drawbridge
and portcullis, as well as a fosse filled with sea-water.
A modern house is attached to the old fortress, which
has a rectangular tower, and a circular donjon used as a
dairy in modern times.
M'Parland; writing in 1802, in his statistical survey,
records that the castle was fortified with a strong tower
by the grandfather of the then MacSweeny of Dunfanaghy.
There seems to be no record of the erection of the
fortress, and different authorities ascribe its building to
various persons. Manus Oge says Doe was erected by
Nachton O'Donnell for one of his seven sons at the same
time that the castles of Burt, Inch, and Ramelton were
built, while M'Parland accredits a lady named Ouinn
with its erection, who married a M'Swine, shortly before
Elizabeth came to the throne.
Dr. Allman believes it dates from about the beginning
of Henry VIII. 's reign, and tradition states that Doe passed
to the MacSweenys in the fifteenth century, when a peace
was concluded between O'Neill and O'Donnell in 1440.
DOK CASTLE 127
Red Hugh O'Donnell lived at Doc Castle with his foster
father, Owen Oge MacSweeny, and it was while in his care
that he was kidnapped at Rathmullen by Sir John Perrott
Sir Hugh MacSwine na Oge, surnamed the Red, was
one of Queen Elizabeth's chief favourites, and a polished
courtier. Very different, however, was the last of the
MacSwines who occupied Doe Castle. This was Sir Miles
MacSweeny of the Club, who was knighted by Queen Eliza-
beth, and about whom tales of great brutality are recorded.
He was called "of the club" from his bludgeoning the
better classes of his clan to death with his own hand if they
offended him, while the poorer ones he consigned to a
retainer called Eurey and his satellites to hang from the
A legend is told of how his beautiful daughter, Eileen, fell
in love with Turlogh Oge, son of The O'Boyle, against her
father's wish. The lovers used to meet on the beach and
in the woods near the castle. Her father discovered their
trysts and confined her to the fortress under the care of a
worthy matron. The young people were thus reduced to
signalling to each other the maiden from the battle-
ments, and her lover from his canoe in the bay. This
became known to The MacSweeny, and with two boats of
armed men he waylaid the young man and a few retainers
on their way back from Lackagh, and brought them
prisoners to the castle.
Here he starved them to death, and as the bodies were
being carried to the graveyard the fair Eileen saw and
recognised her lover. She never recovered the shock and
grief, and not long afterwards she was found dead on the
top of one of the castle towers.
Fishermen say that the spirits of the ill-fated pair haunt
the bay, and by moonlight a phantom skiff may sometimes
be seen skimming the waters containing the two ghostly
i2cS CASTLKS OF IRKLAND
The castle was included in a grant of lands made by
James I. to the Earl of Tyrconnell.
In 1607 it was seized by Caffer O'Donnell and Neale
M'Svvine with some followers. These young discontents
alleged as their reason an old grievance against the Earl,
who was given authority by the Lord Deputy and Council
to march against them.
Accordingly Sir Richard Handson, the Earl, and Sir
Neale O'Donnell arrived before the stronghold, when some
of the offenders submitted, and some were taken and
hanged. Sir Neale O'Donnell was badly hurt in the
In the State Papers Sir Arthur Chichester advises that
the troublesome youths should be given grants of lands
as the best way of making them peaceful subjects. It is
also recommended that the castle should be garrisoned by
the King's men.
The latter was evidently done, as shortly afterwards
the Earl of Tyrconnell lodged a complaint against Captain
Brook and his men being quartered in the castle with
privileges, after he (the Earl) had in person expelled the
The following year (1608) Doe was again lost to the
English in the rebellion of Sir Cahir O'Doherty. It was in
charge of a man named Vaughan and six warders, when
a cowherd and a friar arriving with the tale that a body
of wolves had set upon the cattle, they easily managed
to draw six of them from the stronghold, who were at
once killed, and the castle seized and garrisoned for the
A party was organised to retake it, and in the encounter
with the rebels Sir Cahir was killed.
The castle was captured by Sir Oliver Lambert, and it
was said to be " the strongest hold in all the province, which
endured a hundred blows of the demi-cannon before it
DOE CASTLE 129
Captain Elling was then appointed constable, and
76 133. 4d. was granted him towards repairing the
damage done by the cannon in the siege.
At this time it had a garrison of fifty men.
Sir Richard Bingley was appointed constable in 1610,
and at the same time received a grant of land in the
county. After this there seems to have been a succession
of constables until it was captured by the Irish in 1641.
Owen Roe O'Neill landed here the following year from
Dunkirk, and, being met by Sir Phelim O'Neill with other
chiefs and one thousand five hundred men, proceeded to
In 1646 Quartermaster Harrison asked for the possession
of the castle, which the enemy had deserted, and offered to
garrison and maintain it with thirty warders.
Sir Charles Coot captured it in 1650, and Colonel Miles
M'Sweeny tried to retake it the same year.
The Harrisons sold it to the Harte family during the
General Harte was present at the battle of Seringapatam,
and the capture of Tippoo Sahib, whose servant was also
taken prisoner at the same time, and afterwards came
to Ireland with General Harte.
He lived at Doe Castle, and was devotedly attached to
his new master. He always wore his native dress, and is
reported to have slept fully armed on a mat at the
He did not long survive his master, the General meeting
with a sad death by falling down the stairway leading to
Cannon captured at Seringapatam were mounted on the
lawn of the castle.
The Plartes subsequently let Doc to a Mr. Maddison,
but it remained in the possession of the family until 1866,
when it was purchased by Mr. Ards.
The history of Doe Castle is not altogether as clear on
130 CASTLES OF IRELAND
many points as could be wished, for the authorities seem to
be greatly confused over many important points.
Harkin, " Scenery and Antiquities of North-West Donegal."
Joyce, " Irish Names of Places."
M'Devitt, "Donegal Highlands."
DRIMNAGH CAST Ll<:
ABOUT three miles from Dublin, between Crumlin and
Clondalkin, is situated the old fortress of Drimnagh or
Druimneach, which signifies the " ridged lands," so called
from the proximity of the sand ridges called the Green Hills.
The castle is an oblong building with pointed battle-
ments at the corners. A passage with an arched entrance
high enough for a loaded cart to enter is visible from
the road, above which rises three storeys, with a modern
window in each.
A turret stairway also projects on this side and rises
above the battlements. An ancient chimney flue is to be
seen crowned by a modern addition.
A small turret rises above the battlements on the north
side as well, at which side a strong, modern house has been
The castle is covered by a modern slated roof. Some
outhouses bear marks of antiquity, and a little distance
from the main building is a small, square tower, which, no
doubt, formed an outpost for the garrison. The fortress
w r as surrounded by a moat at the beginning of the nine-
teenth century, and its position can still be traced.
In 1215 the lands of Drimnagh were granted by King
John to Hugh de Bernivall, and he is supposed to have
built the castle early in this reign.
The lands were confirmed to his brother in 1221, and
they remained in his descendants' possession for four
134 CASTLES OF IRELAND
In 1435 Wolfran Barnewall had licence to entail his
estates, and in 1613 the family leased the castle to Sir
Adam Loftus, a nephew of the Archbishop, with the
reservation that no timber was to be cut.
Some time later a Peter Barnewall succeeded to the
property, and he was unwilling to renew Sir Adam's lease,
whereupon that gentleman endeavoured with some
members of the Barnewall family to prevent his inheriting
the estate, and proceeded at the same time to cut down
the great trees which surrounded the fortress. After much
litigation the King at length intervened on behalf of
Barnewall, and Sir Adam was restrained from doing any
In 1649, after the battle of Rathmines, the Duke of
Ormond seriously contemplated fortifying Drimnagh and
making it his headquarters, but he was dissuaded by
Colonel Nicholas Walker, a Cromwellian officer, lived in
the castle after the Restoration. It was said that he was
present on the scaffold at the execution of Charles I. with
his face covered by a vizor. The Hearth Money Returns
of 1664 state that Drimnagh was occupied by " Lt.-Col.
," and had three " smooks " or chimneys.
In 1841 the fortress was the property of the Marquis of
Lansdowne. It was one of the castles of the Pale, and
the scene of Mr. R. D. Joyce's romance entitled "The
Rose of Drimnagh " is laid there.
Until lately it was inhabited by Mrs. Mylott, but it is
D' Alton, " History of County Dublin."
P., " Drimnagh Castle," in Irish Penny Journal.
E. Ball, "Descriptive Sketch of Clondalkin, Tallaght," &c., in
Journal of Royal Society of Antiquaries, Ireland.
Dix, " Lesser Castles in the County Dublin," in Irish Builder.
Joyce, " Rambles Round Dublin," in Evening Telegraph Reprints.
THE situation chosen by the Norsemen for the first fortress
of " Duibhlinn " (A.D. 840) was naturally strong, being on
a hill at the junction of the Liffey and the Poddle. After
this date we read of several raids upon the dun, or castle of
Dublin, including the treacherous entry into the city of
Milun DeCogan and Meyler Fitz-Henri during a truce,
when all the defenders of the stronghold were put to the
sword. This was shortly after the landing of Strongbow.
The present area covered by Government buildings includes
the ancient site.
When Henry II. came to Dublin a large wooden hall,
covered with wattles, was erected in Dame Street, that he
might entertain the Irish chiefs who came to pay homage.
Upon his return to England he committed " Dublin with
its castle and donjon to Hugh de Laci, Fitz-Stephen, and
Morice Fitz-Gerald." Hugh de Lacy became the first
Viceroy. It was while he was in England that Meyler
Fitz-Henry, who had been appointed Lord Justice in his
absence, wrote to King John complaining that he had no
safe place to store the King's treasure, and asking for leave
to erect a proper fortress. This he received in the form of
a patent dated 1204, which says :
"But you are first to finish one tower, unless afterwards
a castle and palace, and other works that may require
greater leisure, may be more conveniently raised, and that
we should command you so to do."
The grant consisted of 300 marks, which was owed to
138 CASTLES OF IRELAND
the King by G. Fitz-Robert, and there are no records to
show whether FitzHenry ever collected the debt, or even
began the castle in the three years afterwards for which he
held office. It seems to be a very general opinion that the
castle was built about 1220 by Henry Loundres, Arch-
bishop of Dublin, either at his own expense, or that he
advanced the money as a loan. A State paper, however,
dated 1217, grants the Archbishop two cantreds without
Dublin for damage done to his churches in fortifying the
castle, and later there are many entries regarding com-
pensation to be paid in money to Henry Loundres in lieu
of land which had been encroached upon when extending
In 1242 an entry records that the windows of St.
Edward's Chapel belonging to the castle were to be
glazed, and divine service held. This building seems to
have been outside the fortress walls, on the site of the
present Chapel Royal which was erected in 1814. In
1243 a hall was to be built 120 feet long and 80 feet wide.
It was to have glazed windows, with a round one at the
gable end 30 feet in diameter.
The entrance to the castle was by a drawbridge on
the north side, the site now being occupied by the gate to
the Upper Castle Yard. This bridge was flanked by two
towers, and defended by a portcullis, and later by ordnance
as well. From the gate towers, often used as State prisons,
a high curtain or wall extended east and west. In the
westward direction it joined what in later years was known
as Cork Tower, because it was rebuilt by the great Earl of
Cork in 1629, it having fallen in 1624, and been only
partly restored. He spent 408 on it.
From this the wall was continued south to the Birming-
ham Tower, which is said to have derived its name from
its having been erected either by John Birmingham, Earl
of Louth, Lord Justice 1321, or Walter Birmingham, who
held office in 1348. It is more likely, however, that this
DUBLIN CASTLE 139
tower is identical with that known as the high tower, and
that it received the name Birmingham after William
Birmingham and his son Walter had been imprisoned
there in 1331, otherwise the fortress would have been
incomplete prior to 1321, and the side with least natural
defence unprotected. From Birmingham Tower the
curtain extended eastward (intersected by two smaller
towers) to Wardrobe Tower. From this the wall was
continued northward to the Store Tower near Dame's
Gate, which was in its turn connected with the eastern gate
tower. There were two sallyports in the wall.
Of the eight towers which once protected the fortress
only the Wardrobe Tower now remains, often erroneously
called Birmingham Tower. This, as its name implies,
is where the royal robe, cap of maintenance, and other
furniture of state were kept. The sword of state is still
preserved there, and also the records which were removed
from Birmingham Tower. The lower portion is the
original masonry, but an upper storey was added when the
Chapel Royal was built. The Birmingham Tower was
rendered unsafe by an explosion of gunpowder in Ship
Street and had to be taken down. A lighter structure was
erected on the site, which contains the present kitchen and
viceregal supper-room. The other towers were gradually-
removed to make room for new buildings.
The Anglo- Irish used to decorate the gate and walls of
the castle with the heads of the slain, and in 1316 some
four hundred heads were sent from Wicklow for this purpose.
The castle did not become a permanent residence of the
Viceroy until 1560 by order of Elizabeth, and in 1565
Henry Sydney took up his abode in it. He also enlarged
and beautified it, and placed the State papers there in safe
The castle has stood several successful sieges. In 1478
Gerald, 8th Earl of Kildare, was superseded as Lord
Deputy by Lord Grey of Codnor. He refused to resign,
140 CASTLES OF IRELAND
and Keating, Prior of Kilmainham, and Constable of the
Castle, sided with him, and fortified the stronghold against
the new Deputy. He destroyed the drawbridge, and Lord
Grey, rinding his numbers too small to force an entrance,
returned to England, and Kildare was shortly afterwards
Again, in 1534, young Lord Offaly, known as " Silken
Thomas " from the splendour of his horses' trappings,
hearing a false report that his father had been treacherously
executed in England, returned the Sword of State to the
Council, which he held as Deputy in the Earl of Kildare's
absence, and commenced hostilities against the castle.
It is said the citizens readily admitted him within the
walls of Dublin. His chief attack was from Ship Street,
but the Constable of the castle getting the thatched houses
there set on fire, the besiegers fell back into Thomas Street.
Lord Offaly having been obliged to commence hostilities
against Ossary, the siege was not carried on with much
heart. Many of the arrows sent into the castle were head-
less, and others bore letters saying some of the besiegers
were really in sympathy with the King's party.
Upon the rumour of help from England, the citizens
closed the gates and made prisoners of the attackers.
Lord Thomas hurried back, and at once laid siege to the
city itself, but his force was too small to have any effect.
As he had seized the Dublin children who had been sent
to outlying villages on account of the plague, the citizens
agreed to liberate his party if the little ones were restored.
This was done, and shortly afterwards aid from England
quelled the rebellion.
Several exciting escapes have been made by prisoners
from the castle. In 1587 Hugh O'Donnell was confined in
one of the gate towers for three years, when he and a com-
panion managed to escape on to the drawbridge by a rope.
He was, however, treacherously sent back to Dublin by
O'Toole of Castlekevin, upon whose hospitality he had
DUBLIN CASTLE 141
thrown himself. At this time a partly dry and partly \vet
moat surrounded Dublin Castle, and O'Donnell was now
imprisoned in the Wardrobe Tower round which the Poddle
flowed. He, however, escaped again the next year through
the water, and, arriving after much hardship at Glenmalure,
eventually reached the North in safety.
In 1697 Lord Delvin was imprisoned in one of the gate
towers for taking part in a conspiracy against the King.
The Lord Deputy hearing that he meditated escape,
desired Tristram Ecclesten, Constable of the Castle, to
remove his prisoner from the upper to a lower storey. Not
only did Ecclesten neglect to do this, but he allowed Lord
Delvin to have visitors, who managed to convey him a rope,
by which he escaped. Next year he surrendered himself
and was pardoned.
Law Courts and Parliaments have at different times
been held in the castle.
In 1689 King James made a State entry, and stayed one
night there after the battle of the Boyne.
In 1/83 St. Patrick's Hall was built. In 1784 the
Viceregal Lodge was bought, and since then the State
apartments of the castle have only been used during
the Dublin season.
O'Donovan, "Annals of the Four Masters."
Calendar of Irish State Papers in England.
Wright, " Historical Guide to Dublin.
Harris, " History of Dublin."
Marquis of Kildare, " Earls of Kildare."
Brewer, " Beauties of Ireland."
M'Gee, " History of Ireland."
Joyce, " History of Ireland."
Gilbert, " Castle of Dublin " (University Magazine}.
Haverty, " Ireland."
Collins, " Sydney State Letters,"
THIS castle is situated on the western margin of the
Barony of Kinnelea, in the tovvnland of Skevanish, County
Cork. It stands on the left bank of the Bandon River, in
the angle formed by the influx of the Brinny. It is half a
mile above Innishannon, and three miles below Bandon.
The present name seems, from ancient documents, to be
a corruption of Dundanier, or a word of the same phonetic
sound. Different suggestions have been put forward as to
the probable meaning of the original name, including
"Dane's Fort," or "the fort of the foreigner," and "the
fort of the two rivers." This latter would be a very
appropriate appellation, its south and west sides being
protected by the converging streams.
Nothing now remains of the castle save the keep, which
measures 32 feet east and west, and 44 feet north and
The entrance is in a ruined state on the east side, and
between it and the river on the south the masonry has
almost wholly disappeared. The walls on the north and
west are 6 feet thick, while on the south and east they
measure 8 feet, although these sides have otherwise
apparently less provision for defence.
Mr. Herbert Gillman gives a most interesting suggestion
regarding this fact. He says that in all probability a
winding stair was situated in the thickness of the walls at
the south-east angle, the building of which has now dis-
appeared, and that this stairway terminated at the hall
DUNDANIEL CASTLE 143
or chief apartment of the castle usually occupied by the
castellan. Upon the north-east angle of the tower is now
the remains of a ruined turret, and Mr. Gillman thinks
this is most likely to have been the protection for the
egress to the allur or battlemented walk, which was
reached from the main chamber by a second stairway
in this part of the wall. By such an arrangement no
watchman could leave his post of duty without passing
through the room in question, and thus a greater protection
would be secured.
We learn from the Lismore papers that the top of
the fortress was reached by a very narrow " pair of
The tower is about 55 or 60 feet high. The stone
arch which is usual in such buildings covering the
internal space, is in this instance situated singularly
high up, being immediately beneath the top storey, and
there is no mark on the lower walls to show that a
second ever existed. The ground floor was used for
defence as well as for the usual store, and above it beams,
on stone corbels, supported two oak floors between the
basement and the arch. Light and air were chiefly
admitted by long openings splayed for archery. It is
interesting to note also the later apertures introduced
after musketry superseded the bow and arrow.
Of the former outworks of the fortress little trace
remains. On the east of the tower, at about a hundred
yards distant, is what an old inhabitant stated to be
a disused channel of the River Manghane or Brinny. This
fact is borne out, and contradicted, respectively by several
maps. The fact that the field lying west of the river is
still called " Castle Garden " seems to point out that the
channel of the Brinny has been changed. Also the
north and west walls of the fortress have the greater
number of crenellated openings, which show that they
were considered the most vulnerable sides.
144 CASTLES OF IRELAND
The Down Survey map of 1656 shows a dwelling-house
to the east of the castle.
In the mortar on the inside surface of the arch, the
marks of the twigs are still visible which formed part
of the temporary support used when building. The
mortar has much less lime than is usual in such work,
no doubt from the distance it would have had to be
These markings, as well as the general architecture,
indicate that the date 1476, which is usually stated as the
time of its erection, is likely to be accurate.
It is supposed to have been built by Barry Oge, or
Barry the Younger, whose family displaced the O'Mahons
in this district, being a descendant of Philip de Barry, the
The lands of Innishannon were granted to the Barry
Oge family either in Henry III.'s or Henry IV.'s reign.
In 1449 Barry Oge forfeited the confidence of the
Crown, and his lands were seized for the King. But a
letter of the time states that he was there " upon the
King's portion, paying his Grace never a penny of rent."
At this time wars at home and abroad had weakened
the English power in Ireland, and it is most likely that
Barry Oge built Dundaniel Castle to protect the lands
he was holding in spite of the forfeiture.
In 1548 mention is made of a pirate called Colle
coming to Kinsale in a pinnace and marrying Barry Oge's
aunt, living in his castle, and not allowing any one to enter
Kinsale. Probably this castle was Dundaniel, where the
honeymoon was being spent, but the Barry Oge himself
does not seem to have shared the odium in which his
uncle-in- law was held.
Pirates were a very grave trouble to the south coast
for many years following.
After the Desmond rebellion Barry Oge's land was
again forfeited in 1588, and bestowed upon MacCarthy
DUNDANiEL CASTL 14$
Reagh, and in 1599 " Downdanclier " is referred to as
eing in his possession.
After the siege of Dunboy Castle, in 1602, Sir George
Carcw relates having sent some companies of foot soldiers
to Macarthy's Castle of Dundaniel, to remain there until
the army was leaving Minister.
Eight years later the estate was purchased by the East
India Company for the sum of 7,000. They constructed
a dock, where they built two ships, and colonised three
villages with some three hundred English settlers.
They garrisoned the castle with " four light horse,
six corslets, and ten muskets, trained at the Company's
But this form of industrious innovation was not at
all to the liking of the native inhabitants, and they so
harassed the company's workers that they were obliged to
appeal to the Government for protection in 1613. This
does not appear to have been accorded, as a second
petition in the same year asks for leave to place three
or four pieces of ordnance in the castle for defence against
the " wylde Irish."
The Company, still receiving no Government aid, re-
linquished their enterprise. In the "Castle Garden" slag,
like the refuse of ironworks is still found, which is most
likely the remains of the East India Company's industry.
After this the MacCarthys seem to have again taken
possession of the castle, and a scion of the old house,
named Teige O'Connor, occupied Dundaniel upon the
breaking out of hostilities in 1642.
This O'Connor seems to have been a man of unqualified
barbarity. A MS. in Trinity College records a most
unwarrantable attack by him on five peaceful fishermen
who were whipping the rivers near the stronghold. By
his orders they were seized by some of the garrison and
carried within the castle. Four of them were hanged at
once, and the fifth offered 10 for his life. This was
146 CASTLES OF IRELAND
accepted, and some of them accompanied him to his house
to receive it. Upon finding where he kept his money,
they seized the whole of it, amounting to 35, and then
hanged the unfortunate owner.
John Langton, writing to the Earl of Cork, gives a most
graphic description of the assault upon Dundaniel Castle
on the 2Oth of April, 1642, when the English forces
marched from Bandon under the command of Lord
Kinalmeaky and Captain Aderly of Innishannon.
It appears a party of rebels had seized some cattle
and brutally killed four children and wounded a fifth,
who were minding them near the town. The distracted
parents traced the crime to the garrison of Dundaniel
Castle, " neere the ould iron worke." So horse and foot
marched out, recovered the cattle save one animal, and
attacked the castle.
Three of the besiegers were killed and six wounded
by shot and stone from the fortress, but the musketeers
posted themselves round the castle and on the neighbour-
ing hill, and kept up a fire of small shot so that each
of the defenders who looked out was killed.
They next tried to drive in the door with sledges,
and these failing they set it on fire, but they had to
undermine the wall in the neighbourhood before the fire
became sufficient to make the door yield.
They rushed into the lower room, and the enemy fled to
the top of the castle above the vault.
The attacking party then loaded themselves with corn
and oatmeal which was stored in the lower chambers, and
having provided themselves with plunder they set fire
to the wooden floors of the lower rooms. Night came
on, and they returned to Bandon with their booty.
Next morning they came back to view the scene, and
found that the rebels (who had escaped the fire which
did not penetrate the vault), had let themselves down
from the battlements in the night time by means of ropes
DiJNbANIEL CASTLE 147
and other contrivances. Many lay dead on the top of
the castle, and round about it.
The victors found four or five muskets and fowling
pieces, some brass and iron pots and pans, and some
money hidden in the oatmeal bins.
About forty of the enemy escaped and joined the
Roches. They were pursued, and an encounter took
place where over a hundred were killed, but the chiefs
After this the MacCarthy property was confiscated,
and Dundaniel Castle was granted to Richard Earl of
Cork, by whom it was leased to various tenants, and through
whom it descended to the present Duke of Devonshire.
H. Gilhnan, "The Castle of Dtmclanier, miscalled
Dundaniel" (Cork Arclurological Society's journal).
Calendar of State Papers.
G. Bennett, " History of Bandon."
Grosart, " Lismorc Papers."
DUNDRUM CASTLE, COUNTY DOWN
SITUATED three and a half miles north by east of New-
castle, County Down, this donjon fortress commands an
extensive view of Dundrum Bay and the surrounding
district of Lecale. The castle was built on the site of an
older fortification known as Dun RudhraidJie, or Rury's
Fort, which is said to have been the scene of the great
feast given by Bricrin of the Poisoned Tongue, to King
Connor MacNessa and the Red Branch Knights at which
he induced them to make war on one another, as is
chronicled in " The Book of the Dun Cow.'' The present
village of Dundrum (Dundroma, signifying the fort on the
ridge) lies between the castle and the shore, while to the
east of the fortress are the ruins of an Elizabethan mansion
erected by a former owner of the castle.
The circular keep or donjon is built upon a rock, and
has an external diameter of some 45 feet, the walls of
which are 8 feet thick above the projecting base. The
tower at present stands about 50 feet in height. The
cellar below is hewn out of the rock on which the building
was erected, and is said at one time to have contained 200
tuns of Spanish wine belonging to O'Neill.
To the east of the entrance is a circular newel stair
3 feet 3 inches in diameter, constructed in the thickness
of the wall and leading to the parapet. From this there
are openings at each storey, and it is most likely from the
position of the offsets in the wall that the floors were of
DUNDRUM CASTLE, COUNTY DOWN 149
wood supported on beams, the holes for the latter being
s'till visible at different levels.
Round this tower was the courtyard or bawn, encircled
by a high wall 4 and 5 feet thick, which was again
protected by a fosse or moat, still to be seen on the north
and west sides. The bawn was occupied by the buildings
for the retainers, and perhaps the family in times of peace,
and is of a roughly circular form about 1 50 feet across.
South-east of the donjon, in the line of wall, are the two
nrxDRi'M CASTI.K. ro. DOWN.
ruined towers which protected the barbican gate, the
corbel blocks of which still remain over the archway,
and originally supported the defences of the gateway.
From these, numerous rebels were hanged in the rebellion
The castle was built of stone quarried to form the fosse,
mixed with land stones of the district. Little has been
done to alter the twelfth or thirteenth century architecture,
except the opening out of windows. On the side of the
150 CASTLES OF IRELAND
ruined manor the outer fortifications would seem to have
been levelled to make terraced gardens to the later dwelling,
It is generally supposed that Dundrum Castle was built
by John de Courcy at the end of the twelfth century for
the Knights Templars, after his daring conquest of Ulster
in 1 1 77 with only a force of about a thousand men. The
stronghold remained in the possession of the order (which
was bound by vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience)
until the suppression of the Knights Templars in 1313.
It then passed into the hands of the Prior of Down, and is
mentioned by Archdall in his " Monasticon Hibernicum "
as a religious house. Upon the abolition of the
monasteries the reversion of the castle and manor, with
a yearly rent of 6 133. 46. reserved out of it, was granted
to Gerald, Earl of Kildare.
In 1516, however, it appears to have been in the posses-
sion of O'Neill, who fortified it, with a boast he would hold
it against the Earl of Kildare, at the same time sending to
the King of France to come and help him to drive the
The following year Gerald, pth Earl of Kildare, and
Lord Deputy, marched into Lecale and took Dundrum
by storm, but it seems almost immediately to have
reverted to the Magennises, who repaired it. In 1538 it
was retaken along with seven other castles by the English,
commanded by Lord Deputy Grey, who says : " I took
another castell, being in M'Geeon's countrie called Dun-
drome, which, I assure your lordship, as it standeth is one
of the strongest holds that ever I saw in Ireland, and most
commodious for defence of the whole countrey of Lecayll,
both by sea and land, for the said Lecayll is invironed
round about with sea, and no way to go by land into the
said countrey but only bye the said Castle of Dundrome."
After this the castle appears to have remained in the
hands of the Crown for a few years. In 1551, we learn
from the records of the Privy Council that Prior Magennis
DUNDRUM CASTLE, COUNTY DOWN 151
was seized and imprisoned in Dundrum Castle by Roger
Broke without order of law. Six years later Lord Deputy
Sussex asked that Lecale with the Castle of Dundrum
might be granted to him in fee-farm for ever.
But again in 1565 it was occupied by the great Shane
O'Neill, who placed his own ward in it for defence, and the
Magennises (with whom O'Neill was intimately connected)
were in possession of the stronghold in 1601, when Phelim
Magennis surrendered it to Lord Mountjoy.
O'Neill is said to have been a constant visitor at the
castle while it was possessed by the Magennises, Lords of
Iveagh, and after a night of revelry would indulge in a
strange kind of bath, by being buried to his neck in the
sands on the shore of the bay.
Four years subsequently to the stronghold passing into
the hands of the Crown, Lord Cromwell was commissioned
to be governor and commander of Lecale and the tower
and castle of Dundrum.
In 1636, Lord Cromwell's grandson, Thomas, Lord
Lecale and 1st Earl of Ardglass, sold it to Sir Francis
Blundell, from whom it descended by marriage to its
present owner, the Marquis of Downshire.
Sir James Montgomery fought the Irish on the shore at
the foot of the castle hill 1642, and placed a garrison in the
fortress to protect the district. At this time Dundrum
belonged to the Blundells, who afterwards built the now
ruined mansion adjoining, and the ancient stronghold
was finally dismantled in 1652 by the order of Oliver
AUTHORITI KS CONSULTED.
Phillips, " Dundrum Castle."
Pracger, " Guide to County Down."
Joyce, " Irish Names of Places."
Grose, "Antiquities of Ireland."
Harris, " History of County Down."
Calendar of State Papers.
" Notes to Sir Henry Sidney's Memoir," and " Facsimiles of Signatures
of Irish Chieftains" in Ulster Journal of Arc/urology.
DUNDRUM CASTLE, COUNTY DUBLIN
THIS fortress was one of the long chain of the Pale castles
which defended the metropolis, but having been inhabited
until the beginning of the nineteenth century it is in a
much better state of preservation than most of these old
It is situated about three miles south of Dublin on a rise
of ground above the Dundrum River, a tributary of the
Dodder, at the junction of the Ballinteer and Enniskerry
It is probable that the castle was built on the site of a
more ancient stronghold, as Dundrum signifies " the fort
on the ridge."
The principal ruin of the present castle is a keep which
is battlemented in a slightly projecting form on the south-
east, while the south-west wall rises in rather a high gable.
The building is oblong in shape, and the entrance, which
is on the south side, is evidently of more modern con-
struction. A gate now gives egress to the interior, which
is occupied by a flower bed.
Two large windows on the ground floor also point to
later alterations, especially as they occur simultaneously
with the remains of earlier openings.
The stairs are likely to have been situated in the south-
west side. There are numerous small chambers and
passages in the thickness of the walls.
Of the three fireplaces in the north-west wall that on the
ground floor is the largest, measuring 9 feet long by 5 feet
DUNDRUM CASTLE, COUNTY DUBLIN 153
high, and as the flagstones of the hearth are covered by
some inches of gravel its height was once greater. At the
back of the fireplace and slightly to one side is an aperture
about two feet square, which is framed in cut stone, and
was probably used as an oven.
On the south-west end of the keep are the ruins of a
smaller building several storeys high, which is connected
with the main building by a square topped doorway. The
dividing wall is nearly 6 feet in thickness.
Both buildings are largely covered with plaster, and on
the south-east the keep has been partly rough cast.
The situation of a third building can be seen adjoining
the tower on the north-east side, where the pitch of its roof
may be traced about three-fourths of the way up, but very
little of the walls remain.
The castle is partly covered with ivy.
The fortress seems to have been built soon after the
Norman invasion, and as the lands of Dundrum were held
by Hugh de Clahull, it was probably erected for their
defence. It subsequently passed to the Fitzwilliams of
Merrion, from whom it descended to the Earls of Pem-
broke, and it forms at present part of the Pembroke
Robert le Bagocl, ancestor of the Fitzwilliams, had
license to convey the manor of Dundrum to his son
William, and in 1332 Thomas Fitzwilliam was found
seized of the lands round.
From this time on it is likely the fortress was occupied
by cadets of the Fitzwilliam family.
In 1542 Sir Thomas Fitzwilliam was in possession of
the manor, and in 1616 his grandson Thomas, afterwards
first Viscount Fitzwilliam, recovered the lands of Dundrum
and Ballinteer, with the castle and water mill.
His brother William, who had married Archbishop
Ussher's widow, lived at Dundrum Castle about this
154 CASTLES OF IRELAND
The building was slated and in good repair during the
Commonwealth. It is stated to have had three hearths
and a barn, with a garden.
It was tenanted by a Mr. Isaac Dobson during the reign
of Charles II. He was a Nonconformist, and probably a
trader in Dublin. When James II. came to the throne he
left the country, and was attainted by Parliament in 1689.
His son, who was a bookseller, succeeded him at the
castle. He greatly improved the grounds, and when he
died in 1720 he left the use of the castle to his wife for her
life, after which it went to his sons.
The last Dobson who lived in it died in 1762, and when
Mr. Cooper visited it in 1780 it was most likely inhabited
by a farmer, who was then cutting down the grove of ash
which grew between it and the river.
He speaks of the inhabited part as a modern addition to
which older remains were adjoining. He states that the
principal entrance was from the courtyard by stone steps.
It soon afterwards fell into ruin, and at the beginning of
the nineteenth century the present modern dwelling-house
was erected. This was at first inhabited by the Walsh
family, and later Dr. Reichel, Bishop of Meath, lived in it.
Miss Hume is the present occupier.
E. Dix, " Dundrum Castle," in "The Lesser Castles in the County
Dublin " ; F. Ball, " Dundrum Castle," both Irish Builder.
Ball and Hamilton, "The Parish of Taney."
DUN LUCE CASTLE
TllE ruins of this stronghold are picturesquely situated
upon a rocky promontory about three miles east of Port-
rush, in the County Antrim, which is divided from the
mainland by a chasm 20 feet wide and 100 feet deep.
The name Dunluce, or Us, signifies " strong fort," and in
all probability the castle is built on the site of an ancient Us.
The walls of the fortress are constructed of local basalt,
and as the columnar structure has been taken advantage
of in the dressings of windows and doors, it makes it a
difficult matter to compare the date of its erection with
other castles by the style of architecture.
It seems likely that the fortress was built in the sixteenth
century by the M'Ouillans (formerly M'Willies), who
derived their title from De Burgo, one of Ue Courcy's
followers. Experts think that no part of the building is of
The castle was originally confined to the isolated rock,
which was connected with the mainland by a draw-
bridge. Now this part is reached by a footway about
1 8 inches wide and 20 feet long, supported by an arch.
The strongest walls are on the south and east sides.
The drawbridge formerly led into a small enclosed court-
yard, at the lower end of which stands the barbican, con-
taining the main entrance, and with an embrasure at one
side commanding the bridge. This has corbelled bartizans
at the angles of the south gable, which are a Scotch type
158 CASTLES OF IRELAND
A strong wall, following the cliff, connects the barbicari
with a circular tower at the south-east angle called
M'Ouillan's Tower. The walls of this building are 8
feet thick, and a small staircase in them leads to the top of
both tower and wall.
Formerly another curtain extended from M'Quillan's
Tower along the edge of the rock northward to Queen
Maud's Tower, which is also circular but of smaller
On the west and north the castle walls are not so thick
as elsewhere, and here the principal domestic offices are
On the north side, over the mouth of the cave which
penetrates below, are the remains of the kitchen, where a
terrible accident happened during a storm. The date is
placed at 1639. The young Duchess of Buckingham, who
had married the 2nd Earl of Antrim, was giving a great
entertainment, when suddenly the kitchen gave way, and
eight servants, including the cook, sank into the waters of
the cave below, and were drowned. It is said a tinker,
who was sitting in a window mending pots and pans, was
the only survivor of those present, and " the tinker's
window " is still pointed out.
The state rooms of the castle are situated behind the
towers at the eastern side. The great hall measures 70
feet by 23 feet, and has a large fireplace and three bay
windows, which were probably later improvements made
by Sorley Boy M'Donnell for his son Sir James, when he
took up his abode at Dunluce.
The castle yard is situated between the hall and the
parapet wall, and measures 120 feet by 25 feet.
A small vaulted room at the east side of the castle called
the Banshee Tower, is pointed out as a haunted chamber.
The oak roof of the chapel, which had been restored in
the Duchess of Buckingham's time (1637-40), was after-
wards used to cover a barn in the district.
DtJNLUCE CASTLE 159
The buildings on the mainland are of much later date
than those on the rock. It is probable that they are later
than 1640, though whether they were built, as tradition
states, because the domestics refused to inhabit the older
castle after the subsidence of the kitchen, or whether the
increase of the family's importance required more accom-
modation, it is hard to say.
In 1513 a dispute arose between the descendants of
Garrett MacQuillin and those of Walter MacQuillin for
Dunluce, then in the former's hands. O'Donnell seems to
have placed the Walter MacOuillins in possession.
Sir Thomas Cusake mentions the castle in his account
of the expedition against the MacDonnels in 1551, and
four years later a fierce dispute arose between the Mac-
Ouillins and MacDonnels for the chieftainship of the Route
These MacDonnels were of Scotch descent, and in 1565
the famous Shane O'Neill set out to expel the Scots from
A great fight ensued, in which James and Sorley Boy
(yellow or swarthy Charles) MacDonnel were taken
Dunluce held out for three days longer, but Shane kept
Sorley Boy without food until the garrison should sur-
render, which they accordingly did for his sake as well as
O'Neill then put his men in the castle, and is reported
to have " kylled and banyshed all the Skottes out of the
James MacDonnel died in Tyrone Castle in 1567 pro-
bably from poison. Two years later his death was avenged
by one of the clan, who assassinated Shane, and after this
Sorley Boy was set at liberty.
At this time an English garrison was in possession of
Dunluce, and Sorley Boy crossed to Scotland, and re-
turned with eight hundred picked Redshanks to demand
i6d CASTLES OF IRELAND
his castles and lands returned by a grant from the
This request not being at once acceded to, he commenced
hostilities, and in a year had re-possessed himself of all his
strongholds and lands, except Dunluce. He then renounced
all allegiance to the Queen, raised some more Scotch
troops, and took the surrounding country without oppo-
In 1573 he made a partial submission to the Crown, and
asked to have the part of the Glynns, which he claimed
through the Bysetts, confirmed to him by letters patent,
but when the title deeds arrived he cut them up and threw
them in the fire, saying
" By my sword I got these lands, and by the sword I
will hold them."
The next year Mr. Francis Killaway was granted Dun-
luce under Essex's scheme of plantation, but in those days
possession was more than " nine points of the law," and
when the Lord Deputy, Sir John Perrott, set out with a
great army against the Scots of Ulster, in 1584, Sorley
Boy's warder occupied Dunluce.
In the official despatches it is styled the " impregnable "
The MacDonnels were unprepared for the attack.
Cannon was landed at the Skerries and drawn up by men,
but when the castle was summoned to surrender, the
Scotch captain replied he would hold the fortress to the
last man for the King of Scotland.
The siege lasted nine months ; the ward of forty men,
mostly Scotch, surrendering in September, 1585.
St. Columkill's Cross was found amongst the treasure by
Perrott, who forwarded it, with a jeering letter, to Burghly,
It has since been lost sight of.
The Lord Deputy appointed a pensioner called Peter
Carey as constable, and a ward of English soldiers.
Perrott reports that Carey dismissed them, and re-filled
DUNLUCE CASTLE 161
their places with Northerns, some of whom were in league
with MacDonnel, and that one night fifty men were drawn
up the rock by ropes made of wythies. He also says they
offered Carey his life, but he refused, and retired to a
tower with a few men, where he was eventually slain.
This seems a rather unlikely story, and another account
states a good many of the garrison were slain, and that
Carey being hanged over one of the walls of the strong-
hold, the English soldiers fled. Carey's widow was granted
Having recovered his castle, Sorley Boy made overtures
of peace to the Government, which were eagerly accepted,
and he travelled to Dublin and prostrated himself before
Elizabeth's portrait. The Indenture, dated 1586, amongst
other things, states he was appointed Constable or Key-
holder of Dunluce Castle.
His son, Sir James MacDonnel, occupied the stronghold
in 1 597, and the Governor of Carrickfergus lodged numerous
complaints against him, amongst which were his refusal to
give up the ordnance he had taken from Don Alonzo's
ship of the Spanish Armada, and his having fortified
himself in Dunluce.
The following year Tyrone's two sons and their tutor
were lodged in the castle, and Sir Geffrey Fenton had
suspicions that they were placed there as hostages to the
Shortly afterwards open hostilities began between Mac-
Donnel and the Government until Sir James died suddenly
at Dunluce in 1601.
The castle was granted to his son, Randel, by letters
patent in 1614, to be surrendered if required for a garrison,
and he was created Earl of Antrim in 1620.
His son, who succeeded in 1636, married the widowed
Duchess of Buckingham. The castle was summoned by
the Irish in 1641, and they also burned the town.
The Earl did not join the Rebellion, though many of his
1 62 CASTLES OF IRELAND
relations were in arms. In 1642 Munro came to Dunluce
on pretence that some of the Earl's tenantry were impli-
cated. After having been well entertained, he treacherously
seized Lord Antrim and sent him prisoner to Carrick-
fergus, at the same time plundering Dunluce.
The Earl escaped to England, and his lands, which had
been confiscated during Cromwell's time, were restored to
him in 1663 ; but in the meantime Dunluce had fallen to
decay, and does not seem to have been inhabited since.
The Antrim family at present reside at Glenarm Castle.
G. Hill, " Macdonnells of Antrim."
Calendar of State Papers.
Proceedings of Archaeological Association of Ireland, Papers by R.
Young and J. O'Laverty.
Joyce, " Irish Place Names."
" The Description and Present State of Ulster," in Ulster Journal of
Tins castle is situated eight miles north-by-west of Dublin,
near the village of St. Margaret's, off the Ashbourne road.
It consists of a splendidly preserved keep about 80 feet
high, flanked by four square towers which rise above the
roof at each corner. One of these contains a winding
stair leading to the battlements, at the top of which a
flight often steps gives egress to the summit of the watch
The other three towers have little rooms opening off the
The ground floor, which was most likely a kitchen, is a
large vaulted apartment into which a door has been
quarried in later years.
The first floor was once a fine wainscotted room, the
walls of which were yet hung with family pictures when
D' Alton visited it in 1838.
A flight of wooden stairs connects this apartment with
The two upper storeys had wooden floors, and the build-
ing is still covered by a good slated roof, which is evidently
a modern addition. So too are the large square windows,
some of which are glazed and others protected by wire
netting. The doorways are Gothic.
In the south-west tower is the prison with no entrance
except through a hole in the roof by which captives and
their food were let down.
1 66 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Tradition states an underground passage connects the
castle with St. Margaret's Church, as well as having many
Beside the keep is the ruined chapel with an arched
doorway, which has been used as a cowshed. At the side
towards the castle is a low built-up archway over which is
a slab carved with the symbols of the crucifixion, and
having under it the inscription: " J.P.M.D.S., 1573,"
which is supposed to mean Johannes Plunket Miles de
There seems to be no record of the building of the
In 1288-89 it is noted that the rent paid for Dunsoghly by
Geoffrey Brim was 743. and fivepence. Nearly two hundred
years later (1422) the King granted to Henry Stanyhurst
the custody of all the messuages which had belonged to
John Finglas to hold rent free during the minority of the
heir. Two years later Roger Finglas is forgiven his
arrears of Crown rent out of the lands and tenants of
Dunsoghly and Oughtermay.
Soon after this the land seems to have passed to Sir
Roland Plunkett, the younger son of Sir Christopher
Plunkett, Baron of Killem, and Lord Deputy of Ireland,
1432, this family being a branch of the Fingall family.
In 1446 Sir Rowland Plunkett, of Dunsoghly Castle,
was appointed Chief Justice of the King's Bench, and later
his son, Sir Thomas Plunkett, became Chief Justice of
The Crown leased, in 1 547, to John Plunkett, of Dun-
soghly, gent., all the tithes in Dunsoghly and Oughtermay,
in the Parish of St. Margaret of Dowanor, part of the
possessions of the Chancellor of the late Cathedral of St.
Patrick, at a rent of five marks. He was also to provide a
chaplain for the church of Dowanor.
This John Plunkett was grandson to Sir Thomas, and
also received knighthood. He was made Chief Justice of
DUNSOGHLY CASTLE 167
the Queen's Bench in 1559. He died twenty-three years
later, seized of the manors of Dunsoghly and Oughtermay.
Sir John built the private chapel belonging to the castle,
and also the chantry of St. Margaret's.
In 1590 Christopher Plunkett, of Dunsoghly, is included
in the list of the English Pale ; and twenty years later he
surrendered Dunsoghly to the King, who re-granted it to
him with additional lands on account of his own and his
family's service to the Crown.
Colonel Richard Plunkett, of Dunsoghly, was an active
supporter of the Lords of the Pale in 1641, and a reward
of ,400 was offered for his head by the Lords Justices and
In 1657 the Down Survey says that the " chiefest places
in the Barony of Coolock are Malahide and Dunsoghly."
" There is in Dunsoghly a good castle, and a house ad-
joining it (James Plunkett)."
The House of Commons granted Sir Henry Tichbourne
.,"2,000 in lieu of his wardship of Nicholas Plunkett, of
Dunsoghly, in 1666. This Nicholas was succeeded by his
son, at whose death the property was divided between his
three daughters, and the castle is still in possession of their
The fortress is said to have been bombarded in
Cromwell's time from a mound near, which is now occupied
by a dwelling-house, and a long crack made in the south
wall by the cannon is still visible.
The castle was inhabited up to the middle of the
J. D'Alton, " History of County Dublin."
Proceedings of Royal Archaeological Association of Ireland.
W. Wakeman, " Rambles near Dublin," in Dublin Evening Tele-
SITUATED on the Slaney, about twelve miles north-by-west
of Wexforcl, in the Barony of Ballaghkeen, is the town of
Enniscorthy. The origin of the name does not seem to
admit of a satisfactory explanation. Some writers say
that it was originally Corthce, and the capital of Ptolemy's
Coriandi. Hence the prophesy, " Enniscorthy was, Dublin
is, and Drogheda will be." Again Enis-scorteach,
signifying " the stud-house pastorage," has been mentioned
as a possible explanation.
The castle is a massive square structure, flanked by
three round towers. It is in good preservation. Two of
the towers can still be ascended.
It is built of hard blue slate, dug on the spot, and the
cases of the doors and windows are of grey grit stone.
It is believed that the manor of Enniscorthy was granted
by Strongbow to Maurice de Prendergast, and that he
commenced to erect the castle in 1 199, it being finished by
his son Philip in 1205 or 1206.
Again, it is stated to have passed to the De Prendergasts
through the De Quincey family, and that it was originally
erected by Raymond le Gros.
Between 1225 and 1228 it was walled in and entrenched
by Gerald Prendergast, who died in 125.1.
The Rochfords held it from 1252 to 1327 through
Maurice Rochford marrying Matilda Prendergast.
The land had formerly been part of the MacMurroughs'
EXXISCORTHY CASTLE 169
territory, and they regained it in 1328, although their claim
was fiercely disputed by the Rochfords.
Donogh MacMorrough, King of Leinster, resided in the
castle from 1368 to 13/5, in which year he was slain near
Carlow by Geoffrey Wall. Two years later Art Mac-
Murrough, King of Leinster, recovered the castle, and held
it until his death in 1418.
Donald Kavanagh, King of Leinster, lived in state in
the castle from 1428 to 1476, and he it was who founded
the Franciscan monastery close to the stronghold in 1460.
Murrough, King of Leinster, died in the castle in 1518.
In 1550 it passed to the Crown after Cahir Mac Art
Kavanagh relinquished the title " MacMurrough."
Richard Kettyng complained in 1551 that the Council
would not confirm the King's letters, which granted him
the castles of Ferns and Enniscorthy. He requested that
they might be granted by patent.
The following year Enniscorthy was leased to Gabriel
In 1566 a ruined castle and the manor of" Innescortye "
was leased to Xicholas Hearon, Esq., for twenty-one years,
and the following year it was surrendered by his assignee,
Thomas Stucley, Esq., who then received a lease of it.
It was sacked by Sir Edmund Butler in 1569, and
remained uninhabited for thirteen years, though it was
leased to Richard Synnot for twenty-one years in 1575,
and in 1581 the great poet Edmund Spenser received it
upon like condition.
" Lease (under commission, 15 July, XXII.) to Edmund
Spenser, gent., of the site of the house of friars of Enes-
cortie, with apputences ; the manor of Enescortie, a
ruinous castle, land, and a weir there, lands of Garrane,
Killkenane, LoUghwertie, Barrickcrowe, and Ballineparke,
and the customs of boards, timber, laths, boats bearing-
victuals, lodgings during the fair, and things sold there,
and fishings belonging to the manor, and all other appurte-
170 CASTLES OF IRELAND
nances as well within the Morroes country as without.
To hold for 21 years. Rent, ^"13-6-4. Maintaining one
English horseman. Fine, 2os."
It is stated that fear of the Kavanaghs prevented his
coming into residence, for the year afterwards his lease
was transferred to Sir Richard Sinnot, of Ballybrennan,
and ratified by the Crown for a term of forty years.
I n Z 595 Queen Elizabeth granted the estate to Sir
Henry Wallop, Treasurer of War, by letters patent.
He restored the castle, but his son preferred to reside in
the more modern dwelling of the Franciscan monks, which
was close to the fortress. He died here in 1624, and was
succeeded by his son Robert.
Sir Henry's grandson was one of the judges at the trial
of Charles I., and after the Restoration he was imprisoned
in the Tower of London, where he died in 1667. His
great grandson was created Earl of Portsmouth in 1743.
The castle was in the hands of the Confederates in
In 1 649 (whilst in the possession of Mr. Robert Wallop)
the army of the Commonwealth laid siege to the stronghold.
It was well manned and provisioned.
Close to its walls was the "fair house," formerly the
largest Franciscan monastery in Ireland,- and then the
residence of the Wallop family, who deserted it upon the
approach of the army.
\Vhen the castle was summoned the garrison refused to
surrender, but they hortly afterwards reconsidered their
decision and left their great guns, arms, ammunition, and
provisions in the hands of the victors.
Shortly afterwards the castle was, however, re-taken by
a trick. Some Royalist supporters feasted the men of the
garrison and sent women to them to sell whiskey. When
they were helplessly drunk the Irish overpowered them
and took possession of the castle.
The Governor, Captain Todd, and his wife, as well as
ENNISCORTHY CASTLE 171
the officers under him, were all put to death. Only four
of the soldiers were spared, they having betrayed the
fortress for the sum of /.
As soon as Colonel Cooke, the Governor of Wexford,
heard of the outrage he marched to Knniscorthy and took
the castle by storm, killing every one of the Irish garrison.
The first Earl of Portsmouth repaired the building and
leased it to Adam Colclough in 1745.
During the rebellion of 1/98 it was used as a prison by
the insurgents during the period that Enniscorthy remained
in their hands.
They greatly defaced the place, but the Earl of Ports-
mouth restored it between 1806 and 1812, altering it to
the requirements of a modern residence for his agent.
After this period it had many tenants.
Erom 1852 to 1863 it was used as an estate office, and a
printing press was also erected within the walls. It was
from here that the Enniscorthy News was first issued.
It fell into a state of dilapidation about 1863, though in
1867 it was used as a temporary barracks for the extra
police required in the town during the Eenian rising.
In 1898 it was sold to Mr. P. J. Roche of New Ross.
Flood, " History of Enniscorthy."
D. Murphy, "Cromwell in Ireland."
Brewer, " Beauties of Ireland."
Proceedings of Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.
Calendar of Patent and Close Rolls, Ireland.
Fiants of Elizabeth.
THE chief part of the town of Enniskillen is situated on an
island in Lough Erne, seventy-five miles vvest-by-south of
Belfast, in the County Fermanagh.
The name is supposed to be derived from a small islet
near to the eastern bridge where the heroic wife of a great
chief is buried, and which was called Enis-Cethlenn or
" the Island of Cethlenn."
The castle stands at the western side of the town, where
it commanded the lake.
It is now incorporated with the Castle Barrack, but the
original quadrangular keep (a storey lower than in former
times) is still to be seen, while the curtain wall and towers,
which were erected in 1611, and figure in the arms of the
town, are in a good state of preservation. The ditch which
once surrounded it has now been filled up. The castle
was the chief fortress of the Maguires, lords of Fermanagh.
In 1439 it was surrendered to Donall Ballach Maguire, and
three years later Thomas Oge Maguire gave it to Philip
In 1593 Maguire had the houses round the castle burnt
for fear of attack. Nevertheless, early the following year,
during his absence, Captain Dowdall laid siege to the
On the ninth day he attacked the castle " by boats, by
engines, by sap, by scaling." He placed 100 men in a
great boat covered with hurdles and hide, which, with
ENNISKILLEN CASTLK 175
Connor O'Cassidy as guide, drew up close to the wall of the
Here a fierce onslaught was made, and the garrison re-
treated to the keep. This, Captain Dowdall threatened to
blow up unless they surrendered, which they accordingly did.
The steersman of the boat gives the number as thirty-six
fighting men, and nearly the same of women and children ;
whereas Captain Dowdall states he put a hundred and fifty
to death, which is most likely an exaggeration.
He says it came into her Majesty's hands with small
loss, though it was very strong, with walls seven feet thick
and " soundrie secret fights within it of great annoyance
uppon the barbican."
He remained ten days mending the breaches, gates, and
doors, and laid in three months' provisions. He elected a
constable, and, garrisoning it with thirty soldiers, took his
Marshall Bagnall was on his way to ward the castle, but
Dowdall reported that he was too ill to await his coming.
The same year Maguire laid siege to the fortress, it is
said, at the instigation of the Earl of Tyrone. The reliev-
ing party was defeated, and the Lord Deputy himself set
out to the rescue of the garrison.
They had been reduced to eating horseflesh, and had
only one more animal when they were relieved. The ward
was then reduced from forty to thirty, and the castle
victualled for six months, which supply was to be aug-
mented by fishing for eels under the walls.
Shortly after this the bawn was seized and seven
warders killed; and in 1595 the whole fortress surren-
dered. In the State Papers the Lord Deputy declares
he cannot understand why this should have been, as the
castle was well provisioned. He says that he hears the
constable and fifteen warders were promised life and goods,
but that when they came out they were all put to death.
It does not seem that this report was confirmed.
i/6 CASTLES OF IRELAND
In 1596-97 the Lord Deputy asks for three falcons with
their carriages and ladles, to replace those which Maguire
had taken with the castle, and which had belonged to
Maguire's brother held the fortress in 1 598.
It was again in English possession in 1607, and Captain
William Cole was constable in 1610, when he asked for
some land to be allotted to his office. That immediately
round the castle was in the hands of Scottish settlers, and
there was no demesne land attached to the building.
In 1611 he built "a fair house" on the old site, adding
A moat surrounded the bawn, and the river was crossed
by a drawbridge. He also erected a wall 26 feet high with
flankers and parapet, which still remains.
The castle was granted to Sir William Cole in 1620 on a
lease for twenty-one years, and he was responsible for its
repair. The Earl of Enniskillen at present represents the
Four hundred pounds was granted for State repairs in
1646, some of which had been expended on the castle of
During the famous siege of the town in 1689 the
Governor, Gustavus Hamilton, took up his residence in
the castle, which belonged to Sir Michael Cole, who was
absent in England.
In 1749 the fortress was in ruins,
MS. Ordnance Survey.
Proceedings of Royal Society of Antiquaries, Ireland.
King, " Henry's Upper Lough Erne."
Witherrow, " Derry and Enniskillen."
Earl of Belmore, "Governor Hamilton and Captain Corry," and
Ancient Maps of Enniskillen, both in Ulster Journal of
Tins ancient seat of royalty is situated five miles and
three-quarters north-by-east of Enniscorthy, on the River
Bann, in the County of Wexford. The name comes from
Fearna, meaning alders, or " a place abounding in alders."
The erection of the first stone castle is ascribed to
Strongbow, and it is supposed to have been built upon the
site of the fortress or dun of his father-in-law, Dermot
MacMurrough, King of Leinster.
The present ruins are the remains of four round towers,
which were joined by high curtain walls enclosing a court-
yard. The building is one of great strength, and occupies
an imposing situation above the town.
The most perfect of the towers contains a chapel, with a
beautifully groined roof springing from consoles. Richard
Donovan, who inherited the property in 1773, is said to
have converted the sanctuary into an Orange Lodge,
where high revel was held, and a visitor in 1864 states that
an equestrian statue of William III. occupied the site of
the altar beneath the east window.
Mr. Baranger, however, writing in 1780, says that the
chapel was without a floor, and made one with the under
apartment. He describes the room above it as arched,
and also remarks that the edges of the stones of the long
loophole windows had been cut underneath as if for cannon
to be pointed through. A brass fieldpiece found in the
castle was used for the defence of Wexford, 1641.
Three kinds of masonry are visible in the construction
i;8 CASTLES OF IRELAND
of the tower, each occupying about a third of its height.
The bottom layer consists of small stones, the middle part
of larger ones, while those at the top are hewn.
At one time part of the wall connecting the towers was
used as a ball-alley (the ground being flagged for this
purpose), until the owner of the castle enclosed the ruins
with a wall for their preservation.
In 1865 part of the fortress on the north side fell in
a thunderstorm, and the tenant of that date procured leave
to blast the rest of this wall for fear of accident. The
ground is littered with broken masonry.
After Strongbow's death in 1177, Henry II. bestowed
the manor and castle of Ferns upon William FitzAdelm de
Burgo. The same year FitzAdelm seized the Black Castle
of Wicklow from the three sons of Maurice Fitzgerald,
giving them Ferns by way of compensation.
The brothers at once began to rebuild and strongly
fortify their new possession, but it was hardly completed
before Walter Allemand, a nephew of FitzAdelm, attacked
the castle and left it in a ruined condition.
William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, who married the
grand-daughter of Dermot MacMurrough, began to erect a
much larger fortress on the same site in 1192. He was
succeeded by his son, who had married the daughter of
King John, and he completed the stronghold in 1224. He
then presented it to the Bishop of Ferns as restitution for
Church land which his father had seized.
It remained in the possession of the Church from 1224
to 1364, during which time it was used as an Episcopal
In 1243 Geoffrey St. John, Vicar-General of Ferns, and
Escheator of Ireland, came into residence, and was suc-
ceeded by Bishop Lambert in 1282, who died in the castle,
He was followed by Richard of Northampton, who had
been Canon of Kildare, while in 1304 Robert Waldrond
was consecrated, and took up his abode at Ferns, During
FERNS CASTLE 179
this time the neighbourhood was much disturbed, and the
next Bishop was arraigned for high treason in 1317, but
was pardoned the following year.
In 1331 the clan of O'Toole seized the castle, pillaged,
and burned it. Next year the Crown took possession
again, and three years later they thought it expedient to
appoint Lord Gerald Rochford constable of Ferns Castle.
He held office for ten years, and was summoned to
Parliament as a Baron.
In 1347 Bishop Esmond came into possession of the
stronghold, and was succeeded by Bishops Charnels and
Denn. The latter prelate was the last Bishop to reside in
the castle, for from 1402 to 1530 the stronghold was in
possession of the MacMurroughs.
At the end of this period it was captured by Lord
Deputy Grey. He was on his way from Kilkenny to
Dublin, when he sent word from Leghlyn to Stephen
FitzHenry at Kilkea, to meet him at Ferns Castle with his
guns and men.
Lord Grey marched by night, and arrived in the morning
before the fortress. He demanded its surrender, which
was refused by the garrison, "using very spiteful language."
The day was spent in preparing for the attack. He posted
his men round the building in the ditches and other cover,
so that none of the besieged should escape, and the troops
broke down the gate leading to the drawbridge. A Mr.
Thomas Allen, who was with the attacking party, noticed
that one of the garrison kept watch every now and then
from one particular place, and he sent a gunner to hide
himself where he could cover the spot with his weapon.
This was successful, and the man was shot as soon as he
returned. He was the governor and chief gunner of the
The rest of the garrison then asked for a parley, which
Lord Grey told them that unless they surrendered before
i So CASTLES OF IRELAND
the arrival of the ordnance, which was within a mile of thd
stronghold, he would not accept a surrender, but kill them
all. They then agreed to give the castle up, and two of
the English were stationed in it during the night.
The next day the Lord Deputy appointed a garrison of
the MacMurroughs to guard the stronghold, taking their
chief with him to Dublin as a hostage.
A writer of this time describes the castle as the old
inheritance of the Earl of Shrewsbury or the Duke of
Norfolk, and "oon of the auncientis and strongest castells
within this lande."
In 1536 Cahir Maclnnycross Kavanagh, the Mac-
Murrough, was appointed constable by the Crown, but
two years later he was superseded by Sir Richard Butler.
At the time great anxiety was felt for fear of an attack
from the Kavanaghs ; and in 1550, we learn from the
State Papers that Cahir M'Arte Kavanagh had managed
to get possession of the castle by treatment.
The next year Richard Kettyng asked the Privy Council
to confirm the King's letter granting him the stronghold,
but they refused.
It was considered necessary to have English captains in
the castles of the districts to hold the Kavanaghs in sub-
jection, so that a list of constables to Eerns Castle is
recorded, the most remarkable being the Mastersons,
father and son, the former being accused of conspiring
against the Queen in 1569.
Thrilling traditions are related regarding his wife,
Catherien de Clare, who was said to decoy the neigh-
bouring chiefs and Irish gentlemen within the fortress
under the guise of hospitality and murder them by pushing
them down a trapdoor.
In 1588 Masterson entered a petition for land, as
recompense for thirty-four years' service.
His son spent large sums on rebuilding the castle j
nevertheless it was granted to Lord Andley in 1608.
FERNS CASTLE 181
Sir Charles Coote occupied the stronghold in 1641, but
finding he was unable to hold it against the insurgents, he
dismantled the outworks, blew up part of the building, and
left the neighbourhood.
It must, however, have been partly repaired, for eight
years later, when Cromwell's commander, Colonel Reynolds,
appeared before it, the garrison fled, leaving their arms,
ammunition, and provisions behind them.
In 1669 Charles II. granted the castle to Arthur
Parsons ; while in 1689 it seems to have been in the
possession of Alderman Thomas Keiran, who gave it to
his brother-in-law, Richard Donovan, in 1694, from whom
it descended to its present owner, Richard Donovan, Esq.,
D.L., of Ballymore House, Camolin.
AUTHORITI KS CONSULT!' n.
Calendar of State Papers.
Calendar of Carew MSS.
W. G. Flood, " History of Knniscorthy."
G. Bassett, " Wexford."
G. Stokes, " Ireland and Anglo-Norman Church."
G. Griffiths, " Chronicles of County Wexford."
Savage, "Picturesque Ireland."
Proceedings of Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.
FERRYCARRIG AND SHAN A COURT
THE chief interest attaching to the castles of Ferrycarrig
and Shana Court is the fact that one or other of them was
the first Anglo-Norman fortress erected in Ireland.
The sites of the two strongholds occupy positions one
on each side of the Slaney, a little more than two miles
west of Wexford. The parish of Carrig lies on the right
bank of the river in the Barony of West Shelmalier, and
here on an isolated rock commanding the ferry is situated
Ferrycarrig Castle Carrig signifying a rock.
It is a square tower of great age and occupies the whole
summit of the rocky point on which it stands, and does
not seem, therefore, to have ever been of larger dimensions
than at present. The masonry is rough and massive and
the loopholes unusually small, while the door is so low and
narrow that it is necessary to stoop when entering.
An opening in the wall is usually called the " murdering
hole," but as there is another aperture to correspond with
it in the exterior at the base they are likely to have had
some other use.
The close resemblance which this tower bears to
Trajan's Tower at Paboquaipass on the Danube, even to
a similar entrance, has been the subject of remark.
On the south bank of the river, where the Crimean
monument now stands, were traceable some years ago the
fosse and outworks of Shana Court. They occupied about
half an acre, but the walls of the fortress had beer)
FERRYCARRIG AND SHAXA COURT 183
demolished to supply stones for the building of the old
mansion of Belmont.
Tradition asserts that Ferrycarrig was erected by Fitz-
Stephen, who landed in Ireland in 1169, and that Shana
Court was built by King John, it deriving its name from
his having held court there as Viceroy.
We know FitzStephen de Marisco erected a castle at
Carrig from the following passage in Giraldus Cambrensis :
" MacMorogh marched to besiege Dublin, but left Fit/-
Stephen behind, who was then building a hold or castle
upon a certain rocky hill called the Carricke, about two
miles from Wexford, which place, although it was very
strong of itself, yet by industry and labour it was made
From the same source we also learn that it was
environed on two sides by the river, but this might apply
equally to either fortress.
A further description says : " It was at first made but of
rods and wiffes, according to the manner in those daies,
but since builded with stone, and was the strongest fort
then in those parts of the land ; but being a place not
altogether sufficient for a prince, and yet it was thought
too good and strong for a subject, it was pulled down,
defaced, and razed, and so dooth still remane."
The most likely assumption, on the whole, seems to be
that King John erected on the ruined site of FitzStephen's
stronghold the castle known as Shana Court, the stones of
which were used in building Belmont, and that Ferrycarrig
was an outwork of the larger fortress or else was erected
by the Roches of Artramont as a watch-tower to protect
FitzStephen suffered a memorable siege in his castle in
1 170. He had weakened his garrison by sending a detach-
ment to serve with Strongbow, when the men of Wexford
and Kinsellagh rose and laid siege to Carrig Castle with a
force of about three thousand.
1 84 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Several desperate assaults were successfully repulsed
before the attackers asked for a parley. This was granted,
and they informed FitzStephen that Strongbow and his fol-
lowers had been utterly routed, and that King Roderic was
marching with a great army to annihilate his garrison, but
that out of respect to his person they wished him to escape.
FitzStephen could not be induced to believe the tale
until three bishops took a false oath as to its truth, where-
upon he capitulated upon honourable terms. These were
at once violated, and, against the conditions, he was made
prisoner and sent to Beggery Island, while many of those
with him were killed.
Donald Kavanagh, with great difficulty, arrived in
Dublin to inform Strongbow that FitzStephen could not
hold out more than three days. It was on this occasion
that Maurice FitzGerald made his famous speech, in which
he said : " FitzStephen, also, whose courage and noble
daring opened to us the way into this island, is now with
his small force besieged by a hostile nation. What should
we, therefore, wait for ? "
Stirred by his eloquence, the English forces, though of
small numbers, set out and carried victory before them,
but in the meantime Carrig had surrendered.
Strongbow was warned that if his forces marched on
Wexford all the prisoners would be at once slain, so that
FitzStephen was not liberated until King Henry arrived
in Ireland in 1 172.
Ferrycarrig is situated on the Earl of Donoghmore's
J. Ryan, " History and Antiquities of Carlo w."
Brewer, " Beauties of Ireland.''
Proceedings of Royal Society of Antiquaries.
Marquis of Kildare, " Earls of Kildare."
Joyce, " Irish Place Names."
" Ferrycarrig," in The People,
"Oh, sweetly rural is the scene
Where Geashill Castle stands ;
Beneath the line of green old hills
This lovely vale expands."
TlIE village of Geashill is situated in the barony of the
same name, about eight miles south-east of Tullamore, in
the King's County. On a long ridge near arc the ruins of
the castle, adjoining a modern lodge usually occupied by
the agent of the Digby estate. The ancient fortress is
three storeys high, and a spiral stairway still leads to the
summit, where there is an iron chair. An underground
passage is said to run to the ruined Abbe}' close by.
The date of the castle's erection by the Fitzgeralds is
ascribed to the twelfth century, and in 1203 or 1204 the
King commanded it to be delivered to William Marshall,
Karl of Pembroke, as the guardian of Maurice, second
Baron of Offaly, who was heir to Gerald FitzMaurice.
In 1305 the sept of the O'Dempseys slaughtered a great
number of the O'Connors near the castle, and the following
year the stronghold was destroyed by these native Irish.
The Hook of Howth says : " The Lord of Offalye buildcd
the castle of Geschell " in 1307, so it was, no doubt, rebuilt
this year by Thomas FitzMaurice, " the crooked heir," who
died in 1298, and who is supposed to have been prevented
from inheriting as head of the family on account of some
deformity. Juliana FitzGerald granted the castle to his
1 86 CASTLES OF IRELAND
son, who was her cousin, and afterwards ist Earl of
An inquisition was held at Kildare in 1282 upon the
estate of the late John FitzThomas, when his heir, Thomas
FitzMaurice, came of age. It was shown that the former
had held lands from Maurice FitzGerald " for a moiety of
the service of one knight whenever royal service should be
summoned, rendering suit nevertheless at the court of the
said Maurice FitzGerald at Geashill."
Lord Leonard Gray and the chieftain O'Mulmoy seized
the castle, and abbey of Killeigh in 1538. In both they
found great stores of corn, part of which they burnt and
part carried off.
On an ancient map of Leix, dated about 1563, both the
castles of Lea and Geashill are marked as ruins, but in Sir
Henry Sydney's account of Ireland shortly afterwards he
writes : " Geshell, in the King's County, is very necessary
to be had of the Earl of Kildare ; it is a matter of conse-
quence for her Majesty's service in that county."
James I. granted the barony of Geashill in 1619 and
1629 to Lady Lettice Digby, widow of Sir Robert
Digby, of Warwickshire, as compensation for not inherit-
ing as heir-general of the house of Kildare, she being the
only child of the eldest son of the nth Earl of Kildare.
At the same time he created her Baroness of Offaly, and
she lived quietly at Geashill from that date until 1642,
when the great rebellion broke out and the Confederate
Catholics laid siege to her stronghold.
A kinsman of hers named Henry Dempsy, brother of
Lord Clanmalier, was in command, and despatched a
letter " To the Honourable and thrice virtuous Lady, the
Lady Digby," demanding that she should surrender the
castle to his Majesty and offering her and her household a
free pass to wherever they wished, threatening at the same
time if she did not comply to murder every Protestant in
GEASHILL CASTLE 187
To this demand the Baroness sent the following answer :
" I received your letter, wherein you threaten to sack this
my castle, by his Majesty's authority. I have ever been a
loyal subject and good neighbour among you, and, there-
fore, cannot but wonder at such an assault. I thank you
for your offer of a convoy, wherein I hold little safety ;
and, therefore, my resolution is, that being free of offending
his Majesty, or doing wrong to any of you, I will live and
die innocently, and will do the best to defend my own,
leaving the issue to God. And though I have been, and
still am desirous to avoid the shedding of Christian blood,
yet, being provoked, your threats' shall no wit dismay me.
The castle was surrounded by bog and wood, and was,
in consequence, somewhat difficult of access, so that upon
receiving her letter the enemy retired to make more
elaborate preparations for attack.
They collected a number of pots and pans, with which
a man from Athboy constructed a cannon. It had to be
cast three times before it was successful.
After two months the attackers returned to the castle
with Lord Clanmalier in command. He despatched
another letter demanding surrender to the brave lad}-,
which received a spirited reply, reiterating her deter-
mination to endeavour to hold her own against all
Upon its receipt they discharged the gun, which burst at
the first shot, but a fusilade of muskets was kept up until
As the Baroness was looking out of one of the windows
a ball struck the wall near her, and taking out her hand-
kerchief, she contemptuously dusted the spot.
It is said that one of her sons, having fallen into the
enemy's hands, was brought before the castle in chains,
with a threat that they would kill him unless she surren-
dered. She, however, replied that if they touched a hair
iSS CASTLES OF IRELAND
of his head she would at once put to death a Roman
Catholic priest who was within the walls.
At dark the enemy retired, again sending her a letter
offering her terms, which received the same refusal as the
others had done, and the messenger she sent was kept a
Lady Offaly managed to let Sir Charles Coote, then at
Naas, know that she needed assistance, and Philip Sydney,
Viscount Lisle, at once set out from Dublin to her relief,
accompanied by Sir Charles Coote, Sir George Wentworth,
JLord Digby, the Baroness's eldest son, and a considerable
force of horse and foot.
Lady Offaly had also despatched an appeal for help to
the FitzGeralds, but the letter fell into the enemy's hands
instead, who at once renewed the siege when they learnt
of her straits.
As the English forces advanced the besiegers skirmished
and retreated. The relieving party supplied the fortress
with food and ammunition, but at Lady Offaly's request
she remained in the castle.
The following October she was again attacked by
Charles Dempsie, but this time was shortly relieved by
Sir Richard Grenville, and after this she retired to Cole's
Hill, in Warwickshire, where she died in 1658.
Her eldest son, Lord Digby, inherited the castle, and it
is still in the family's possession.
Marquis of Kildare, " Earls of Kildare."
J. Wright, " King's County Directory."
Carew MSS., including Book of Howth.
Hore, " Rental Book of Gerald, gth Earl of Kildare," and " Notes
on a Fac-Simile of an Ancient Map of Leix," both in Journal of
Roval Society of Antiquaries, Ireland,
Tins castle is situated in the Barony of Lower Glenarm, a
little more than twenty-five miles north of Belfast, in the
County Antrim, where the Glenarm rivulet enters the bay.
The original stronghold was erected by the Byset family
about the middle of the thirteenth century, and came into
the MacDonnell family through the marriage of Margery
The castle stood on the southern side of the river at the
head of the street which leads from the barbican, and on
the opposite bank from the present building.
In 12/8 an inquisition was held after the death of two
John Bysets to determine if the Karl of Ulster was right
in making the fortress over to the Bishop of Connor as
ecclesiastical property, and it was decided that the Bysets
had not held the castle from the church.
Captain Pers and Malbie placed Randal Oge in
possession of the stronghold in 1 568, but the same year
his ward surrendered it.
In 1 597 it is reported James and Randal M'Donnell
" broke " the castle, and it does not appear to have been
afterwards rebuilt, although the ruins were standing for
Sir Randal MacDonnell was granted the estate in 1603,
and began to erect the present castle.
Sir Awla M'Awla petitioned against his possession of
Glenarm in 1610, but apparently without effect.
Sir Randal greatly enlarged the dwelling in 1636, and
the following inscription was placed over the entrance :
" With the leave of God this castle was built by Sir
i92 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Randal McDonnel, Knight, Erie of Antrim, having to wife
Dame Aellis O'Neill, in the year of our Lord God, 1636.
Deus est adjutor meus."
Shortly after this the family made Glenarm their chief
place of residence instead of Dunluce Castle.
The fortress is approached by a barbican standing on
the northern side of the bridge, while an avenue of limes
leads to the hall door. The building is flanked by towers
crowned with cupolas and vanes, and the gables are
decorated with heraldic devices.
An embattled wall guards the terrace on the river side.
The hall, which is also used as a billiard-room, is
especially handsome, while the dining-room and drawing-
room are also fine apartments.
Some treasure chests said to have belonged to the
Spanish Armada are preserved in the castle, but a doubt
has been thrown upon their being of such a date.
During the rebellion of 1798, the castle was used as the
headquarters of the Yeomanry. The rebels had decided
to attack it on the 8th of June, and the wives of the
Yeomen, whom they had captured, were to be placed in
front of the insurgents in their advance.
This diabolical plan was frustrated on the very morning
of the intended attack by news of the defeat at Antrim,
whereupon the camp was broken up.
Glenarm is the seat of the Earl of Antrim, the present
representative being the sixth peer.
Hill, " MacDonnells of Antrim."
Thomson, " Highways and Bycways in Donegal and Antrim."
" Guide to the Giant's Causeway," in Dublin Penny Journal.
Drew, " Old Iron Treasure Chests" ; Smith, " Memories of '98," in
Ulster Journal of A rchfcolog)'.
THE origin of the title Knight of Glin, or Knight of the
Valley, seems not to be accurately known, but the
designation has been recorded as in use during the reign
of Henry III. The Knights of Glin, also called the Black
Knights, belong to the great Geraldine family, and owed a
certain allegiance to the Earls of Desmond, which is
described as follows : " Divers customs of meat and drink,
together with rising of men at the Earl's calling to the
number of 60 kearne."
The housing and feeding of some of the Earl's men were
Glin is a small market town and seaport in the Barony
of Shanid, in the County Limerick, at the junction of a
rivulet with the Shannon, twenty-six miles west by
south of Limerick City.
Of the ancient fortress situated in the town, nothing now
remains but the keep. It measures 38 feet by 35 exter-
nally, and the walls are 8 feet in thickness. It is at
present about 40 feet in height, but was at one time
crowned by a turret in the eastern corner. The courtyard
walls were 102 feet in length and 92 in breadth. The chief
entrance, to the north, was defended by a semicircular
outwork. The great hall was situated on the western side
of the courtyard, while the keep was in the south-west
corner. The two eastern angles were defended by small
towers. A moat surrounded the castle filled with water
from the Shannon tributary.
194 CASTLES OF IRELAND
The Knight of Glin was a very important chieftain in
Limerick, maintaining an ordinary force of ten horsemen
and a hundred and forty foot soldiers. During the
Desmond wars he shared the fortunes of the Earl, and
in 1569 both the Knight and the son were attainted,
the latter being executed.
The estates were, however, very shortly afterwards
restored, and in the rebellion of the Northern Earls and
the " Sugan Earl " of Desmond, the Knight of Glin was
again amongst the disaffected.
In the summer of 1600 Sir George Carew started on an
expedition to the west to restore peace in that quarter.
He had with him a force of one thousand five hundred
men, and was accompanied by the Earl of Thomond.
The army marched through Kerry to Askeaton, where
there was a halt for four days awaiting provisions, which
had been sent by water from Limerick. On the 4th of
July they marched twelve miles to Ballintare, the enemy
moving in front within view. The next morning's march
brought them before Glin Castle, the rebels still offering
The Four Masters describe the route taken as having
been from Limerick along the northern bank of the
Shannon through Clare, the troops ferrying themselves
across the river at Glin, but it is most likely that Sir
George Carew's biographer gives the correct line of
Captain Gawin Harvey's ship, with the ordnance on
board, had been anchored in the Shannon for fourteen
days awaiting their arrival, and the guns were at once
unshipped upon the arrival of the troops.
That night the forces entrenched themselves between
the castle and the river, and the next day, under the guise
of a parley, they managed to plant the cannon without
The next day the Knight of Glin, who was not within
GLIX CASTLE 195
the castle, asked for a safe conduct to the English camp,
which was granted. Upon arrival he demanded to see
the President, but was refused unless upon an uncon-
ditional surrender. This he would not consent to, and was,
therefore, ordered to depart. Seeing his son in the camp,
whom he had delivered as a hostage some time previously,
he seemed to hesitate, but as he still held out for terms the
Earl of Thomond broke off the negotiations, and the Knight
and his attendants retired to a neighbouring hill to watch
Later the Constable of the fortress sent a message
to the Earl of Thomond begging an interview, which was
granted. He began by stating that the love he bore the
Earl, being a Thomond man himself, had induced him to
warn the English to depart, as the Earl of Desmond with
three thousand Connaught men were only two miles off,
and would most likely attack the camp and drive them all
into the river. The Earl laughed at his forebodings, and
told him to deliver the castle and so save himself and the
warders from death. This offer he refused, and the Presi-
dent, hearing he had done so, sent a message to say that
he hoped to place his head on a stake in two days' time.
One of the cannon becoming clogged, Sir George Carew
ordered it to be filled with a charge in inverted order and
the fire put to the mouth, so as to clear the touch-hole by
the explosion. This was carried out with great success,
much to the relief of the besiegers.
A fire of small shot was kept up from the castle at the
ordnance, and the President, placing the Knight's son on
one of the cannon, sent a message to the garrison to say
he had given them a mark to aim at. The Constable
replied that the Knight of Glin might have more sons, and
that the child should not deter him from firing.
Sir George Carew, however, removed the child, and
commenced the battery. A breach was made into the
cellar under the great hall, one gunner only being killed.
196 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Captain Flower then led the attack and entered the hall
through the breach, forcing the ward to retire. The flag
of the besiegers was hoisted from the turrets of the hall,
and night coming on Captain Slingsby was ordered to hold
the position until the morning.
A dropping fire was kept up all night. The Constable,
seeing that to successfully hold the castle was impossible,
tried to escape with some of the warders, but he and others
were killed in the attempt, one only getting away. His
head was placed upon a stake in the camp as the President
The rest of the garrison retired to the keep. In the
morning the attackers burned the heavy wooden door
which guarded the stairway, but they had to wait two
hours for the srnoke to clear away. As soon as it had
done so, one of the garrison appeared to ask for the lives of
his comrades if they surrendered, but it appears he gave
himself up before an answer was returned.
The officers and men then ascended the stairs in single
file as the width of the passage necessitated, but met with
no opposition, the garrison having retired to the battle-
ments, which were protected only by one door.
Here a terrible hand to hand encounter took place.
Some of the warders were killed, while the rest jumped
from the parapet into the water below, and were either
drowned or killed by the guards stationed beneath the
The English lost ten soldiers and one ensign, while
about twenty-one men were wounded. Of the defenders
of the castle about eighty men were killed, while the Four
Masters state that some women and children also lost their
lives. They remark that the place would not have been
so easily won had not the "Earl of Desmond's people
dispersed from him."
The rebels had burned the town of Glin upon the
approach of the Royal troops.
GUN CASTLE 197
During the rising the castle had been used as a store-
house for the "Sugan Earl's" forces, and a Limerick
merchant called Anthony Arthurs seems to have dispensed
his goods from it.
Sir George Carew placed a guard of twenty-one soldiers
in it under the command of Captain Nicholas Mordant.
Edmund EitzGerald, Knight of the Valley, was restored
to most of his estates in 1603, and six years later he
appealed to the Lords of the Council against Patrick
Crosby obtaining Glin Castle by the King's letter, on the
pretext that it was kept from the Knight to prevent his
rebelling. Crosby had undertaken to repair and fortify the
fortress at his own cost. The Knight stated he had been
pardoned by Lord Mountjoy, that his lands had been
restored, and shortly afterwards the castle as well.
The next year Sir Arthur Chichester explains that the
building was occupied only by Anthony Arthur, who sold
wines in it, and that he had therefore given it to Crosby.
He also stated that the Knight's eldest son was abroad.
In 1681 the castle was in the possession of Major
The present Glin Castle, seat of Desmond Fitzjohn
Lloyd EitzGerald, Knight of Glin, is situated about a mile
west of the town. Over the yard gate is an engraved stone
bearing the following inscription : " Edmond Gerrald, Knight
of the Vally. Onnor Cartie, his wife. Fear God always
and remember the Poor. I.H.S. Anno Domoni, 1615."
Pacata Hiberniu (Dublin reprint, 1810).
J. Dowel, " County of Limerick."
Calendar of State Papers.
Donovan, " Annals of the Four Masters."
Journal of Thomas Dineley (Kilkenny Archatological Society's -Journal).
GREENCASTLE, COUNTY DONEGAL
THIS castle is situated on the west side of the entrance to
Lough Foyle, two and a half miles north-east of Moville,
in the Barony of Innishowen.
It was erected upon a rock and defended by two towers
which contained the chief apartments, while a third tower
defended the northern end.
It is built of green fire stone, from which its present
name may have been derived.
In Macator's map, which was published in 1629, it is
marked as " New Castle," and it is still known in Irish by
Hanmer's " Chronicle " and Grace's " Annals " state that
Arx Viridis in Ultonia was thrown down in 1260, so that
it is likely that the present building, which was erected by
Richard de Burgo, the Red Earl of Ulster, in 1305,
replaced a former fortress.
In 1332 William de Burgo, or the "Dun Earl," owned
the fortress, which he had inherited from his father, and
having taken prisoner Walter, son of Sir Walter de Burgo,
he starved him to death in the castle. Sir Arthur
Chichester excavated one of the pillars of the dungeon in
which it is supposed he was confined, and a mark was
discovered that most likely had held a ring to which the
prisoner was chained. The " dreary and dismal " prisons
are still to be seen.
The Dun Earl was stabbed to death the next year in
revenge for the murder.
The following legend is told regarding Walter de Burgo's
death. The Earl had a beautiful daughter who one day, in
GREENCASTLE, COUNTY DONEGAL 201
crossing the sands on the shore under Benevenagh, became
engulfed in quicksands, and was nearly losing her life when
Sir Walter Burk's son, who was serving in the army of
O'Neill and O'Donnell, seeing her danger from the heights
above rushed down and saved her from the peril.
The same year this young man was taken prisoner by
the girl's father in his war with the O'Donnells and starved
to death at Greencastle. The Earl one day, during his
unfortunate victim's captivity, discovered his daughter
carrying food to the prisoner, and seizing her by the hair,
dragged her to the battlements and hurled her over on to
the rocks below.
The fortress was for many years in possession of the
I' 1 J 555 Calvagh O'Donnell went to Scotland to raise forces
with the help of Mac Calin (Gillaspick Don), and returning
with them and a cannon called gonna cam, or " crooked
gun," he set to work and demolished the New Castle.
It was, however, reported as wardable in 1586. The
last of the O'Dohertys to hold the fortress was knighted
by Queen Elizabeth, but shortly afterwards he went into
rebellion, and his estate was forfeited.
In 1610 it was granted with other property to Sir
Arthur Chichester with an allowance to maintain the
garrison. Two years later he asked to be allowed for
horsemen at Greencastle instead of the ten warders, and
in 1615 Lord Chichester was granted Greencastle for three
lives by letters patent.
In 1/52 it was on the Earl of Donegal's estate.
O'Donovan, "Annuls of the Four Masters."
MS. Ordnance Survey.
Stokes, " Pococke's Tour in Ireland in 1752."
Blacklev, " A Tour through Innishowen."
GREENCASTLE, COUNTY DOWN
UPON the northern shore of Carlingford Lough, in the
Barony of Mourne, four and a half miles south-west of
Kilteel, County Down, are situated the ruins of this castle.
It is a very fine specimen of Norman architecture, and was
erected soon after the landing of the first English settlers
so as to secure communication between the Pale and the
outlying district of Lecale, as well as to command the
entrance to Carlingford Lough.
At present the remains chiefly consist of the keep, which
was a high rectangular building, with square towers at the
angles. A winding stair in the south-west turret leads to
the top. The stone floor of the great hall, measuring 70
feet by 40, is supported by arches which form vaults in the
basement. The upper floors have disappeared, and were
probably of wood.
The traces of extensive outworks can be seen round the
building. On the west side stands a house which is at
present inhabited by a farmer, but which for many years
formed the chief residence of the Bagnall family during
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The castle belonged to the Du Burgos or Burkes, Earls
of Ulster, and in 1312 Sir Maurice, the son of Thomas,
married Catherine, daughter of the " Red Earl " of Ulster,
and the next day, being the i6th of August, Thomas, the
2nd Earl of Kildare, " a prudent and wise man," married
her sister, Lady Joan de Burgh, also in the castle. The
Lady Joan had two other married sisters, one being the
GREENCASTLK, COUNTY DOWN 205
wife of King Robert Bruce, and the other Countess of
In 1335 there was an order to send six "balistas" to
furnish " Viride Castrum," or the Greencastle. The same
year William de Logan was ordered to pay Henry de
Maunderville 20 marks out of the rents of the late Earl of
Ulster, which were in the King's hands, on account of the
minority of the heir. This reward was for De Maunderville
having twice relieved the castle of Greencastle with men-
at-arms when it was besieged by the " felons " of Ulster.
It was again attacked by the Irish in 1343, and this time
it was carried by storm and dilapidated, but was shortly
The late Constable, William de Doun, received pardon
in 1356 for having seized and imprisoned Rosea, daughter
of Richard Foy.
During Henry IV.'s reign there was only one constable
between the castles of Carlingford and Greencastle. It is
reported that Stephen Geron received 20 a year for the
guardianship of Greencastle and .5 for Carlingford.
In 1403 John Moore, who was then constable, petitioned
for a rise of salary, and he was granted ^40 a year on
condition he spent 10 marks of it on repairs. The amount
was to be paid out of the rents of Carlingford, Cooley, and
" le Mourne."
None but Englishmen were permitted to hold the
appointment in 1495.
Notwithstanding this, when M'Donell made his sub-
mission in 1 542 he requested to be granted Greencastle,
and the lands lying waste around it, for which favour he
promised military service.
The Government did not evidently see their way to
accede to his request, and seven years later it is reported
that the fortress was in a " wretched condition."
In 1552 it was granted to Sir Nicholas Bagnall, in whose
family's possession it remained for many years.
206 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Sir Arthur Chichester was granted means to provide ten
warders for Greencastle in 1612, but this does not seem to
have interfered with the Bagnall possession, as in 1620
Arthur Bagnall held the manors and lordships of Green-
castle and Mourne.
Three years later it is recommended that the ward be
moved from Culmore to Greencastle, and the stronghold
was garrisoned during the rebellion of 1641.
J. O'Laverty, " Diocese of Down and Connor."
\V. Harris, " County of Down."
K. Pnieger, " Official Guide to County Down."
Marquis of Kildare, " Earls of Kildare."
ABOUT seven miles east-north-east of Dublin, in the
Barony of Coolock, is situated the village of Howth, on
the promontory of the same name.
A short way from the town, nestling under the lee of the
hill is the castle, the seat of the Earls of Howth.
It is a long battlemented building, with square towers at
A large flight of steps gives admission to the hall, which
extends along the whole length of the building. Here is
preserved the two-handed sword of Sir Amoricus Tristram
(the founder of the St. Laurence family in Ireland) with
which he is said to have fought his first Irish battle. Also
three inscribed bells, which were removed from the Abbey,
are preserved in the castle.
The fortress seems to have undergone much alteration
since its first erection, and the great gateway tower, which
now flanks the main building on one side, appears to be of
sixteenth-century architecture and is no doubt part of the
The stronghold was erected in 1 564 by Christopher,
the twentieth baron, but whether it was built on the site of
an older castle or whether Corr Castle, also situated on the
peninsular, was the ancient fortress of the St. Laurence
family, does not seem to be known.
The mortar of the early building, like the Tower of
London, is reported to have been mixed with blood.
1 5 jo,
2to CASTLES OF IRELAND
Until far into the nineteenth century the castle was sur-
rounded by a fosse.
There are several inscribed and figured stones over the
entrance to the stable-yard, and also one built into the wall
near the garden gate.
Sir John de Courcy and his sister's husband, Sir
Amoricus Tristram, arrived at Howth in 1177. Their
companionship in arms is said to have been the outcome
of a compact to share each other's fortunes made in the
Church of St. Mary at Rouen.
Upon the arrival of the ship at Howth, De Courcy, being
ill, remained on board, while Sir Amoricus took command
of their forces in the first engagement with the Danes, who
fiercely opposed their landing.
After a great battle, in which Sir Amoricus lost seven
blood relations, the enemy were completely defeated at the
bridge of the Evora, and the lands of Howth were granted
to the victor as a reward of prowess.
He then accompanied Sir John de Courcy to Down,
where he also gained possessions and did great deeds of
valour. A story is told that after the first battle in the
north Sir Amoricus was found leaning on his shield under
a hedge, bleeding from three large wounds, and having
sustained himself by eating the wild roses and honeysuckle
which grew within his reach. His life was despaired of for
nine days, but he eventually recovered, and lived to die
heroically among a group of outnumbered infantry, having
slain his horse so that he could not save himself by flight.
The St. Laurence coat of arms is a shield with cross
swords and roses in a bloody field, which may have
originated from the wild flowers Sir Amoricus gathered.
An early chronicler says of him that he might "be
chosen from amongst a thousand knights for beauty and
heroic courage, as well as for humility and courtesy to
his inferiors, yielding to none but in the way of gentleness."
After his death his sons gradually lost his northern
HOWTH CASTLE 21 i
possessions, and King John confirmed the grant of the
lands of Howth to the third baron by charter. It may
have been at this time that the family name was changed
from Tristram to St. Laurence. There seems to be no
historical evidence for the tradition that the name was
altered to commemorate a victory gained upon St.
I n ! 575> as Grace O'Mailley was returning from her
famous visit to Queen Elizabeth she landed at Howth,
but found the castle gates closed, the reason assigned
being that it was the dinner hour. Shocked at such
want of Irish hospitality she seized the young heir, who
was playing on the strand, and carried him off to her
castle in Mayo. She refused to restore him until she
received a promise that the gates of Howth Castle should
never again be closed at dinner hour. This child was
Nicholas, afterwards twenty-first baron. A picture at
the castle is supposed to represent the incident.
Lord Mountjoy, as Lord Deputy, and Sir George Carew,
as Lord President of Munster, landed at Howth in 1599,
and spent a night at the castle before proceeding to
In 1607 the State Papers report that the old Countess of
Kildare and Lady Dowager of Delvin and her children
were at Howth in Sir Christopher St. Laurence's house, and
the following year it is mentioned that Sir John Talbot's
house is near the castle of Howth.
King William slept a night in the castle in 1690, and his
room was kept unaltered from the time he had used it.
Dean Swift was a constant visitor at Howth, and an
original portrait of him, painted by Bindon in 1735, hangs
in the castle.
Near the garden stands the old elm known as " The
Tristram Tree," which has been carefully propped and
preserved in every way on account of the tradition
attaching to it. It is said that as long as this tree lives
212 CASTLES OF IRELAND
there will be an heir to the noble house which was founded
by Sir Amoricus Tristram.
To " follow as closely as Lord Howth's Rat " was at
one time a common simile for any faithful or attached
animal, and the legend which gave rise to the saying
is the following :
One of the former Lords of Howth had retired to his
castle to retrench a somewhat diminished heritage, and
one night while living thus in solitary state there was a
Word was brought to the fortress that a ship was being
wrecked under the cliffs near the Abbey, and every one
rushed off to the spot to render what assistance was
possible, and amongst them Lord Howth.
Every effort was, however, unavailing, and the ship went
down apparently with all hands. But as morning broke
the eager watchers espied a frail, roughly-put-together raft
floating towards them, and on this was a beautiful woman,
with a wooden chest beside her.
As soon as she landed Lord Howth courteously offered
her the hospitality of the castle, and ordered his servants
to carry the heavy coffer thither.
She continued to live at Howth Castle, and her host
became passionately enamoured of her, and wished to
marry her, but she persistently refused his offers, and
urged him daily to seek another bride.
At last he gave way to her entreaties, and became
affianced to the daughter of a neighbouring nobleman.
As the time for the marriage drew near the fair stranger
presented Lord Howth with a ribbon wrought with strange
characters, which she told him to wear on his wrist and
guard as his luck. Then she left the castle and was heard
of no more.
In due course Lord Howth brought home his bride, and
with true womanly curiosity she wanted to know why he
never removed the ribbon from his arm.
One night, while he was asleep, she untied it, and took
HOWTH CASTLE 213
it over to the fire to decipher the inscription, but it acci-
dentally ignited, and was burnt to ashes.
Lord Hovvth was terribly distressed at its loss, declaring
that his good fortune would now forsake him.
Shortly after this there was a great feast in the castle.
In the midst of the festivities the dogs in the courtyard
began to give tongue, as if in pursuit of game, and in a
minute a terrified rat had jumped on the banqueting table,
and, pausing before Lord Howth, looked up piteously in
his face for protection.
He ordered the dogs to be called off, and from that hour
the rat never left him.
His wife and family did not approve of his faithful
attendant, and his brother persuaded him to go to the
Continent, and by thus crossing the sea rid himself of
the animal. However, the morning after his arrival in
France the rat was found sleeping on his bed. He then
pushed on to Marseilles, but not long after his arrival the
rat entered his room wet and draggled from its long
The animal approached the fire to dry itself, when the
nobleman's brother took up the poker in a rage and killed
it with one blow.
" You have murdered me," cried the Karl, and, falling
back, he died.
The rat is sometimes said to have been white, and to
reappear when evil is about to befall the house of St.
The present Lord Howth is the fourth earl.
D' Alton, " History of Co. Dublin."
Proceedings of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.
Brewer, " Beauties of Ireland."
Calendar of State Papers.
R. A., "The Abbey of Howth," in Dublin Penny Journal.
" Broad, blue, and deep the Bay of Donegal
Spreads north and south, and far a-west before
The beetling cliffs, sublime and shattered wall,
Where the O'Cleary's name is heard no more."
T. D. McGEK.
THIS castle is situated on the shores of Donegal Bay
about three miles from the town of Ballyshannon, in the
Barony of Kilbarron, County Donegal.
The name Cill-Barrainn signifies " the Church of St.
The fortress was built on a high and nearly insulated
cliff, and from its romantic and wild situation a tradition
falsely sprang up that it had been the stronghold of free-
booters. The promontory is nearly circular in form and
rises a hundred feet above the sea, along the edge of which
a wall was built, while on the landward side a thick wall,
the whole width of the neck protected this direction from
To the north of the small open courtyard thus enclosed
was the keep, and here are traces of a subterranean passage,
now filled up, which was used for " distillery purposes " in
the eighteenth century.
The remains of two chambers at the cliff side seem
older than the other buildings. The sea wall is pierced by
an oblong passage with a small square mouth popularly
known as " the murdering-hole."
The castle was probably erected in the thirteenth or
fourteenth century by the O'Sgingins, who were ollaves or
historians to the great O'Donnells.
In 1391 the Four Masters tell us it was demolished by
Donnell, the son of Mtirtough (O'Conor of Sligo).
The last of the O'Sgingins to be chief historian to
O'Donnell in the fourteenth century had no son, and only
one beautiful daughter, with whom Cormac O'Cleary, who
was on a visit to the Abbey of Assaroe, from Gal way, fell
O'Sgingin gave his consent to the marriage, and instead
of the wedding gift which it was usual for the bridegroom
to present to his wife's father, O'Sgingin asked that if a
son were born of the marriage he should be brought up
with a knowledge of literature and history.
Hence Kilbarron passed into the O'Cleary family,
and this great race of historians occupied it for several
It is likely Cormac O'Cleary re-edified it, but the
" stone houses," of which the building is recorded, were
erected by Diarmaid, one of the celebrated sons of Tudhg
Cam (or The Stooped) O'Cleary.
216 CASTLES OF IRELAND
The fortunes of the Ollaves of Tirconnell began to wane
with that of their patrons, the O'Donnells, although the
last O'Cleary to hold lands was not dispossessed until 1632,
yet many of their possessions were lost to them at the
flight of the Northern Earls in 1607. Most of the estate
passed to Lord Folliott and the Bishop of Raphoe.
Donovan, " Annals of the Four Masters."
Allingham, " History of Ballyshannon."
P., " Kilharron Castle," in Irish Penny Journal.
Donovan, " Genealogies, Tribes and Customs of Hy-Fiachrach."
Proceedings of Royal Society of Antiquaries, Ireland.
THE castle is situated about five miles south of Bandon, at
the Kilbrittain inlet from Courtmacsherry Bay, in the
County of Cork.
Smith says the castle before being rebuilt " was a stately
building environed with a large bawn, fortified with six
turrets on the walls." Mr. Jones Stawell erected the
present mansion, with which a portion of the ancient castle
is incorporated. The kitchen, servants' hall, and house-
keeper's room have vaulted roofs, and date from the twelfth
century or earlier. There is also a tower and adjoining
wall which belonged to the former fortress, as well as the
steps leading from the old courtyard. There are supposed
to be vaults underneath the building, which are not now
accessible, as well as an underground passage leading to
The castle is pleasantly situated on rising ground
between hills. It is usually supposed to have been erected
by the Lords Courcey, who received a grant of the lands
shortly after the Anglo-Norman landing, but in 1743
Robert Clayton, Bishop of Cork, sent copies of two
inscribed stones, found at Kilbrittain, to John, Earl of
Egmont. These stones bore the date 1035 in the Arabian
characters, which seems to indicate an earlier date of
erection. He says : " The stone from which the inscrip-
tion was taken was found by Mr. Stawell in an old castle,
which he has since pulled down, called Kilbrittain, which
signifies in Irish the ' church or cell,' or rather the ' burial
218 CASTLES OF IRELAND
place of the Britains.' Mr. Stavvell says there was likewise
the figure of a woman carved in bas-relief on another stone,
the workmanship of which being most curious. He
neglected it, and it has since been lost."
The manor of Kilbrittain passed into the King's hands
in 1295 upon the death of John de Courcey, who was slain
on the Island of Inchydonny by M'Carthy. Walter de la
Haye, the King's escheator, delivered the lands to James
Keating in keeping for De Courcey's heir.
Lord Courcey, it is said, borrowed a white weasel or ferret
from M'Carthy, and pledged his castle as surety for its safe
return, but the animal dying M'Carthy claimed Kilbrittain,
and it thus passed out of De Courcey's hands.
In 1430 M'Carthy Reagh and James, Earl of Desmond,
" The Usurper," began hostilities, and the castle was stormed
by the Earl and given to his brother Donough, who had
assisted at its capture, but it subsequently returned to the
In 1537 Lady Eleanor M'Carthy resided in the castle
after her husband's death. She was sister to Gerald, 9th
Earl of Kildare, and, therefore, aunt to Thomas, the
" Silken Lord," and his half brothers. After Lord Offaly's
rebellion, and execution, and the attainting of the house of
Kildare, the young heir Gerald escaped from the Govern-
ment by the aid of his tutor Thomas Leverous, afterwards
Bishop of Kildare, who wrapped him in a blanket, and fled
with him although the lad was sick with smallpox. After
a hot pursuit they reached Kilbrittain where the Lady
Eleanor took charge of her nephew. She subsequently
married O'Donnell of Ulster to gain protection for the boy,
but finding her husband was treating with the Govern-
ment to betray him, she sent the future Earl to France
and returned to her son's territory in the County Cork.
In 1572 Kilbrittain is spoken of as M'Carthy Reagh's
chief dwelling-place, and it is mentioned that he paid a
yearly rent of 67 beefs for it to the Earl of Desmond,
KILBRITTAIX CASTLE 219
besides rendering him military service at times. Eighteen
plough lands are mentioned as attached to it in 1 599.
During the great rebellion of 1641 it was the scene of
much bloodshed, a gallows having been erected before the
castle windows " for hanging the English." One morning
a Richard Mewdon was hanged after two days' imprison-
ment, having been bound to a Mrs. Stringer with great
cruelty. The rope was then put round her neck, but
M'Carthy's mother looking out of the window, and think-
ing to save her, sent a priest to know what religion she
was. She, however, boldly declared she was a Protestant.
The castle was shortly afterwards taken by the
Some ancient fir-trees are still to be seen called
" M'Carthy's Bagpipes," where the executions took place,
and the ground beneath having been cursed by one of his
victims no grass will grow on it, although there is plenty of
light and air.
After the confiscation of the M'Carthy estates the castle
passed to Colonel Thomas Long, who was left at the head
of affairs when Henry Cromwell retired. At the Restora-
tion it reverted to the Crown and James II. bestowed it
on Donough M'Carthy, Lord Cloncarty, a relative of its
It was sold in Queen Anne's reign to the Hollow Sword
Blades Company, and it is now in the possession of Colonel
\V. St. Legcr Alcock-Stawell.
To the castle belonged privileges of fairs and markets.
Smith, " State of the County and City of Cork " ; also Copengcr,
" Historical Notes in New Edition " of same.
Gibson, " History of the County and City of Cork."
Bennett, " History of Bandon."
Marquis of Kildare, " Earls of Kildare."
" And, oh ! through many a dark campaign
They proved their prowess stern,
In Leinster's plains and Munster's vales,
On king, and chief, and kern.
But noble was the cheer within
The halls so rudely won,
And generous was the steel-gloved hand
That had such slaughter done.
How gay their laugh, how proud their mien,
You'd ask no herald's sign
Amid a thousand you had known,
The princely Geraldinc."
Tills castle was built by Hugh de Lacy, Chief Governor
of Ireland, for Walter de Riddlesford, Baron of Bray, who
had been granted the surrounding district of Omurethi by
Strongbow. De Riddlesford's granddaughter, Emelina
inherited the manors of Kilkea and Castledermot through
her mother, and she, marrying Maurice FitzGerald, 3rd
Baron of Offaly, the property passed to the Geraldines
who still possess Kilkea Castle, which is one of the seats
of the Duke of Leinster, where some of the family at
Kilkea signifies the Church of St. Kay, or Caoide, and
the barony derives its name from the churchyard situated
a few perches north-west of the castle.
The fortress is built on the banks of the River Greese,
a tributary of the Barrow, about five miles south-east of
Athy. Its position was a particularly exposed one, being
KILKEA CASTLE 223"
situated in the Marshes which lay between the English
pale and the territories of the native Irish. During the
centuries since its erection it has undergone many altera-
tions and enlargements down to its final restoration in
In 1356 Maurice, 4th Karl of Kildare, was commanded
by the king to " strengthen and maintain his castles of
Kilkea, Rathmore, and Ballymore, under pain of forfeiting
the same." In 1426 the castle was enlarged by John
KitzGerald, 6th Earl of Kildare. Again, about the year
15/3, Gerald, the nth Karl, repaired Kilkea after he was
restored to the title and estates of which his half-brother,
the " Silken Thomas," had been dispossessed. Three
sculptured stones arc still in existence belonging to a
chimney-piece placed in the dining-hall by this Earl, and
have, after various vicissitudes, been replaced in somewhat
their original positions.
This Earl was called the " Wizard Earl," and the
haunted room of the castle (which also contains a carved
stone) is said to have been the place where he practised
the Black Art. A legend regarding him runs thus : His
wife, not liking that he should have any secrets from her,
begged him to let her be witness to some of his transfor-
mations and sorcery. At length he consented to give her
three trials, but warned her that any sign of fear on her
part would be fatal to him. First, the river Greese rose
and flowed through the castle ; secondly, an animal, half
fish, half serpent, crept out of the water and twined round
the lady's feet ; and thirdly, a ghost flitted to and fro, but
all these failed to frighten the Countess. Then the Earl
was transformed into a little black bird, which lit on her
shoulder ; but the devil, in the form of a cat, springing at
it, she stretched forth her hand with a cry to protect her
lord. Hence he and all his knights were spirited away to
the Rath of Mullaghmast, where they sleep by their horses'
sides, fully clad in armour, and from thence they ride to
224 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Kilkea Castle every seven years. The Earl's steed is shod
with silver shoes, and as soon as they are worn out the
spell will be broken, and he will return again to Kilkea,
when, after about half a century, he will drive the ancient
enemies of Ireland out of the country.
A lady writing of the castle in 1817, mentions the grand
staircase being of massy oak, and amongst other things
speaks of the ancient kitchen containing seven ovens.
The building seems to have been somewhat dilapidated
when the 3rd Duke of Leinster began to restore it (1849).
Nearly all the battlements were thrown down, and its last
tenant had made matters worse in searching for treasure.
This same man, writing to the Duke in 1839, speaks of a
carved oak ceiling in what had once been the castle chapel.
This is said to have been on the north side.
During restoration a few quaint-shaped bottles con-
taining liquid were found in a recess, and previously it is
stated that an old gentleman sitting at a table, had been
discovered built up in some part of the walls, but that he
fell to dust at once when air was admitted.
Two underground passages are believed to connect the
castle with the churchyard on the one hand, and a pagan
tumulus or burial moat on the other.
The grooves of the portcullis by which the main entrance
was protected are to be seen at the hall-door, and also the
square holes for fixing beams of timber, which added to
the security. The hall had a stone vaulted ceiling at the
time of restoration, which was removed to give greater
height. A new storey was also added to the building at
The " Evil Eye Stone " is carved with a group of
grotesque figures, and is situated 17 feet above the ground,
in the quoin of the " Guard Room," near the entrance-gate
of the ancient bawn of the castle.
Maurice FitzGerald, 3rd Baron of OfTaly, seems to have
parted temporarily with his interest in Kilkea to Christiana
KILKEA CASTLK 225
de Marisco, a niece of his wife's, through whom a royal
claim on the manor was established. In 1317 it appears
to have been in possession of the Wogan family. Sir
Thomas de Rokeby, Lord Justice of Ireland, died in the
castle in 1356.
In 1414, the O'Mores and O'Dempseys, having invaded
the pale, Thomas Cranly, Archbishop of Dublin, and Lord
Deputy, accompanied the Royal troops as far as Castle-
clermot, where he and his clergy remained praying for the
success of the arms. The opposing forces met at Kilkea,
where a battle was fought, in which the Irish were defeated.
A great many human bones having been found in a field
south of the castle, it is likely to have been the scene of
John FitzGerald, 6th Earl of Kildarc, nicknamed "Shaun
Cam," or Hump-back John, again defeated the native Irish
at Kilkea in 1421.
It was here, too, that the "Great Earl," Gerald Fitz-
Gerald, 8th Earl of Kildare and Lord Deputy of Ireland,
got his death wound. In August, 1513, he started on an
expedition against a castle belonging to the O'Carrolls,
and now known as Leap Castle, in the King's County.
While the Earl was watering his horse at the River Greese,
near Kilkea, attended by the Mayor of Dublin and a
splendid retinue, he received a wound from one of the
O'Mores of Leix, which in a few days proved fatal. He
was moved by gentle stages to Kildare, where he died.
He was thirty-three years Chief Governor of Ireland.
During the rebellion of the " Silken Thomas," loth Earl
of Kildare, in 1535, Kilkea seems at first to have formed
one of the headquarters of his native sympathisers. The
surrounding country having, however, been laid waste
by the Earl of Ossory, we read that he made an appoint-
ment with Sir William Skeffington, the Lord Deputy, to
meet him at Kilkea. He waited with his army for three
days, but the Lord Deputy being ill, he did not arrive.
226 CASTLES OF IRELAND
In 1537 the King appointed Lord (James) Butler to be
Constable of the Castles of Catherlagh (Carlow) and
Kilkea. Some years later a Walter Peppard, one of the
gentlemen ushers of the King's chamber, seems to have
been in possession of the castle.
The nth Earl lived largely at Kilkea after the restora-
tion of his title and lands. In 1575, when apprehended on
suspicion of treason, one of the charges was that he had
interviewed and entertained rebels at Kilkea.
Elizabeth, widow of the I4th Earl of Kildare, was
granted the Manors of Kilkea and Graney by the King, as
she had no jointure. She was a daughter of Lord Delvin,
and had married the Earl by dispensation of the Pope, she
being a Roman Catholic. In 1618 she wrote a most
touching letter from Kilkea to the Privy Council, beseeching
them to allow her the guardianship of her little son Gerald,
the 1 5th Earl then just over six years old until he
should be older and stronger, urging that he was " the only
son of his father." The infant Earl died some two years
later at Maynooth, being succeeded by his cousin George,
known as the " Fairy Earl."
In 1634 the Countess gave Kilkea to the Jesuits, who
retained possession of the castle until 1646, in which year
the Superior of the Order entertained the Pope's Nuncio
sumptuously at the castle.
During the civil war, which began in 1641, Kilkea was
taken and re-taken several times ; but on the restoration of
peace, both the i6th and I7th Earls seem chiefly to
have resided there.
In 1668 it was leased to Lord Brabazon, and afterwards,
for nearly two centuries, the castle was inhabited by
strangers, to whom it was let at different times.
In 1797 it passed into the hands of Thomas Reynolds,
the '98 informer through the influence of Lord Edward
FitzGerald. He somewhat repaired and furnished the
castle. His son gives a graphic description of the wanton
KILKEA CASTLE 227
destruction of property by the soldiers sent from Dublin to
arrest his father. It appears they tore up floors and down
wainscotting, in a search for Lord Edward, who it was
thought was hidden in the castle.
Shortly after this it became a regular garrison and a
refuge for the Loyalists. It was attacked by the insurgents
The castle was leased once more, in 1799, before the
family again took possession of their ancient home.
Lord Walter FibcGerald, " Kilkea Castle" (Kildare Arcliivologiciil
Marquis of Kildare, " The Karls of Kildare."
THERE seems to be a difference of opinion regarding the
derivation of this name. The most popular belief is that
it signifies the Church of St. Canice or Kenny. Again it is
put forward that a settlement of the Gaels having been
along the banks of the Xore, the high ground towards the
present castle was wooded, and so called Coil or Kyle-
ken-ui', " the wooded head " or " hill near the river," and so
it became Cillcannegh or Kilkenny.
The city is situated seventy-two miles south-west of
Dublin, in the county of the same designation.
The fortress is said to occupy the site of the ancient
Irish castellum of the kings of Ossory. It is built on high
ground above the town, and the present entrance is
through a handsome gate-house of Caen stone which was
brought up the River Nore in boats. The 2nd Duke of
Ormond, who succeeded in 1688, spent 1,500 on its
erection, but the carving has only been completed in later
years. A massive wooden door gives admittance from the
The castle seems formerly to have been a quadrangular
building flanked by towers, having its entrance on the
south side opposite the present gate-house. The building
now forms three sides of a square, but in 1861 the founda-
tions of the south curtain and the two bastions which
protected the entrance were uncovered during alterations.
Thus up to the beginning of the eighteenth century the
castle practically had its back to the town, and it is there-
KILKENNY CASTLE 231
fore likely that the architects of the Norman stronghold
followed the ground plan of the old Irish fort, where King
Donnchadh held his court during the greater part of the
tenth century, and which existed long before the English
town was built.
In the northern side of the building is situated the hall,
billiard room, ante-room, library, and drawing-room. The
west wing is occupied by the private rooms of the family,
while the picture gallery forms the eastern block. This
wing was added by the 2nd Duke of Ormond. It is 120
feet long by 30 broad, and contains some valuable portraits
by Vandyck, Holbein, Lely, Kneller, &c.
The dining-room is part of the original building, and its
walls measure some 15 feet in thickness.
The tapestry in the castle is very handsome. Some of
it is supposed to have been manufactured in Kilkenny,
where Piers, Earl of Ormond, and his wife, Margaret
FitzGerald, started a tapestry industry, some of the
records of which are still preserved. A set of panels
representing the " History of Deceus" is the most valuable
tapestry in the castle.
Of the three towers, that on the south being the largest
is called " The Tower." The small turret in the north-west
angle is part of the oldest masonry in the castle, and is
supposed to belong to the twelfth-century fortress.
The Evidence Chamber contains an immense number of
valuable historic documents and family records, among
which are some deeds executed by Strongbow.
The first Norman fortress is supposed to have been
erected by Richard, Earl of Pembroke, better known as
Strongbow, shortly after his arrival in Ireland. In 1173
Donald O'Brien, King of Thomond, descended and seized
the castle, its garrison of Flemings retreating to Waterford.
They returned when the Irish had withdrawn and occupied
what remained of the stronghold until William, Earl
Marshal, arrived with Isabel, his bride, in 1191. She was
232 CASTLES OF IRELAND
the daughter and heiress of Eva and Strongbow, and had
been brought up at the English Court. They were married
in 1189, an d he began to rebuild the Castle of Kilkenny in
1192. Thomas, loth Earl of Ormond and favourite of
Queen Elizabeth, repaired the castle. James, the ist
Duke of Ormond, remodelled the whole building after his
return from exile with Charles II., in a style of architecture
then common in France and Holland. Dr. Molyneux,
writing in 1709, says: "There is not one handsome or
noble apartment. The Rooms are Darke, and the stairs
It is at present in castellated Tudor style. In 1826 the
change of architecture was entrusted to Mr. William
Robertson, and during the minority of the present
Marquess his mother carried out many improvements.
A passage is reported to exist from the castle to Dun-
In Earl Mareschal's charter he granted the tenth part of
the provisions in the castle to the Brotherhood of St. John.
They were also to officiate in the castle chapel while the
Earl was absent, but when at home his chaplain took their
The stronghold was inherited in succession by the Earl's
five sons, who all died without heirs, and Kilkenny passed
to his third daughter Isabel, who married Gilbert de Clare,
6th Earl of Clare, Hertford and Gloucester, and in 1290
we find him surrendering Kilkenny Castle to the King to
hold at his pleasure.
In 1334 the 9th Earl of Clare died without issue, and
was succeeded by his sister Eleanor de Clare, whose
husband became Earl of Gloucester through her right.
His grandson Spencer, Lord of Glamorgan and Kilkenny,
sold the castle in 1391 to James Butler, 3rd Earl of
Theobald Walter had been made Chief Butler of Ireland
by Henry II., which appointment granted him a tun of
KILKENNY CASTLE 233
wine out of every nine brought to Ireland, and this
privilege remained in the family until 1810, when the
Government purchased it from Walter, the ist Marquess
The gilt key which was worn at the girdle when the
Butlers attended the King is still preserved at the castle.
A few years after the fortress had changed hands, King
Richard II. spent a fortnight at Kilkenny as the guest of
the Karl of Ormond.
The Carew MSS. inform us that the Karl of Ormond
made Kilkenny Castle his chief residence in 1596.
The ist Duke of Ormond was born in 1610, and is
generally known as the " Great Duke." He was for many
years Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
In 1642 the castle was taken by the " Council of
Confederate Catholics," and was held by them for some
Oliver Cromwell besieged both town and castle in
March, 1650. On the 23rd he opened fire on the castle,
and two days following a breach was made at noon, but
the garrison twice beat off the besiegers and quickly
repaired the damage.
Cromwell's time being short for the work before him, he
was about to retire when the mayor and the townspeople
offered to give up the town, and he was shortly reinforced
Sir Walter Butler had received instructions from Loro^
Castlehaven to surrender, in case no help arrived before a
given time, so considering the weakness of his garrison he
made terms with the Parliamentarians which were of an
honourable nature. As the garrison marched cut Cromwell
complimented them on their gallantry, saying he had lost
more men in the storming of Kilkenny than in the taking
The estate was restored to the Duke upon the Restora-
tion. The Count de Lauxun had been commander for
234 CASTLES OF IRELAND
James II. at Kilkenny, and the castle had been carefully
preserved by him.
The Duke died in 1688, and was succeeded by his son,
who also was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. William III.
dined in the castle in August, 1690, as the Duke's guest.
In 1715 he was accused falsely of conspiring against the
Crown, and in anger at the charge he crossed to France,
and joined the Stuarts.
His estates, valued at ^"80,000 a year, were forfeited
and he died at Avignon, supported by a pension from the
Court of Spain.
The Irish House of Lords restored part of the estates
and the Irish Earldom to another branch of the Ormonds,
and John Butler became i/th Earl of Ormond.
Walter, the i8th Earl, was created Marquess in 1816,
and from him the present representative is descended, who
in 1904 entertained King Edward VII. and Queen Alex-
andra at the castle.
J. Hogan, " Kilkenny."
Brewer, " Beauties of Ireland."
J. Robertson, "Antiquities and Scenery of Kilkenny."
P. Egan, " Kilkenny Guide."
E. Ledwidge, "History of Irishtown and Kilkenny" in "Collectanea
de Rebus Hibernices."
J. Graves, "Journey to Kilkenny, 1799" (Journal of Kilkenny
A rcha'ological Society).
MacMahon, " Kilkenny Castle " in " Historic Houses."
Calendar of State Documents.
Calendar of Carew MSS.
THIS fortress is situated in a parish of the same name in
the Barony of Forth, about three miles south-east of
Wexford. The name, which is written Killyan in the
Liber Rcgalis visitations, signifies " The Church of St.
The building consists of a castellated rectangular keep,
to which a modern house has been attached. There is also
an enclosed bawn with most excellently preserved walls.
Near the castle stand the ruins of its chapel.
In the notes attached to the Down Survey Maps, dating
from about 1657, it is stated that at Great Killiane is "a
Castle with a slate house adjoining, a decayed windmill,
and seven cabbins."
The castle is supposed to have been erected by the
family of Hay, whose first representative in Ireland was
Richard de Hay, Lord of Hay in Wales, who crossed with
the Normans in 1196. From this family Killiane passed
to a younger branch of the house of Chevers, of Ballyhally,
early in the sixteenth century. Hamond Chevers, of
Killiane, was one of the jurators to hold an inquisition
on Tintern Abbey in 1543. He held his castle and lands
from the Mayor of Wexford.
In 1627 Killiane was still in possession of a Hamond
Chevers, and his son George held it with 237 acres when
the rebellion broke out in 1641. He was present at the
siege of Duncannon Fort in 1645, when it was defended
against the Confederate Catholics by Laurence, Lord
236 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Esmond, and in consequence of the part he took in the
insurrection Killiane was confiscated. In 1666 it was
granted to Francis Hervey, Esq., with 220 acres, and it
has remained in this family's possession ever since.
One of the daughters of the house, who married the
Very Rev. Samuel Adams, D.D., Dean of Cashel, in 1809,
was so famous for her beauty that she was called " The
Rose of Killiane." The family has not lived in the castle
for some years, and it is let by the present owner, Arthur
MSS. Ordnance Survey.
Down Survey Maps.
Inquisitions of Leinster.
Hore, " History of Wexford."
Lewis, " Typographical Dictionary of Ireland."
B. Adams and M. Adams, " History of the Adams Family
Proceedings Royal Society of Antiquaries, Ireland.
Chancery Patent Rolls, Act of Settlement.
" Downpatrick too may boast
Of the great fort by its side,
Where a monarch may have lived,
And have rul'd in savage pride ;
But what is Patrick's grave,
Or cathedral old and grey,
To the proud baronial castle
That adorns Killileagh ? "
THIS castle stands on rising ground above the town of
Killyleagh, five miles north-east of Downpatrick, in the
County of Down. It was the principal fortress of seven
which formerly guarded the shores of Strangford Lough.
About a mile distant is Loch death, or " The Lake of
the Hurdles," so it is probable that Killyleagh signifies
"the Church of the Hurdles."
The gate tower of the castle is entered under a Gothic
arch of Glasgow stone from the main street of the town.
It is 59 feet in height, and crowned with turrets. Curtain
walls on each side connect it with flanking towers, which
are again joined by other castellated walls to the castle
itself, thus enclosing a rectangular courtyard, which is laid
out in grass and flower-beds.
The mansion has an imposing frontage, flanked at both
sides by circular towers. One of these dates from the
castle's erection, and the other, which is a copy, from the
year 1666. The centre block of masonry was entirely
restored in the middle of the nineteenth century. Some
of the walls, which were removed at that time, were
240 CASTLKS OF IRELAND
15 feet thick, being composed of rubble and excellent
The old carved stone over the door was copied in Caen
stone. The Royal Arms are surmounted by a figure of
Charles I., while below are the family arms. The original
stone, which was much weather worn, has been placed over
a small door at the side.
Most of the stone used at the restoration was quarried
on the estate, but the facing stones were brought from
One of the special attractions of this charming residence
is the beautiful terraced gardens lying to the south. They
consist of three tiers of cultivation beginning with the " Box
Garden " of trim flower-beds, from which you descend by a
flight of rustic steps to " the Rockery Garden " abounding
in Alpine plants. Here some beautiful and extremely
ancient yew-trees are to be seen, their branches being
1 20 feet in circumference, while below a small lake in
the centre of rose-beds leaves nothing to be desired in
its delightful effect.
The castle was erected by Sir John de Courcy shortly
after his conquest of Ulster, and in 1356 Edward III.
appointed John de Mandeville warden.
After this it fell into the hands of the O'Neills, who
retained it up to 1561, when Queen Elizabeth granted the
territory to Hugo White. He rebuilt the castle and
removed the ward from Dufferin Castle near, to garrison
it. After this it was known as " White's Castle " for many
In 1567 the fortress was gallantly defended against a
fierce attack made by the great Shane O'Neill, and he was
successfully repulsed. The strength of the White family
gradually decreased, and in 1590 they could only muster
a hundred and twenty foot soldiers and twenty horsemen
to defend their lands, while eight years later twenty
footmen was the total of their fighting strength.
KILLYLEAGH CASTLE 241
The M'Artans and O'Neills joined together and dis-
possessed them, the former family taking possession of
Killyleagh. Their estates were, however, forfeited at the
close of the sixteenth century for the part they took in
the rebellion of the Northern Earls, and some time after
this the lands were granted to the Hamiltons.
General Monk partly demolished the castle in 1649, and
the Hamiltons began to rebuild it in 1666.
James I. had created the head of the family Earl of
Clanbrassil and Viscount Clandeboye, but the last to hold
the title died in 1676. It is said he was poisoned by his
wife, Lady Alice of Clanbrassil, a daughter of the Earl of
Drogheda, who \vas a beautiful and vicious woman, and
after plunging the estate into debt desired to contract a
At this time the Earl's mother, Lady Anne, resided at
Killyleagh Castle in accordance with the wishes of her
As Earl Henry left no children the estate was divided
amongst his cousins, Killyleagh falling to the lot of James
Hamilton. When James died in 1683 his lands were
divided between his brother Gawin, ancestor of the pre-
sent Colonel Rowan-Hamilton, D.L., of Killyleagh Castle,
and his daughter Anne, whose granddaughter, Dorcas,
married Sir John Blackwood, and was created Baroness
Dufferin and Clandeboye.
The division of the estate was accurately made and
decided by lot, which had the effect of putting one
branch of the family in possession of the half of the
courtyard of the castle which lay nearest the town, while
the other part was attached to the castle.
This division caused a family feud of some two hundred
years in duration. A house was built on the disputed
land between the town and castle, and it was only upon
the coming of age of the late Marquis of Dufferin,
who said it should never be said of him that he kept
242 CASTLES OF IRELAND
any man out of his own hall-door, that the contention
The young nobleman presented the land to his kinsman
of the castle, to be held by the tenure of the annual
tribute of a red rose to the lady of Clandeboye, or should
there be no such person, a pair of gilt spurs to the Lord
Dufferin of the time. He added to his gift a castellated
gate-house, which was erected from designs by Mr.
The last stone was laid by Lord Dufferin upon the
morning of his marriage with Miss Rowan Hamilton on
the 23rd of October, 1862.
It bears an inscription to that effect, as well as the name
of its sculptor, Mr. Samuel Hastings, of Downpatrick.
In 1688-89 Sir Robert Maxwell resided in the castle,
having married the widow of the Earl of Clanbrissal.
Captain Savage asked to be allowed to garrison the
gate-tower so as to be some check upon the disturbances
the Protestant party were making in the North. Sir
Robert took two days to consider the matter, but in the
meantime the soldiers were attacked by Hunter, and the
captain and lieutenant taken prisoners.
Soon after the castle was reduced by the Royalists, and
in the investigation which followed much credit was
taken from the fact that no plundering was allowed. It
was stated that such forbearance was wonderful in the
face of great provocation, inasmuch as the very day the
castle was taken part of Colonel Mark Talbot's wig was
shot off by a bullet from the fortress.
The celebrated United Irishman, Archibald Hamilton
Rowan, owned and lived in the castle. He was secretary
of the Dublin Society of United Irishmen in 1791, and in
1794 he was sentenced to two years' imprisonment for
The embroidered lavender dress coat, which he wore at
his presentation to Marie Antoinette in 1781 or 1782, when
KILLYLEAGH CASTLE 243
in attendance on the Duchess of Manchester, is still pre-
served as an heirloom in the castle. A pair of pistols
presented to Captain Hamilton, R.N., C.B., after the battle
of Navarino, by the French Admiral De Rigny, for his
gallant services to the French squadron, are also to be
seen at Killyleagh.
In 1842 Captain Archibald Rowan Hamilton married
Miss Caldwell, of Cheltenham, and seven years later they
began to restore the castle.
In 1862 the marriage of the late Lord DufTerin and
Clancleboye, with Hariot Georgina, eldest daughter of the
late Captain Archibald Rowan Hamilton, 5th Dragoon
Guards, was celebrated in the evening of October 23rd, in
the drawing-room of the castle.
When the present owner of the castle, Colonel Gawen
Rowan Hamilton, came of age in 1864, Lord Dufferin
handed him the keys of the gate-tower, to which reference
has already been made, saying, " The time is now come for
me to hand over to you this gate-house, a gift which I had
originally destined for your father, but which, with equal
pleasure, I now make to you. I trust that you and your
descendants may long continue to enjoy it."
Lowry, "The Hamilton Manuscripts."
Knox, " History of County of Down."
Praeger, " Official Guide to County Down."
S. M. S., " Killyleagh Castle, County of Down," in Dublin Penny
Hanna, "The Break of Killyleagh," in Ulster 'Journal of Arclicvology.
Newspaper Cuttings lent by Mrs. Rowan Hamilton.
KING JOHN'S CASTLE, CARLINGFORD
THIS is one of the few names in Ireland which clearly
show a Danish influence. The Irish designation was
Cairlinn, and the present name simply means the "fiord
of Cairlinn," or Carlingford.
It is situated in the County of Louth, on the southern
shore of the bay at the foot of the Mourne Mountains,
about eleven miles east-north-east of Dundalk.
It was a most important town of the Pale, and at one
time nearly every building of any size was of a fortified
type. There are still to be seen the remains of three
strongholds called at the present time King John's Castle,
Taffe's Castle, and Lee's Castle.
King John's Castle is traditionally supposed to have
been erected by that monarch's orders in 1210 to protect
the mountain pass of Goulin. We know that King John
was at " Kerlingford," but Grose considers that it is more
likely the fortress was built by De Lacy or De Courcy.
It is situated on a rocky promontory which projects into
the sea, and having been built in accordance with the
natural formation of the rock is triangular in shape. It
is divided in the centre by a "cross wall" nearly 12 feet
thick. On the southern side the divisions of apartments
are still to be seen, and there are also the remains of
galleries with recesses for archers. The walls are about
1 1 feet in thickness, and on the sea side there is a small
underground passage some 20 feet in length.
The chief entrance from the water was protected by a
KING JOHN'S CASTLE, CARLINGFORD 247
platform or battery, which also commanded the harbour.
It is said the promontory once extended further into the
sea, and being covered ,with soft grass was called the
In 1215 the King commanded Roger Pipard to deliver
up the castle to any one the Archbishop of Dublin
appointed to receive it. Richard de Burgh was ordered
to give up the fortress to Geoffrey de Mariscis in 1216
or 1217, but this order was immediately followed by a
similar one to William de Lacy, who had evidently taken
the King's Castle at Carlingford.
In 1388 Stephen Gernon, the constable of the time, was
licensed by the King to take corn tithes in the lordship of
Cooley to supply the castles of Carlingford and Green-
castle. Five years later Esmond de Loundres was
appointed Warden of Carlingford, Greencastle, and Coly,
with the profits due to the office. The O'Neill of that
day so pillaged the country round that De Loundres was
unable even to meet his expenses, and he petitioned that,
the seignory being laid waste, he might be either relieved
of office or properly supplied with means to meet the
charges attached to it. Whereupon an order to provision
the castles under his command was issued.
Fishing rights seem to have been attached to the castle
in 1425, and more than a hundred years later they still
formed a Government revenue. In 1535 the Treasurer
went to Carlingford to inspect the King's castle. Me
reported that it and Greencastle with the country round
had been almost destroyed, and that if the war was to
continue English workmen would have to be sent over
to put the castle iii ( repair. He suggested that the
expenses should be defrayed by the fishing dues.
This does not seem to have been done, for in 1 549 both
castles were in a dilapidated condition. Three years later
Sir Nicholas Bagenall was granted " the Manor of Carling-
ford and an old castle there, and the whole demesne and
248 CASTLKS OF IRELAND
manor of Mourne and Greencastle, the castle and demesne
of the Black Friars in Carlingford." Ten years later it
was still in his hands.
In 1596 the Earl of Tyrone, after having pretended
to submit to the Government, made an incursion into
the Pale. It seems that his foremost troops were com-
manded by his son-in-law, Henry Oge, who endeavoured
to surprise the castle at Carlingford. This he was unable
to accomplish, but, "missing of his principal purpose, there
were carried away as prisoners, in lamentable manner, two
gentlewomen, daughters of Captain Henshaw, the one
married and the other a maid."
The Earl, who was following, had intended to reinforce
the troops after the seizing of the town and fortress, but
the failure of the enterprise prevented his doing so. He
acknowledged having carried off the ladies from the castle
" in time of peace," and refused to return them until
O'Hanlon's son was liberated in exchange.
Marmaduke Whitechurch was constable of Carlingford
in 1610, and had six warders under his command.
In 1641 " Sir Con Maginse tooke the forte and castle of
the Neurie and Carlingfoorde."
The next year it was captured by a ruse graphically
described as follows : " 5th of May. Newes came from
Dundalk to the Lords Justices by Captaine Cadogan (who
came thence through Maday with ten horse-men only) that
the Newry was not only retaken by the Lord Conway and
Man roe, the Scots commander, from the rebels, but also
that the towne and castle of Carlingford were taken by a
ship that came from Knockfergus. Their policy was to
put up the Spanish colours, which the rebels discerning,
sent a fisher-boat, with ten or twelve of their commanders,
to goe aboard the ship, supposing that some ammunition
was come unto them ; but the captaine of the ships,
instead of shewing them any such commodities, clapt
them up under decks, and so landing his musketiers,
KING JOHN'S CASTLE, CARLINGFORD 249
they took the towne, which they of the castle soone
perceiving, fled away, and left both unto our forces."
In 1648 Lord Inchiquin marched on Carlingford after
capturing Dundalk, and seems to have had little difficulty
in getting possession of the town and fortress. The
following year Colonel Venables appeared before the
walls with Parliamentary forces. Upon his making pre-
paration for the landing of cannon the town and castles
were surrendered. In a letter to Oliver Cromwell he
speaks with great praise of Captain Ferns, who " came
to the harbour's mouth with his fregot, and upon a signal
agreed between us, came gallantly in under fire," although
his mainmast was split by a shot from the castle. He
captured a small Wexford vessel then in the bay.
Carlingford was no mean prize, as it formed the chief
storehouse of their opponents' arms in Lester.
The three castles and the sea-fort contained in all seven
pieces of ordnance, nearly 40 barrels of powder and the
same of small shot, over a thousand muskets, and 480
They did not find much provision in the town. The
next day Newry surrendered.
The fortress must have been subjected to bombard-
ment at some time, as cannon-balls have been found
among the ruins.
AUTHOR i TIKS CON'SUI.TKD.
Murphy, "Cromwell in Ireland."
Grose, " The Antiquities of Ireland."
Gilbert, "Affairs in Ireland, 1641-1652."
Graves, " Kind's Council in Ireland."
Joyce, " Irish Names of Places."
Calendar of Carew MSS.
Reeves, " Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Down, &c."
I)., ''Carlingford," in Dublin Penny 'fonnuil.
KING JOHN'S CASTLE, LIMERICK
LIMERICK CITY is situated on the Shannon, ninety-four
miles south-west by west of Dublin. The name is a
corruption of Luimneach, signifying " barren spot of
King John's Castle is one of the finest examples of
Norman military architecture in the country. It was
erected to guard Thomond Bridge, and was the citadel of
the English town of Limerick.
The curtain wall by the river is about 200 feet long,
and is flanked at both ends by round towers, each having
a diameter of 50 feet, and with walls 10 feet thick. A third
tower protects the north-east angle, while the corner
towards the town had a square platform raised to the level
of the battlements and capable of mounting five or six
cannon. In the lower part of this structure was the sally
port of the fortress.
The modern entrance is in Nicholas Street, but the
former gate led into Castle Street, and was protected by
a drawbridge. It was exceedingly narrow, and flanked by
two massive towers, one circular and the other semi-
circular. The arms of the city surmount the gate. A wet
ditch surrounded the castle, and was supplied with water
from the Shannon.
The oldest part of the structure is the tower nearest the
bridge, which shows marks of bombardment.
The dilapidations caused by the guns have been
KING JOHN'S CASTLK, LIMERICK 253
renovated with red brick, which was a happy idea of the
contractor so as to preserve the old war marks.
The ancient battlements were not removed until the
close of the eighteenth century, up to which time they were
a favourite city promenade.
The castle, as its name indicates, was constructed at the
command of King John, and the builders were ruthlessly
encroaching on church land until the bishop remonstrated
with the King, who issued a proclamation in 1207, ordering
that the work should cease until his return, which was in
1 2 10. He furnished the stronghold with every requisite of
defence, and appointed a constable and chaplain.
There was a long uninterrupted line of constables from
1216, when Godfrey de Rupe, or Roche, was appointed,
until the office was prospectively abolished by Act of
Parliament in 1809 to cease with the life of the constable
of that date, the Right Hon. Colonel Vereker, afterwards
Viscount Gort, who died in 1842.
The chaplaincy was also an office of importance.
In 1217 Reginal de Breouse received the custody of the
castle and city for a stated period of years, and in 1226 it
was the only castle in Ireland which was not fortified
against the King, Richard de Burgh holding it for him.
Twenty pounds were granted to Thomas de Winchester
in 1326 to repair the walls, which were much decayed ;
and six years later the followers of the Desmonds, who
were prisoners in the fortress, took possession of it, after
killing the constable. The citizens soon recovered
possession and put all the occupiers to death.
The Earl of Desmond was made constable for life in
1423, with leave to discharge the duty by deputy. He
was granted 10 and some fishing dues to repair the
building as " the greater part of it had fallen to the
We learn from the State Papers that, Mr. Zouche having
liberated O'Sullivan Beare, who had been captive at
254 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Limerick in 1582, the castle no longer required a ward.
But the following year it is stated that John Sheriff having
let Patrick Fitzmaurice and his brother out of the castle
cost the Queen ^"20,000.
Three years later the fortress was occupied only by a
constable and porter, and was in much need of repair and
Sir George Carew received an order to repair the build-
ing and provide a ward in 1600, so that it would be a fit
residence for the President. He reported that unless part
of the town were removed it was impossible to make the
fortress really strong, and so he was merely able to add
some storehouses, which he regretted, " for . that this
insolent town has need of a straight curb."
The death of the President prevented the intended
repairs being carried out, and two or three hundred pounds
were needed shortly after to roof the towers and the Great
I lall, which had been begun, so that the assizes might be
held in it. The arms were being much injured through the
stronghold not being weather-proof.
In 1602 Father Archer informed the Spaniards of a way
they could surprise the castle, he having learned it in
Limerick during the previous rebellion.
The plan consisted of two or three Irish galleys coming
up the river at night with the tide, and carrying about
three hundred men, who would at once force the northern
gate by breaking the wooden door with a " pittarr," as no
watch was kept there. The castle once in their hands,
attacks could be made from all the other sides of the town.
King James I. granted a charter to the city of Limerick
in 1609, from which the castle is exempted.
In 1608 it was stated that a cellar existed under the
stronghold, which could be entered from the town without
observation. The following year great dilapidations are
reported by Sir Josias Bodley. He said that the round
towers near the river were so undermined by the water that
KING JOHN'S CASTLE, LIMERICK 255
a cart might pass below their foundations. He repaired
the walls and towers, and built the square platform for
cannon on the town side. He surrounded the whole with
a moat and erected the drawbridge. A constable's house
was still needed.
Repairs were again required in 1618 and 1624.
Captain George Courtenay with two hundred men main-
tained a most gallant siege in 1642. Though short of
provisions, and with a garrison who were not all regulars,
he managed to keep the Irish forces at bay for a con-
The besiegers threw a great boom across the Shannon,
formed of aspen trees fastened together with iron links, so
as to prevent Sir Henry Stradling provisioning the castle
by the water gate.
A steady fire from the fortress delayed the work for
some clays, but the boom was eventually fixed and the
remains of it could be seen at low water so late as 1/87.
The castle was next bombarded from the cathedral, but
still the brave defenders held out. Then mines were begun
in three places, the roofs being propped with dry timber
smeared with tar. When completed this was ignited and
the cavern falling made a large breach in the wall of the
Seeing defence was no longer possible Captain Courtenay
capitulated on the 2ist of June, obtaining honourable
terms for himself and the garrison. Lord Muskerry took
possession the next day.
The captured cannon were used to reduce the neighbour-
ing castles. It is said that the great gun which was
mounted on the platform next the town took 35 yoke of
oxen to draw it.
Ireton arrived at Limerick in 1651, and began to bom-
bard the castle from the foot of Thomond Bridge. As
soon as a breach was effected twenty dragoons, in com-
plete armour, led by Captain Hackett, rushed in, followed
?56 CASTLES OF IRELAND
by infantry. The Irish fled across the bridge into the
further town, breaking two of the arches to prevent pursuit.
Barrels of gunpowder were found in the vaults of the castle
with lighted matches ready to ignite them.
It seems from the following inscription which was
inserted in the stouth-west tower near the platform that
repairs were carried out after these sieges : " Contrived by
Lef. Vanderstam, General of their Majesties' Ordnance,
In 1787 infantry barracks for about four hundred men
were erected within the old walls.
The castle is now used as a Government ordnance store.
M. Lenihan, " Limerick : Its History and Antiquities."
J. Fernir, " History of Limerick."
J. Dowel, " Limerick and its Sieges."
Fit/Gerald and M'Gregor, " History of Limerick."
Proceedings of Kilkenny Archaeological Society.
Joyce, " Irish Place Names."
Carew MSS., with Book of Howth.
Tins castle is situated on the banks of the Barrow in the
north-east corner of the Barony of Pornahinch, in the
The name is sometimes spelt Ley or Leagh, and is said
to signify " grey " or " grey land," though a legend traces
its origin to the name of a great chieftainess who lived,
and was treacherously slain, on the plain of Lea.
The fortress consisted of a three-storeyed rectangular
building 60 feet by 46 feet, flanked by round towers and
having walls varying in thickness from 8 to 10 feet. The
west side of the structure has been blown up, but the
remaining tower contains five rooms, one of them having
thicker walls than the rest, i.e., 13 feet instead of 12.
The centre of the castle was built on arches, and the
projecting angles of the towers were connected by a curtain
wall nearly 8 feet thick.
The approach was by a causeway 100 feet in length. It
was surrounded by a ditch 25 feet wide, which could be
filled by water from the Barrow. From this it was called
Fort-na-hinch, or the " Castle of the Island," from which
the barony takes its name. Inside the moat was a low
wall, which can still be traced. All the arches are round
except one leading from the causeway to the bawn, which
Two drawbridges and two bastions defended the gate
into the inner ballium, which measured 140 feet by 130
feet. The remains of the barbican can still be seen.
1 8 257
258 CASTLES OF IRELAND
The outer ballium includes the bavvn, and the inner one
contained a tennis court and tilt yard.
Some authorities state the castle was erected by Baron
OfTaly, while again it is said to owe its origin in about
1260 to William de Vesey, who had married the Earl of
Derby's daughter, whose mother was heiress to William
Mareschal, Lord Palatine of Lea. The daughter of O'More,
Prince of Leix, is also said to have built Lea Castle on the
Barrow in the marches of Inch, 1260.
I.EA CASTLE (INTERIOR).
It appears, however, to have been in existence in 1203,
as there is an order to the Justiciary of Ireland to have the
castle delivered, as well as other possessions, which had
belonged to Gerald FitzMaurice, and in 1257 William
Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, received a grant of the ward-
ship of Maurice, 2nd Baron of Offaly, and also his castles
of Lea and Geashill.
In 1264 a meeting was held at Castledermot to settle
some dispute about land in Connaught, but at it Maurice,
Baron of Offaly, and his nephew, John FitzThomas, seized
LEA CASTLE 259
Richard de Burgh, heir to the Earl of Ulster, the Lord
Justice Richard de Capella, Theobald Butler, and John
Cogan, and imprisoned them in Lea.
Thomas de Clare sold the wardship of Maurice Fitz-
Gerald's heirs and the guardianship of Lea Castle to Sir
William de Valence in 1270 for 3,500 marks. The ward-
ship had been granted to De Clare by the King's eldest
son. At this time, the Book of Howth states, it was the
only fortress held by the English in Offaly. In 1274, how-
ever, an order was issued to restore the custody of Fitz-
Gerald's heirs to Roger and Matilda de Mortimer, who had,
it seems, inherited the privilege, and De Valence only
having paid 2,300 marks was not held liable for the rest of
the money in consequence.
The castle was burnt by the O'Dempseys, O'Dunnes, and
O'Carrols in 1284, an d Theobald Verdon going to avenge
the outrage was entirely routed. It was shortly afterwards
restored by De Vesey, the Lord Justice of Ireland.
Here, with the assistance of Baron Offaly, he imprisoned
the Red Earl of Ulster and his brother in 1294, but they
were liberated the following year by order of the Parlia-
ment at Kilkenny, and the Earl's sons were surrendered as
hostages instead. It is said De Vesey then quarrelled with
John EitzThomas EitzGerald, Baron Offaly, and fled to
France to avoid meeting him in single combat, and by this
means Lea Castle lapsed again to the Geraldines.
John FitzThomas was ordered to repair to the King
abroad in 1297, and ,40 was granted to him to fortify his
Castle of Ley.
The castle was besieged and the town burnt in 1307 by
the " tories " of Offaly, but the former was relieved by John
FitzThomas and Sir Edmund Butler, afterwards Earl of
Baron Offaly restored the fortress and erected a church
with steeple and bells, but in 1316 Robert Bruce burnt the
castle and town, and carried off the bells.
260 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Sir Walter Eustis is said to have been stabbed to death
in the castle by his wife's sister, daughter of the O'More,
who had formerly rejected his addresses, but upon the
birth of her sister's child, she murdered Sir Walter in a fit
of jealousy, and retired to the convent at Kildare, where
she confessed her crime and died penitent.
The O'Dempseys' seized the fortress in 1329, but the
next year it was surrendered to Sir John Darcy, Lord
Justice, who restored it to the Earl of Kildare to keep for
the King. The O'Dempseys again laid siege to the castle
in 1339, but were driven off by the Earl.
O'More, Chief of Leix, burnt Lea in the spring of 1346,
but in the following November he was defeated by the Earl
of Kildare, who rebuilt the town, castle, and church, but
not the steeple.
The fortress was again taken by O'More and O'Dempsey
in 1414. Seven years later they were defeated near Kilkea
Castle by the 6th Earl of Kildare, nicknamed " Shaun Cam,"
or Hump-backed John.
Lea Castle was restored to the Earl after the battle of
the Red-bog of Athy.
The Four Masters mention the castle in 1452.
In 1533 the Earl of Kildare furnished the stronghold
with guns and ammunition out of the King's store, and in
direct opposition to his commands, which the Master of the
Rolls pointed out to him in the presence of the Bishop of
The following year it is reported to have been one of
the six best castles of the Geraldines, and it was the chief
stronghold of Lord Offaly, the " Silken Thomas," during
his rebellion, after the fall of Maynooth.
There is a letter from the former constable of this latter
fortress, written in 1535, to Cromwell, saying that Lord
Thomas had removed the Countess's apparel to Ley. as
well as other valuables, and that he, Boyce, had resigned
his office in consequence of the insurrection.
LEA CASTLE 261
The Carew MSS. record the Castle of Ley was of " no
value "in 1537, and state it was granted to James Fit/,-
Gerald after the attainting of the Earl. In 1548 he
required two gunners at the King's charge, and powder
Thomas Scotte petitioned to lease it in 1 549.
In 1554 the Lord Deputy, Thomas Earl of Sussex, is
said to have taken it from Patrick O'More, but it was
regained by Anthony O'More in 1598, after which he
defeated Essex at the Pass of Ballybrittas, called the
" Pass of Plumes " from those worn by the gay English
Lea was held by the Irish in 1641 upon the breaking out
of the rebellion, but afterwards the loyalists took posses-
sion under the command of Lord Lisle. They planted an
ash-tree to commemorate the event which lived 170 years,
and had a girth of from 29 to 33 feet, while its shade had
a diameter of 60 feet.
In 1642 Lord Castlehaven retook Lea, and at this time
some of the brass money known as St. Patrick's halfpennies
was struck here. These coins have the letter L on them
and are very rare.
O'Neill is said to have lodged in the castle.
The Parliamentary Colonels, Hudson and Reynolds,
took and dismantled the fortress in 1650.
It was repaired and held by lease under the Crown by
an O'Dempsey until confiscated after the fall of the Stuarts.
In 1695 it was granted to the Earl of Meath as part of Sir
Patrick T rant's estate.
A horse stealer called O'Dempsey and nicknamed
" Shamas a Coppuil," or "James the Horse," inhabited it at
the beginning of the eighteenth century until the Govern-
Hampden Evans owned it in 1791, and it afterwards
passed to Viscount Carlow.
The following legend was related by Widow Gorman
262 CASTLES OF IRELAND
in 1818 to Miss French of Glenmolire, and noted by
Redmond M'Comon O'Byrne, chief of Donamace and
Leagh, had two gigantic sons named Roderick and Maurice.
The latter was married to a daughter of The O'Neill and
had one son called Connell.
Upon the death of the old chieftain O'Byrne, he divided
his territory between his sons, leaving Donamace to the
elder, Roderick, and Leagh to the younger, Maurice.
Roderick, believing he should have inherited all his
father's possessions, determined to murder his brother.
I.KA CASTLE (EXTERIOR).
One stormy night he set out alone from Donamace, and
having tied his horse beneath a grove of ash-trees near the
castle of Lea, he let himself in by the postern, with the key
of which his unsuspecting brother had entrusted him.
Reaching Maurice's chamber he murdered him in cold
blood, but not before his victim had cried out to his son to
revenge his death by a brother's hand.
Roderick seized the body and, carrying it to where he had
left his horse, put it into a leather bag that he had brought
with him. Arriving at Dunamace he threw the body into
a very deep well, thinking it would never be discovered.
Maurice's son, Connell, had heard his father's cry for
LEA CASTLE 263
vengeance in his dreams, but upon awaking and finding his
father gone, with blood stains on the floor and stairs, he
knew he had actually heard his voice.
The young chieftain, armed with two great sabres of
equal size, proceeded to his uncle's stronghold, and present-
ing himself before him, demanded satisfaction. In the
duel which followed both combatants were killed, and it is
said no grass grows in their footsteps on the rock until this
The old well is still shown, and if two friends visit it
together one is said to die within the year.
There seems to be no historical record of the fortress
ever having been in possession of the O'Byrnes.
Grose, "Antiquities of Ireland."
O'Byrne, "History of the Queen's County."
MS. Ordnance Survey.
Comerford, " Kildare and Leighlin."
Marquis of Kildare, " Karls of Kildare."
Joyce, " Irish Names of Places."
" Lea Castle, Queen's Co.," in Dublin Pennv 'Journal.
Lord Walter FitzGerald, " Kilkea Castle," in Journal of
Kildare Arclitvological Society.
Miss French, MS.
THE ancient stronghold of the O'Carrolls, of Ely-O'Carrol,
is situated in the parish of Aghancon, in the Barony of
Ballybritt, King's County, about five miles south-east of
Its former name of Leim-Ui-Bhanain denoted " The
Leap of O'Banan," and it is still known as " The Leap "
in the district.
There are several legends to account for its designation.
One is that two brothers came to the rock on which the
castle is built, and they decided that whichever of them
survived, after leaping to the ground below, should erect
the stronghold. One of the two was killed by the jump.
Another story of a leap is told of a period long after the
castle was built. Sometime during the sixteenth century
the O'Carrolls' fortress was besieged by the English forces,
and in a sortie the garrison took prisoner a young Captain
Darby, who was with the attacking party. The room
where he was imprisoned in the castle is still shown. The
daughter of the chief was deputed to carry him his food,
which was delivered through a hole in the wall. But
the young Englishman made good use of his slender
opportunities by winning the heart of the Irish maid, so
that she connived at his escape by unbarring his prison.
When running down the stone stairs which led to the
cell in which he had been confined, he met her brother
coming up, who raised the alarm regarding the escaping
captive. Nothing daunted, young Darby turned and
LEAP CASTLE 267
ascended to the battlements, where, it is said, he leaped
from the castle roof into a large yew-tree, the roots of
which have only lately been removed. That the young
couple were eventually married is a satisfactory ending to
the romance, and certain it is that Leap Castle passed
to the Darby family as the marriage portion of an
O'Carroll's daughter who married a Darby, son of an
The castle is supposed to have been built by the Danes
prior to the English invasion, during their conflicts in
these parts with the more recently landed Norwegians.
The structure resembles their form of defence, being of
pyramidical shape, and built in the rubble masonry of that
period, with pre-Norman arches and small loopholes for
the discharge of arrows and javelins. The walls vary
from 15 to 25 feet in width. There are several stone
stairways in the thickness of the walls, and parts of
them are brightly polished from constant use. The keep
is the oldest construction, and it forms the hall of the
present edifice. The wings, one at each side, were built
at the end of the sixteenth or beginning of the seven-
teenth century. That on the north-west connects what is
known as the " Priest's House " with the main building.
This dwelling is of fourteenth-century masonry, and was
used as the chief residence of the family in times of peace.
In the top of the keep is situated what is known as
" The Bloody Chapel," having been desecrated by one
Teige O'Carroll, who murdered his brother before the
altar. It was formerly covered with a stone roof, but
this gave way last century. A curious old stone-fastening
remains that formerly received the bar of the door.
Off the chapel is the oubliette, formerly supplied with a
spring death-trap. Not so very long ago three cart-loads
of bones were removed from it and buried in consecrated
ground. Bits of several old watches were found among
268 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Large dungeons are situated below the keep, and there
are many bricked-up passages and secret chambers. One
of the former is said to lead to a neighbouring rath. The
guard-room on the south-east side is hewn out of the rock.
Numerous bones have been found in different parts of
The site of the castle was evidently chosen to guard the
river ford and the pass of the Slieve Bloom Mountains
into Tipperary. Many bones have been found in a field
near the river. A village once surrounded the castle,
but only the ruins of the houses now remain.
The O'Carrolls, whose chief stronghold the castle was,
are supposed to have wrested it from its original builders,
In 1154 Henry II. granted Ely O'Carroll to Theobald
de Walter, but he was entirely unable to take possession of
any but the lower portion of the kingdom.
In 1489 John O'Carroll died of plague at Leap. The
visitation was at this time so bad that hundreds of bodies
Gerald Fitz-Gerald, 8th Earl of Kildare and Lord
Deputy of Ireland, set out for Leamyvannan in 1513 to
put down a rising of the O'Carrolls. He failed to take the
castle, " as was seldom the case with him," and retreated
to collect fresh forces.
Returning with a splendid company he was shot by
an O'More while watering his horse at the River Greese,
near Kilkea, and he died a few days later at Kildare.
Three years afterwards his son attacked Leap, and
took the stronghold, of which it is recorded, " there was
scarcely any castle at that period better fortified and
defended than this, until it was demolished upon its
In 1522 the Earl of Kildare made it a charge against
his rival, Sir Piers Butler, Lord Deputy, that he had
lent O'Carroll cannon to defend Leap against him in 1516.
LEAP CASTLE 269
The charge was hardly denied, but the defence was put
forward that the attack on O'Carroll was unwarranted.
Mulrony O'Carroll died at Leap in 1532. It is recorded
that he was " a triumphant traverser of tribes ; a jocund
and majestic Minister champion, a precious stone, a car-
buncle gem, the anvil of the solidity, and the golden pillar
of the Elyans."
He was succeeded in the chieftainship by his son,
Ferganainm, but the succession was disputed by a senior
branch of the family who were in possession of Birr.
Ferganainm enlisted the aid of his father-in-law, the Earl
of Kildare, who received a wound during the dispute
which hurried his end.
It was, no doubt, at this time that a terrible massacre
took place at Leap Castle upon the rival branch of the
sept, who had been invited to the stronghold under the
guise of friendship. Lord Deputy Grey may have had
this act of treachery in his mind when writing of O'Carroll,
Baron of Ely, in Edward VI. 's reign, he speaks of him
as " false." It is stated that this O'Carroll made sub-
mission to Lord Leonard Grey in 1537.
Twenty years later (1557) the Earl of Sussex, Lord
Justice, made a hosting into Eircall, penetrating into Ely,
where he took Leap Castle. But this expedition seems,
mainly, to have been directed against the O'Connors,
who had taken refuge there after their escape from
Meelick Castle, and " the goodness of his steed " is said
to have saved O'Connor from his pursuers, who took
the Leap without opposition. O'Carroll became re-
possessed of the stronghold shortly afterwards.
There was a Jonathan Darby, Captain of Sussex Horse,
in 1553, and perhaps it was during this expedition that
the romance before related took place. A tomb in the
neighbouring graveyard records the death of a Jonathan
Darby in 1601.
It is said an inquisition was called at Lemyvanane
270 CASTLES OF IRELAND
in 1568 for the preparation of a deed by which Ely
O'Carroll was surrendered to the king by " Sir William
_CXKerroll," to whom it was restored by letters patent,
but there' is some confusion about the dates and conditions
of the several transfers.
In 1604 fcly O'Carroll was annexed to the King's
During the Parliamentary wars, Mr. Darby, of Leap,
espoused the King's cause, and tradition avers that
Cromwell appeared before the castle saying that if they
did not surrender in twenty-four hours he would blow them
out with a pump-stick. The fortress was not tenable in
the event of cannon being used, as it is commanded
from many points.
A weird story is told of the Jonathan Darby of the
time, usually known as " the wild Captain." It is said
before he surrendered the castle he collected all his money
and treasure and with the aid of two servants hid
it somewhere in the walls of the fortress. He then sent
one of them for his sword and in the meantime threw
the other over the battlements. Upon the messenger
returning he slew him with the weapon he brought,
evidently thinking "a secret is only safe with three
when two are dead." Later he was arrested on a charge
of high treason and imprisoned in Birr. He was several
times reprieved, and at last liberated, his legs having
mortified. Upon his return he was only capable of
murmuring " My money, my money,' 7 but was quite
unable to say where it was concealed.
In 1691 a Captain Darby, of the Leap, is alleged to
have committed many deeds of daring against rapparees.
It would appear that the estate was mortgaged for a
nominal sum to one John Holland for fear of confiscation,
for Charles II. re-granted the land to this Holland as
Admiral Darby, who commanded the Bellerophon at
LKAP CAStLK 271
the battle of the Nile, 1798, was one of the Darbys of
The present owner is Jonathan Charles Darby, Esq.,
U.I,., who resides in the castle.
Donovan, "Annals of the Four Masters."
Cooke, " History of Birr."
Cooke, " Picture of Parsonstown."
G. Story, "Impartial History of Ireland."
K. Bagwell, " Ireland Under the Tudors."
J. Brewer, " Beauties of Ireland."
Lord Walter Fitzgerald, " Kilkea Castle" (Kihiarc Arduvo-
logical Society's Journal).
THE castle is situated in the portion of Leixlip which
extends into North Salt Barony in the County Kildare.
The fortress occupies a commanding position at the
juncture of the Rivers Rye-water and Liffey, above the
famous Salmon Leap from which the designation Leixlip
is derived, being a Danish name from the old Norse word
" Lax-hlaup," i.e., Salmon Leap. From the word " Saltus,"
a leap, the baronies of Salt have also taken their name.
The castle is generally supposed to have been erected
by the DC Hereford family towards the close of the twelfth
century. The present building consists of two blocks at
right angles, facing east and south. The east wing
probably incorporates part of the twelfth-century keep,
and with the north-east circular tower represents the oldest
portion of the structure, although it has been pierced by
In this part a room is still shown in which tradition
states that King John slept during his stay in Ireland.
The square south-east tower is not so old, and its
erection is generally ascribed to the Geraldines.
The lands of Leixlip were granted to Adam de Hereford
by Strongbow shortly after the Normans arrived in 1170.
At the close of the thirteenth century the castle and lands
had passed to the Pypards. In 1302 Ralph Pypard
surrendered all his castles, &c., to the Crown, and in
consequence Richard de Bakeputz, who was constable of
Leixlip, was ordered to deliver it up to the King.
LKIXI.IP CASTLE 275
Lcixlip Castle was included in the list of those fortresses
that were only to have Englishmen as constables by the
statute passed in 1494.
Henry VII. granted the castle and lands to Gerald,
8th Karl of Kildare, upon his marriage with Dame
Elizabeth Saint John, between the years 1485 and 1509,
and they remained in the possession of the FitzGeralds
until the rebellion of "The Silken Thomas" in 1534, in
which the owner, Sir James " Meirgach " (i.e., the winkled)
EitzGerald was concerned. In 1536 an Act was passed
by which the Crown became possessed of the castle and
Two years after Mathew King, of Dublin, surrendered
the castle, which appears to have been granted to him for
twenty-one years. In 1568 William Vernon, gentleman,
was leased the manor of Leixlip, containing castles, &c.,
by the Crown. Nine years later Sir Nicholas Whyte,
Master of the Rolls, came into possession. He was a
son of James Whyte, of the County Waterford.
In 15/0 he was granted the manor of Leixlip, two
castles, a water-mill, a salmon-weir, two fishing-places
called the Salmon Leap, on the River Anna Liffey, Prior-
town Meade, and other demesne lands. Two years later
he was made Master of the Rolls.
Sir Nicholas Whyte was succeeded by his son Andrew,
whose son was again Sir Nicholas Whyte, Knt.
This Sir Nicholas held the manor of Leixlip upon the
breaking out of hostilities in 1641. In company with
Lord Dunsany, Patrick Barnwall, Sir Andrew Aylmer,
and other chief men of the Pale, he surrendered himself
to the Lords Justices Parsons and Borlace. This was
done in obedience to the King's proclamation to show
that they had no part in the rebellion, but they were
imprisoned in Dublin Castle and most inhumanly treated.
In the diary of Crptain William Tucker he records
going from Dublin to Naas in 1641 with the Marquis of
276 CASTLES OF i'RELAND
Ormond, and sleeping a night in Leixlip Castle. He
mentions that the owner, Sir Nicholas Whyte, was at the
time a prisoner in Dublin.
In 1646 General Preston established his chief quarters
in the fortress, and in November of that year the Con-
federate Catholics halted in their march on Dublin between
Leixlip and Lucan. They were commanded by Generals
Preston and Owen Roe O'Neill. The King's secretary
and minister, Digby, was at Leixlip with Preston.
Plots and counter plots among the Confederate com-
manders made the once formidable army of no avail.
Owen Roe, fearing some treachery, threw a wooden bridge
across the Liffey, as a flood had destroyed the permanent
one, and withdrew his forces into Meath.
Sir Nicholas Whyte recovered his lands of Leixlip by a
Decree of Innocence. He died in 1654, and was buried at
Various historians have confused the fortress popularly
called Leixlip Castle with a stronghold of less note
designated the " Black Castle " of Leixlip, situated at
the eastern end of the town. Although still known as
the " Black Castle " this building has been so modernised
that its original fortified structure is not noticeable.
That some discrepancies as to ownership existed in the
written history of Leixlip Castle was first noted in 1901,
but it was not until the following year that Lord Walter
FitzGerald, in a note in the Journal of 'the Kildare Archceo-
logical Society, gave an extract from " The Civil Survey "
of James Peisley and Henry Makepeace of 1654, in which
the " Black Castle " of Leixlip is mentioned as belonging
to the Earl of Kildare and " one ruined castle " to Sir
Nycholas White, thus establishing the fact that there
were two distinct . castles at Leixlip owned by different
The " Black Castle " is therefore no doubt the fortress
alluded to in an inquisition held in September, 1612, which
LEIXLIP CASTLE 277
states that Gerald FitzGerald, son of Gerald, late Earl of
Kildare, and uncle of Gerald, late Earl of Kildare, was
seized of one castle, three messuages, one ruined water-
mill, and forty acres of arable land at Leixlip. And again
in 1621 the inquisition taken upon the death of Gerald,
1 5th Earl of Kildare, includes the Castle of Leixlip,
&c. While the rental of the Earl of Kildare in 1657
mentions the black castle of Leixlip with sixty acres
of land valued at ,15 a year.
Leixlip Castle was purchased by the Right Hon. William
Conolly, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, at the
beginning of the eighteenth century. He subsequently
built the mansion of Castletown at Celbridge, but his
nephew and heir occupied Leixlip Castle during the famine
years of 1740 and 1741.
After this period the castle has been inhabited by many
It was a favourite residence of Primate Stone, and
during Lord Townshend's period of office he usually
passed the summer there.
Many stories are told of this Viceroy's fancy for mixing
incognito with " all sorts and conditions of men."
One day Lord Townshend met a journeyman cutler
named Edward Bentley in the demesne of Leixlip Castle
and began to talk to him. Bentley was loud in his
praises of the Lord Lieutenant's kindness in allowing the
public into the grounds of his residence, but he was
equally vehement in denouncing the political views he
Mistaking the proprietor for one of the retainers, he
offered him half a crown upon leaving, and when it was
refused the cutler commented on the difference between
his action and that of the gate-keeper who had demanded
Lord Townshend then took him to the castle and
provided him with a cold repast, but as he was escorting
278 CASTLES OF IRELAND
his departing and grateful visitor through the hall the
unfortunate gate-keeper came in.
The Lord Lieutenant asked him why he had dared to
disobey orders and receive money from visitors. Where-
upon the man fell upon his knees and asked pardon.
Bentley, at last realising who had been his entertainer,
immediately followed suit. Lord Townshend sent for his
sword, and the cutler was quite certain that his last hour
had come. The Lord Lieutenant flourished the weapon
over his head and brought it down smartly on the terror-
stricken man's shoulder, saying, " Rise, Sir Edward
Bentley." The new-made knight was appointed cutler
to His Excellency, and lived long to enjoy his honour.
Viscount Townshend's wife died at Leixlip Castle.
The Hon. George Cavendish remodelled the building
and brought it up to modern requirements during his
tenancy before 1837.
John Michael, Baron de Robuck, subsequently lived
there, and was drowned in the Liffey in 1856 during a
In 1878, Captain the Honourable Cormvallis Maude,
son of the Earl of Montalt, took the castle after his
marriage. He was killed at Majuba Hill.
The present occupier is William Mooney, Esq., J.P.
This fortress is one of the oldest inhabited houses in
Ireland. It has been said that the novelist Maturin
founded one of his weird plots on a legend relating to
Leixlip Castle, but the statement requires verification.
An underground passage runs from the castle, beneath
the Eyewater, to St. Mary's Church, where it terminates
in a vault under the building, the end being now walled
Lord Frederick FitzGerald, " Leixlip Castle," and Lord Walter
FitzGerald, Note, in Journal of the Archaeological Society of flic
LEIXLIP CASTLE 279
Proceedings of Royal Society of Antiquaries.
" History of St. Wolstan's," in Irish Builder for 1899.
?. (Petrie :), "Town and Castle of Leixlip," in The Irisli Penny
Book of Survey and Distribution.
Calendar of Patent Rolls, Ireland.
Book of Inquisitions of Province of Leinster.
Fiants of Elizabeth.
Transcripts of Inquisitions.
MS. Ordnance Survey of Ireland.
THIS castle takes its name from a rath now known as
Round Hill, Us meaning "fort," and mor " great" It is
situated on the right bank of the River Blackwater, about
four and a half miles north-by-east of Tallow, in the
county of Waterford.
When Henry II. visited Lismore in 1171 he seems to
have formed the plan of turning the ancient and famous
Abbey of Mochuda into a fortified episcopal residence ;
hence in 1179 Milo de Cogan and Robert FitzStephen
were sent by his directions to choose the site for this
stronghold, which was to act as a protection against the
" mere Irish."
In all probability the tapering tower, now known as
" Sir Walter Raleigh's Tower," formed part of the ecclesi-
astical buildings. It is constructed of rude rubble, and has
plain loops and cornices. The entrance is on the second
floor, and this leads into buildings of later date, so that it
has no external doorway. A somewhat similar tower was
destroyed by fire prior to 1864, which may (with the one
now standing) have protected a gate between the upper
and lower courts.
The outer wall, with its beehive-roofed bastions at the
corners, and the old gate, which has its archway decorated
with chevrons, are likely to have been of twelfth-century
The entrance to the castle is by " the Riding House," so
called from its having formerly been guarded by two
LISMORE CASTLE 281
mounted sentries, the niches for the horses being still
shown. This leads into a long shaded avenue, flanked by
high walls which extends to the opening of the lower
courtyard. Over the gate are the arms of the first Earl
of Cork, and the motto " God's Providence is our inheri-
tance." " King John's Tower " is situated to the right of
the entrance, and the " Carlisle Tower " on the left. This
latter is about 240 feet in height, and was erected to
commemorate the Lord Lieutenancy of the Earl of
Carlisle. It is constructed of coarse rubble. The stone
for the dressing of its windows and for other parts of the
castle was quarried at Chatsworth, and brought over in
specially chartered vessels.
The " Flag Tower " flanks the north-east angle, and the
oldest wing faces east towards the garden. The upper
court is reached through a passage on the west of the
entrance, and here Sir Walter Raleigh's tower is situated
to the north.
The whole fortress is built upon a rock, which on one
side descends precipitously to the Blackwater, the base
being clothed with trees.
The Earl of Cork employed " a free Mazon of Bristol "
during his alterations. The modern improvements were
principally designed by Sir Joseph Paxton.
The main door has an Ionic porch executed in Bath-
stone, said to have been the work of Inigo Jones.
The hall is square, and is used as a billiard-room. A
stone stairway ascends on the left side of the entrance.
The present banqueting hall was originally a chapel, and
has a Gothic roof of open woodwork. The drawing-room
contains a large bay window overhanging the river, known
as " King James's Window." During his stay in Ireland
in 1689, he spent a night in the castle, and dining in this
room, he approached the window, but started back when
he saw the depth below.
The sword and mace of Youghal are exhibited in the
CASTLES OF IRELAND
hall, where is also the Pastoral Staff of Lismore, which was
discovered built up in a doorway of the castle with a
valuable Irish manuscript book, since called the " Book
In 1181 Cullen O'Cullane, and OThelan, Prince of the
Decies, attacked the fortress, which had been somewhat
hastily constructed, and they killed fifty to eighty of the
garrison and razed the stronghold.
Prince John, Earl of Morton, landing at Waterford in
1 185, rebuilt the castle on a larger scale.
Nine years later the men of the Decies took the fortress
by surprise and killed Robert Barry, brother of Giraldus
Cambrensis. In the autumn of the same year (1189) the
Irish, finding they could not hold the castle, decided to
destroy it, but they afterwards surrendered it upon terms.
From this time it appears to have been an episcopal
residence for some four hundred years.
In 1218 the Bishop of Waterford wrote to Henry III.
LISMORE CASTLE 283
complaining that the castle of Lismore had been taken
from him by Thomas FitzAnthony and Griffin FitzGriffin.
The King ordered that it should be restored to the bishop.
When Robert de Bedford was elected Bishop of Lismore
the fortress \vas transferred to him, but not without the
Bishop of Waterford declaring it belonged to his see.
Bishop de Bedford appealed to Rome, and after a dispute
of twelve years it was finally confirmed to the see of
In 1271 Lord Justice Audley came on a visit to the
castle, and Roger de Mortimer, after he landed at
Youghal as Lord Justice, was the guest of Bishop
Fleming at Lismore in 1317.
Some time before his resignation in 1 589, Meier Magrath,
Bishop of Lismore and Archbishop of Cashel, granted the
castle to Sir Walter Raleigh at a rent of ,13 6s. Sd., and
three years later Sir Walter sold it to Sir Richard Boyle,
afterwards the first Earl of Cork, who restored and
His great son, the philosopher, was born in the castle
The stronghold was besieged three times during the
civil wars of 1641. It was first attacked by five thousand
Irish troops under the command of Sir Richard Beling,
and was successfully defended by Lord Broghill, the Earl's
The following year an unsuccessful attempt was made
to burn it by the Irish.
In 1643 it was again besieged by Lieutenant-Colonel
Purcell with seven thousand foot and nine hundred horse.
This time Captain Hugh Croker commanded the garrison.
The Earl records in his diary that the rebels demanded
the surrender of the fortress, but "we retorned them
defyance." None of the defenders were killed, but their
enemies lost about three hundred in killed and wounded.
The following month cannon was brought to bear on the
284 CASTLES OF IRELAND
stronghold, and a breach was effected in the brewhouse,
but it was quickly repaired with earth, and the fire from
the castle was so great that the enemy did not dare to
storm the opening. The guns were then shifted to the
south-west, and the orchard was attacked, but the shots
from the turrets protected the curtain wall.
After a siege of eight days, the Earl's sons, Lords Dun-
garvan and Broghill, landed at Youghal and made a treaty
with Lord Muskerry for a six days' truce. Of the
besiegers twenty were killed, while the defenders escaped
The great Earl died in 1644. The following year the
castle was again besieged, this time by troops under Lord
Castlehaven. Major Power, with a garrison of a hundred
of the Earl's tenants, managed to kill five hundred of the
besiegers and to make terms before they surrendered.
The 4th Earl of Cork died without male heirs in
1753, and Lismore Castle passed to his eldest daughter,
Lady Charlotte Boyle, who had married the 4th Duke
of Devonshire in 1748. It thus passed to its present
owner, the 8th Duke of Devonshire, who entertained
King Edward VII. and Queen Alexandra at the castle
Boyle, " Lismore Papers."
C. Smith, " State of Waterford."
R. Ryland, " History of Waterford."
Egan, " Waterford Guide."
Proceedings of Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.
W. Flood, " Lismore" (Journal of Waterford Ardnvological Society).
Windele Manuscript (Cork Archa-ological Society's 'Journal).
MacMahon, " Lismore Castle " (Historic Houses).
Tins fortress is situated in the Barony of Duhallow, four
miles and a half east-south-east of Kanturk, County Cork.
The name was sometimes spelt Loghort, and means
literally " herb-plot " or "garden," from lnibli, " herb," and
gort, " an enclosed field."
The central tower is circular, and measures about 80 feet
in height. It was strongly machicolated, and had only a
few apertures for light and air. The walls are about 10
feet thick at the base, diminishing to 6 feet.
The castle was formerly surrounded by a moat, which
was crossed by a drawbridge, but this has been removed.
Richard Sainthill, writing in 1831, describes the castle
" Six miles from Liscarroll is Loghort Castle, the resi-
dence of Lord Arden when he visits his Irish estates. It
is a square keep about 90 feet in height. The ground floor
is now the kitchen. The first floor was the armoury, and
contained arms for 100. soldiers, which were removed and
lost in the year 1798. This is now the dining-parlour ;
above this is the drawing-room. We then rise to the state
bedroom, beside which there are six others. From the
battlements an extensive prospect is commanded."
The castle also contained a good library. In the
armoury was preserved the sword of Sir Alex. Mac-
Donald, who commanded the Highlanders at the battle
of Knockninoss in 1647, and was treacherously killed by
a soldier after the encounter.
286 CASTLES OF IRELAND
The fortress dates from the reign of King John, and was
a former stronghold of the MacCarthys.
In 1641 Sir Philip Perceval garrisoned it with a hundred
and fifty men during the rebellion. Nevertheless the Irish
gained possession of the stronghold by treachery, and held
it until May, 1650, when Sir Hardress Waller reduced it
with a battery of cannon.
In his letter to the Parliament he writes of it as a place
of great strength.
After this it seems to have remained in a state of dilapi-
dation until the middle of the eighteenth century, when
Sir Philip Perceval's descendant, the Earl of Egmont, put
it into a state of repair.
The agents of the estate resided in the castle during
many years of the last century, and it is now the residence
of Sir Timothy O'Brien, Bart.
There are many legends relating to the old fortress.
C. Smith, "County of Cork," with "Historical Notes from Croker
and Caulfield MSS."
Joyce, " Irish Names of Places."
Brewer, " Beauties of Ireland."
Gibson, " History of Cork."
Lewis, " Irish Topographical Dictionary."
LOUGH CUTRA CASTLE
Ix the Barony of Kitartan, County Gal way, about three
miles south-by-east of Gort, is situated Lough Cutra Castle,
the beautiful mansion of Viscount Gough.
The demesne extends along the west and south shores
of the lake, and the gardens slope to the water's edge in
Mr. Blake Foster, in " The Irish Chieftains," says that
the name was derived from a leader of the Belgic tribe,
called Cutra, who owned the district before the arrival of
The mansion is a castellated building of Tudor style.
It has massive walls of finely-cut limestone, and was
erected during the last century at a cost of over ,50,000.
Mr. Paine was the architect, but he died before the
building was finished, and the lodges, &c., were carried out
in the same style by Mr. Nash, while the gardens and
grounds were exquisitely laid out by Mr. Sutherland.
It is considered one of the show places of the west.
John Prendergast Smith was created Viscount Gort in
1816. He had inherited the O'Shaughnessy estate through
his uncle, and he began to build the present mansion.
The story goes that being enchanted with East Cowes
Castle, in the Isle of Wight, which belonged to, and had
been designed by, Mr. Nash, Lord Gort decided to erect a
similar building on the shores of his beautiful lake. It is
strange that the present Lord Gort now lives in East
288 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Cowes Castle, from which the design of his ancestor's
castle in Ireland was borrowed.
The first Viscount Gort adopted his nephew, Colonel
Vereker, as his heir.
This soldier so distinguished himself at the battle of
Coloony that he and his heirs were granted supporters to
the family arms and allowed to adopt " Coloony " as their
When the 3rd Viscount Gort succeeded to the estates
they were heavily encumbered, and the famine of 1848
completed the ruin of the family.
The castle was sold for 17,000 to Mrs. Ball, Superioress
of the Religious Order of Loretto, Dublin. She turned
it into a novitiate house and opened a school. After a few
years the community was recalled, and the castle was again
put up for sale. This time it was purchased for 24,000
by the first Lord Gough.
Two pieces of ordnance which he captured in India are
mounted at the entrance.
The present Viscount Gough is Resident British Minister
Fahey, " History and Antiquities of Diocese of Kilmacduagh."
Blake Foster, "The Irish Chieftains."
Ward's Guide to Limerick, Clare Coast, and Lower Shannon.
Tins fortress is situated in West Muskerry, County Cork,
about twenty miles from Cork City, on the bank of the
River Sullane, the ford of which it was evidently built to
Various derivations are given of the old name Macromp.
Some authorities state that it signifies the "Plain of Crom,"
the supreme deity of the ancient inhabitants of Ireland.
Smith says the name came from a crooked oak under
which travellers used to pass, but it seems more probable
that it simply meant " a crooked plain," and referred to the
undulating country round.
In Smith's History of Cork he describes the building as
consisting of two square towers about 60 feet high con-
nected by a large modern building. Windele, however,
says that the present residence is a huge square mass of
masonry which formed the keep of the original castle.
It has a handsome gallery and other good apartments,
and is now covered with ivy. At the beginning of the last
century Gothic windows were introduced and part of it
weather-slated, which, being entirely out of keeping with the
style of architecture, has not added to its picturesqueness.
It occupies a slight rise on the east bank of the Sullane
River, which flows through the demesne. The gardens lie
to the south.
The castle appears to have been erected in the twelfth
century, and its building has been variously attributed to
the Carews and Daltons, while its Irish name of Caislean-i-
Fhlionn, signifying " O'Flyn's Castle," seems to indicate
that it owes its origin to this family, who formerly owned
290 CASTLES OF IRELAND
territory in Muskerry and Carberry. It afterwards came
into the possession of the MacCarthys, and Tiege MacCarty,
father of the famous Lord Muskerry, died in the castle in
1565, having restored and enlarged it.
In 1602 its owner, Cormac MacDermot Carthy, Lord
Muskerry, was suspected of hostile intrigues and imprisoned
in Cork, while Captain Flower and then Sir Charles
Wilmot were sent to lay siege to the castle. Lord Mus-
kerry, however, escaped, and the Lord President fearing
he might cut off Sir Charles's retreat, ordered him to
return to Cork.
The night before the intended march the garrison killed
a pig, but water being too scarce to scald it they decided to
singe it instead with fern and straw. This they did in the
castle bawn, but some sparks lighting on the thatched roof
of a cabin flamed up and set fire to some tallow through
one of the windows of the castle.
The flames quickly spread through the building and the
garrison was obliged to take speedy refuge in the bawn.
From thence they made a sally to the woods, about fifty
being slain in their attempt to escape.
The besiegers entered the castle and extinguished the
fire. After making some necessary repairs Sir Charles left
a garrison there and marched to Cork.
Upon the breaking out of the rebellion of 1641 it was
again in Lord Muskerry's possession, and when the Papal
Nunzio landed in the south of Ireland he visited many
places and amongst them Macroom Castle. He was received
at the great gate of the fortress by Lady Helena Butler,
sister of Lord Ormond, and the wife of Donough, Lord
Muskerry. The Nunzio stayed at Macroom for four days.
In 1650 the Bishop of Ross assembled an army in the
park. Upon the approach of Lord Broghill with a body
of horse, the garrison in the castle set fire to it and joined
the main body encamped outside. Then followed the
battle of Macroom, in which about seven hundred of the
MACROOM CASTLE 291
Irish troops were slain, The Bishop and the High Sheriff
of Kerry were taken prisoners. The latter was shot, but
the bishop was promised freedom if he induced the garri-
son of Carrigadrohid Castle to surrender. When brought to
that fortress he, however, exhorted the besieged to hold out,
and he was at once hanged with the reins of his own horse.
Later in the war General Ireton is said to have burned
both the town and castle of Macroom.
During the Commonwealth the castle was granted to
Admiral Sir William Penn, father of the founder of
Upon the restoration of Charles II. the stronghold was
restored to the MacCarthys, and was enlarged and
modernised by the Earl of Clancarty.
In 1691 it again fell into the hands of an English
garrison. They were hard pressed by James's troops,
until the approach of Major Kirk and three hundred
dragoons raised the siege.
The estate of the 4th Earl of Clancarty was confiscated
for his allegiance to King James, and the castle was sold
by auction in 1703. It was bought by the Hollow Sword
Blade Co., who resold it to Judge Bernard, ancestor to
After this it was occupied by the Hedges Eyre family,
the Hon. Robert Hedges Eyre dying 1840.
Colonel White Hedges, brother of Lord Bantry, owned
the castle in 1861, and it is now in the possession of Lord
Ardilaun, whose wife is one of the Bantry family.
Smith, " State of County and City of Cork."
Bennett, " History of Bandon."
J. Windele, " Notices of the City of Cork," &c.
C. Gibson, " History of the County and City of Cork."
Meehan, " Confederation of Kilkenny."
Murphy, "Cromwell in Ireland."
THE town of Malahide is situated in the Barony of
Coolock, about seven miles north-north-east of the City of
Dublin, and about half a mile distant stands the ancient
seat of the Talbot family.
A number of suggestions have been put forward as
to the derivation of the name Malahide, perhaps the most
probable being that it comes from Baile-atha-id, signifying
the " town of Id's ford."
The present castle is almost square in form, with a
Gothic entrance on the south-east. This side of the
fortress is flanked at each angle by a round tower, one of
them at least having been added during the last century.
The whole effect is much enhanced by the building being
largely covered with ivy.
During the early part of the eighteenth century the
stronghold was enlarged and modernised by its owner,
Colonel Talbot. It had at that time lost its castellated
character, which was restored, while the moat that
surrounded it was filled in and planted.
The former entrance was by drawbridge, protected by a
portcullis and barbican. The old tower of the barbican
now gives entrance to the stable yard.
The hall is flagged and vaulted, and the walls are hung
with interesting martial relics, while a handsomely-carved
chair is said to have belonged to King Robert Bruce.
A circular flight of stairs leads to the next floor, which
contains the famous " Oak Room." The timber for its
MALAHIDE CASTLE 293
ornamentation is said to have been brought from the " faire
greene commune of Ostomanstoune," which was not so far
away, and from which King William Rufus is said to have
obtained the oak to roof Westminster Hall. The panels in
Malahide Castle are of an ebony black, and are richly
carved in relief with scriptural subjects. The ceiling is
cross-beamed with oak, and a wide mullioned window
gives light to this beautiful apartment. It is said to have
once been the castle chapel, and that behind a double
panel, carved with scenes from the Garden of Eden, is a
recess still occupied by the altar.
Here amongst other interesting objects is the suit of
armour traditionally supposed to have been worn by Sir
Walter Hussey, who was the first husband of the Hon.
Maud Plunkett, and was killed on his wedding day.
The dining hall is said to elate from the Tudor period,
and it has a pointed ceiling of stained wood with a gallery
at one end. In this room is displayed a very fine
collection of historical and family portraits by many
celebrated artists, amongst whom are Lely, Titian,
Reynolds, Kneller, and others.
The portraits include those of" Handsome Dick Talbot,"
Duke of Tyrconnel, favourite of Charles II. and James I.,
the Duchess of Portsmouth and her son the Duke of
Richmond, the Earl of Lucan, Ireton, Myles Corbet, and
several royal personages.
The " saloon " has also some art treasures, the chief being
an altar-piece by Albert Durer, which once belonged to
Mary Queen of Scots, and was purchased by Charles II.
for the Duchess of Portsmouth for the then enormous sum
The lands of Malahide were granted to the Talbot
family in 11/4 by Henry II., in whose train was Chevalier
Richard Talbot, when the king came to Ireland in 1172.
This grant was confirmed to Sir Richard Talbot by
Edward IV. in 1475.
294 CASTLES OF IRELAND
The foundations of the castle were laid by the first
Richard Talbot in Henry II.'s reign upon the gentle eleva-
tion of limestone rock where it stands to-day. It was
enlarged during Edward IV.'s reign.
Sir Richard Edgecomb landed at Malahide in 1488 as
Lord Justice, and writes that " there a gentlewoman called
Talbot received and made me right good cheer," until the
Bishop of Meath and others came later in the day to escort
him to Dublin.
During the rebellion of Lord Offaly or the "Silken
Thomas," the O'Tooles and O'Byrnes ravished the country
north of Dublin, and having plundered Howth, they " went
to Malahyde and burst open the gates till they came to the
hall-doors, when as they were resisted with great difficulty,"
they returned homeward.
After the rising had been suppressed, the unfortunate
young leader executed, and his family attainted, Gerald,
afterwards I2th Earl of Kildare, only escaped from the
English Government through the assistance of his aunt,
the Lady " Aleanora " FitzGerald, and for the protection
she had afforded her nephew she was detained at Malahide
Castle awaiting the King's pleasure. From here, in 1545,
was dated her petition for pardon to Henry VIII., which
Lord Strafford tried to gain some of the Talbot posses-
sions and privileges in 1639, but without success.
John Talbot was banished to Connaught for taking part
in the rebellion of 1641, and his castle and 500 acres were
granted on a seven-year lease in 1653 to Miles Corbet,
who was Chief Baron. His house in Dublin had been
visited by plague, and he took up residence at Malahide
about Christmas time. Here he lived until obliged to fly
for his life, and he was afterwards executed as a regicide.
There is a tradition that Cromwell was his guest at
Malahide during his tenancy.
A picture appearing on the Down Survey Map (1655-56)
MALAHIDE CASTLE 295
represents the castle as having a large tower at one end,
and the notes describe it as " a good stone house therein,
with orchards and gardens and many ash-trees, with other
outhouses in good repair."
Upon the Restoration the Talbot family came again into
Close to the castle are the ruins of a church which was
erected and endowed by the Talbot family, and where
they were buried for many years. Here is the altar tomb of
Maud Plunkett, " The Bride of Malahide," who was " maid,
wife, and widow on one and the same day." Her third
husband was Sir Richard Talbot. The tomb is particularly
remarkable because of the effigy which represents Lady
Talbot as wearing the " horned coif" of 1412, and it is the
only representation of this fashion in Ireland.
It is said the church was unroofed by Corbet, either to
make bullets of the lead or to cover a barn with the other
The history of the castle would be hardly complete with-
out mention of the famous ghost " Puck," who has a fancy
for roaming the grounds in the costume he wore when he
was an inhabitant of the castle. There are many stories
regarding his appearances, amongst which is the following
authenticated account : Not so many years ago a naval
officer who had just been appointed to the Coast Guard
Station at Malahide received an invitation to dine at the
castle. On his way up the avenue he met a strange
figure in a fantastic costume whom he thought was some
one masquerading. Not liking to be made the subject of
a joke, he threatened to knock him down unless he told
him what he wanted, and upon getting no reply he
endeavoured to carry out his threat, but his arm passed
through his adversary, and he thought it advisable to
hasten his steps to the castle. It was not likely to improve
his appetite, however, to find the portrait of the strange
figure looking clown upon him from the dining-room wall.
2y6 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Richard Talbot was created Lord Talbot de Malahide in
1831, and the present peer is 5th Baron.
AUTHORITIES CONSULT HD.
D'Alton, " History of County of Dublin."
Proceedings of Royal Society of Antiquaries.
Carew MSS., Book of Howth.
Brewer, " Beauties of Ireland.''
Burke, "Visitation of Seats and Arms."
M'Mahon, " Malahide Castle " in " Historic Houses."
P., " Malahide Castle," in Dublin Penny Journal.
Prendergast, "The Plantation of the Barony of Idrone," in Journal
of Kilkenny A rcli ecological Sod civ.
THE town of Mallow is situated on the River Blackwater,
seventeen miles north-north-west of Cork, in the Barony
The ruins of the castle are to the south of the town upon
rising ground commanding the river. They consist of a
great rectangular building running north and south, and
measuring about 80 feet in length and 30 in breadth on
the inside. It has thirty-one Tudor windows, which are
generally large and square, having two series of oblong
lights, three or five in number, and a window on the north
contains as many as eight.
The structure is unroofed, and the floors being of wood
have almost entirely disappeared. It was defended by
three towers on the western side. The round tower at the
north-west angle contained a clock until the middle of the
last century. The centre tower measures about 1 2 feet by
1 5, and its door-head is depressed. The south-west tower
has a five-sided exterior, and inside the upper part is
circular, and the lower portion pentagonal.
The eastern front of the castle has one tower, with a
five-sided exterior likewise. In 1836 a portion of the east
side of the castle fell. The whole of it is now extensively
covered with ivy.
This building is supposed to be of the Tudor era, and it
is likely to occupy the site of an older fortress, as there are
still traces of foundations which do not seem to have been
included in the plan of the present ruin.
298 CASTLES OF IRELAND
The Manor of Mallow passed by exchange from the
De Rupes or Roches into the hands of the Desmond Fitz-
Geralds at the clo.-:e of the thirteenth century.
Tradition states that the Tudor fortress was erected
by the "Great Earl" of Desmond, as Garrett, the I5th
Earl, who succeeded to the title in 1558, is usually styled.
It seems, however, more probable that it was built by his
even greater father, James, who was Lord High Treasurer
It remained in the Desmond possession until the for-
feiture of their princely estates in 1584.
At this time it was in the hands of Sir John of Desmond,
the Earl's son, who was overtaken near Castlelyons and
killed by a former servant of his own. His body was hung
over one of the gates of Cork for some years, and his head
sent to Dublin Castle.
The following description of the stronghold is taken
MALLOW CASTLE 299
from an inquisition held at this time on the Manor of
" One castle containing in itself two small courts and
one great barbican, namely, where the howse standeth the
enterance in is on the north side ffyrste into one of the said
courts, and then turninge one the lefte hande ye enter by a
doore, beinge in a highe wall into the Balne or Barbican,
which is reasonable large, and then goinge a little way,
turninge one the lefte hande, have ye enterance by an other
stone wall, whereas the castell or howse standeth, the lower
rooms whereof ar sellers vauled over. And in the wall one
the lefte hande there be stayres of stone of xii stepps in
heyght that leadeth one the right hande into the Hall,
which is about Ix foote longe and xxvi foot wyde, within
the howse, and is deepe, with a highe roofe, the Tymber
wereof seemeth to be sounde, and is covered with thacke,
some thinge decayed at the north ende ; towards the west
corner there is a square buyldinge vaulted as thother is,
but not so broade, and riseth somewhat higher than the
roofe of the hall in which, over the seller, ar fower stronge
roomes that may be made meete for lodgings : the upper-
most, savinge one, is vaulted."
The siege during the Desmond rebellion must have
caused the castle to need repair, and even at subsequent
dates it seems to have been in a ruinous condition.
At first after this, the district of Mallow was assigned to
Pelham, H.M. Attorney-General, and Sir Thomas Norreys,
who was holding the place, writes to Burghley in 1587:
" I understand Mallow (a place which I have hitherto had
keeping of) is assigned to H.M. Attorney-General, who
doth little esteem it. I crave to be admitted an associate
in Co. Cork, and still keep that place, which I doubt not
the Attorney-General will easily yield to. I affect not
the place for any special goodness, but having held it so
long am the more unwilling to leave it, and, if I may obtain
it, will endeavour the best service I can."
300 CASTLES OF IRELAND
The same year Sir John Norreys, President of Minister,
writes from Utrecht complaining that the honour of his
office brings little land with it, and asking that Mallow
might be granted to him.
He it was who settled the crown of Portugal on the
royal house of Braganza, and Edmund Spencer described
him in some of the lines of his " Eairy Queen."
In 1588 Sir Thomas Norreys received a grant of the
castle and lands from Elizabeth.
Here, in Sir Thomas's arms, died his brother, the great
Sir John Norreys, in 1597, of old wounds which had been
neglected and turned to gangrene. One of many fables
told regarding his death is that the devil, dressed in black,
appeared while he was playing cards, and claimed his soul
on the spot in fulfilment of an old bargain.
During the Tyrone rebellion in 1 598-99 Norreys had his
English sheep stolen from Mallow, and his park wall broken
down, so that the deer roamed loose.
Upon the restored young Earl of Desmond's returning to
Ireland in 1 599 he spent much of his time at Mallow-, where
he was said to be in love with Lady Norris, widow of Sir
The Attorney-General writes in 1606 : " The first night
we lodged at Mallow, a house of my Lady Norries, which
is a well-built house, and stands by a fair river in a fruitful
soil, but it is yet much unrepaired and bears many marks
of the late rebellion." At this time Elizabeth Norreys,
heiress to the estate, was a king's ward, and resided with
her mother in the castle.
In 1613 a fresh patent was granted to Dame Elizabeth
Jephson, and her heirs for ,50 paid by her husband, Sir
John Jephson, Knight, she having inherited her father's
estate. The grant included the castle, manor, and town of
Mallow, Short Castle, alias Castle-Gar, &c.
In 1636 the Earl of Cork made an offer for the manor,
but he did not come to terms with the owners.
MALLOW CASTLK 301
Short Castle, which was on the north side of the town,
was in charge of Lieutenant Williamson in 1641, when
Lord Mountgarret marched against Mallow, while the
larger fortress was placed in charge of Arthur Bettesworth
and two hundred men by Captain Jephson.
After many assaults and several breaches, Short Castle
was forced to surrender, which its commander did on
terms. There are several versions of the following story.
After the castle's fall its defender and his men were
refreshing themselves in a public-house in the town, when
an officer and man belonging to Mountgarret's force entered
with a block and sword, stating they had come to behead
them. Lieutenant Williamson caught the sword up with
one hand and the officer's hair with the other, and dragged
him to the walls of the larger stronghold, where, dismissing
him with a kick, he and his men joined the other garrison.
The Castle of Mallow was taken by the Karl of Castle-
haven in 1645, and almost reduced to ruins.
In 1666 there seems to have been an attempt made to
restore it. Lord Orrery, writing to the Duke of Ormond
in this year, says : " This bridge is at Mallow, where there
is a castle of good strength if it had a little reparation, and
is one of the greatest passes and thoroughfares in this pro-
vince, and if seized on by any enemy would, in effect,
divide the country into two parts."
During the scare of the French invasion the Grand Jury
presented money to repair it, but the Judge seems to have
reserved his decision on the matter.
Major-General Sgravenmore sent Colonel Doness to
destroy the bridge and reconnoitre the castle in 1689.
Norreys was added to the family surname Jephson in
1838, and some years later Sir Denham Jephson Norreys
erected a mansion in Elizabethan style close to the old
fortress. Sir Bernard Burke remarks of it : " Here are
mullioned windows, pointed gables, tall chimneys, and all
those various intricacies of building which characterised
302 CASTLES OF IRELAND
our noblest seats in the days of the Virgin Queen ; some-
what fantastic, it is true, but picturesque in the extreme."
The manor arid castle are still in the possession of this
family, Mrs. Atherton-Jephson-Norreys being the present
H. F. Berry, "The Manor and Castle of Mallow," in Journal of
Cork Archaeological Society.
]. O' Flanagan, " The Blackwater in Minister."
Sir B. Burke, "The Seats and Arms of Noblemen and Gentle-
Smith, " History of County and City of Cork."
R. Bagwell, " Ireland under the Tudors."
H. Berry, " Manor of Mallow in the Thirteenth Century," in Journal
of Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.
MA YNOO Til CA S TL /:"
" Yc Geraldincs ! ye Geraldines ! how royally ye reigned
O'er Desmond broad, and rich Kildare, and English arts dis-
Your sword made knights, your banner waved, free was your
By Glyn's green slopes, and Dingle's tide, from Barrow's banks to
What gorgeous shrines, what Brehon lure, what minstrel feasts
In and around Maynooth's strong keep and palace-iilled Aclarc !
But not for rite or feast ye stayed, when friend or kin were
And foemen fled, when " Crom a boo " bespoke your lance in
SITUATED about twelve miles west-by-north of Dublin,
this ancient fortress of the Pale was the chief stronghold
of the Kildare branch of the Geraldines. It was built by
Maurice FitzGerald (the first of the great family to settle
in Ireland) to protect the lands of Offaly, granted to him
in 1 1 76 by Strongbow in lieu of part of Wexforcl which
King Henry wished to retain.
From the excellency of the twelfth-century masonry,
the great keep, with walls some 8 feet in thickness, and
the gate-house, are the best preserved parts of the ruin.
The large corner tower and three round arches adjoining
belong to the thirteenth century, while the fifteenth cen-
tury is represented by an oblong tower, now used as the
belfry of the Episcopalian Church. The rest of the
306 CASTLES OF IRELAND
buildings which connected these, now isolated, structures
have almost entirely disappeared.
The fortress was surrounded on two sides by water,
being at the junction of the River Lyreen, a tributary of
the Liffey, and a smaller stream.
In 1248 we read that Luke, Archbishop of Dublin,
erected the chapel of Maynooth into a prebend of St.
Patrick's Cathedral at the request of Maurice, second
Baron of Offaly. This building, which was once the castle
chapel, is now the parish church.
At the beginning of the fourteenth century Maynooth
seems to have been the favourite residence of the Fitz-
Gerald family. John, the ist Earl of Kildare, and
Thomas, the 2nd Earl, both died there (1316 and
1328). The latter bequeathed the castle to his wife. It is
described as being " built of stone, with numerous offices
partly of stone, and two gates, one leading to the town,
and the other to the garden."
The castle was added to in 1426, and is said to have
been " one of the largest and richest Earl's houses in
In 1534 the Earl of Kildare, being Lord Deputy, was
summoned to London, and appointed his son, Lord Offaly,
Vice-Deputy in his absence. Upon a rumour that his
father had been executed, Lord Thomas, who was very
young, went into rebellion, and such nobles and chiefs as
refused to join his standard he sent as prisoners to
A division of the English army, landing at Howth to
raise the siege of Dublin Castle, was met by " Silken
Thomas " with two hundred men. An engagement fol-
lowed, in which Lord Offaly was victorious, and the
survivors of the King's troops were sent captive to
At this time the castle was splendidly fortified with
men and ordnance.
MAYNOOTH CASlLE 307
Hearing that the whole English army was about to
arrive, 'Lord Offaly left Maynooth in command of Chris-
topher Paris, his foster-brother, and went into Connaught
to raise forces.
In January, 1535, seven hundred men were sent from
Dublin to burn Maynooth Castle. A skirmish took place,
and although some of the rebels were slain, the royal
The Lord Deputy, Sir William Skeffington, now col-
lected his forces, and marched in full strength against the
stronghold. The siege began on the I4th of March, and
was continued until the 23rd.
Upon arriving at Maynooth, Sir William demanded the
surrender of the castle, and offered free pardon and reward
to all the garrison.
To this he only received a jeering reply, so planting
his cannon to the north of the building towards the
park he opened fire. The attack was varied north-east
and north-west, but though this continued for over a
week little damage was done, save destroying the battle-
Towards the close of this time a letter was shot out of
the castle to the Lord Deputy from Christopher Paris,
offering to find means of letting the besiegers enter the
castle for a certain sum of money and provision for the
rest of his life.
Sir William Skeffington agreed to the terms, and upon
the 22nd, a field-piece having been captured from the
besiegers, the Governor made it an occasion for high
revelry. Thus, while the men who guarded the outer
battlements were sound asleep after their carouse, the
King's troops easily entered the castle by scaling-ladders
early on the morning of the 23rd.
Sir William Brereton led the attack, but the resistance
was very feeble, the drunken soldiers believing that the cry
of " St. George ! St. George ! " was but a dream. Sir
308 CASTLES OF IRELAND
William hoisted his standard from the highest turret,
so as to inform the Lord Deputy that the castle had
Sir William Skeffingtori entered in the afternoon. The
garrison consisted of thirty-seven persons. Two singers
of the chapel were pardoned, at the intervention of Chief
Justice Aylmer, on account of their sweet voices.
Twenty-five of the men were beheaded, and one hanged,
outside the castle gate, and the principal heads placed
upon the battlements. Amongst these was that of the
Dean of Kildare. Paris was paid the sum stipulated for
his treachery, but as he had forgotten to make his safety a
condition, he was executed with the rest.
The Lord Deputy left a garrison in the castle and
returned to Dublin.
Lord Offaly was marching to the relief of his stronghold
with an army of seven thousand men when the news of its
fall reached him. At this, most of his forces melted away,
and the rebellion became rather a series of raids than
At last, Lord Thomas, tempted by a promise of
pardon, surrendered himself, and was sent prisoner to
England. Here, after some months of captivity, he and
his five uncles were beheaded at Tyburn.
There is a tradition that the last evening " Silken
Thomas " ever spent at Maynooth he played the harp
under the venerable yew which is now enclosed in the
grounds of St. Patrick's College-
A bill of attainder was passed in 1536 against the Earl
of Kildare and his heirs ; and Maynooth, being forfeited to
the Crown, became a King's castle. It seems to have
been a favourite residence of the Lords Deputy at this
In 1552 Edward VI. restored Gerald, nth Earl of
Kildare, to his title and estates. His widow lived at
Maynooth until her death ; and it was in the castle garden
MAYNOOTH CASTLE 309
that Lord Delvin was first approached by the Earls of
Tyrone and Tyrconnell to join the insurrection in 1606.
In a letter written by the Countess of Kildare she
expresses her regret for such an occurrence.
After the death of the I4th Earl in 1612, Maynooth
Castle seems to have fallen into a state of dilapidation
on account of his son's minority. It was restored by
his guardian, the great Earl of Cork, who placed an in-
scription over the gateway recording its restoration, and
bearing the date 1630.
In 1629 we hear of the Earl's title deeds being preserved
in the Council House, which was a stone building that
stood on the site now occupied by the President's house
of St. Patrick's College. It was removed about 1780.
The doorway is still preserved in a school of the town,
and the council table, bearing the elate 1533, stands before
the Duke of Leinster's residence at Carton.
The 1 2th Earl of Kildare lived at Maynooth until
civil war broke out in 1641. Shortly after hostilities
began the castle was plundered and the valuable library
In 1643 Captain Michael Jones, under the Marquis of
Ormond, held possession of the fortress ; and in 1644 the
Earl of Kildare asked for powder and men to increase
its defence, he having taken down the spouts to make
In 1647 General Owen O'Neill sent a detachment from
Trim, which carried the castle by assault. Twenty-six
men of the garrison and some officers were hanged, and
the fortress dismantled.
The next Earl lived chiefly at Kilkea Castle, and
Maynooth gradually fell into decay.
In 1707 Robert, i9th Earl of Kildare, wished to restore
the building, but finding it too dilapidated he decided to
enlarge Carton House instead.
Houses were subsequently built among the castle ruins,
3io CASTLES OF IRELAND
and these were removed by the Duke of Leinster in 1848,
and the space round planted and enclosed.
Duke of Leinster, " Maynooth Castle." Addenda by Miss M. Stokes
(Kildare Archaeological Society's Journal).
Marquis of Kildare, " Earls of Kildare."
Most Rev. John Healy, D.D., " Maynooth College."
THIS castle is situated on the banks of the Foyle where
it narrows inland, somewhat over a mile south of Saint
Johnstown and seven miles from the City of Londonderry.
Only the keep now remains, but during the last century
the walls of the courtyard which lay between the Foyle
and the fortress were still standing-, and over the arch of
the gateway was a small stone engraved with the initials
" I.S.E.S.T." and the date 1619. This has, however, now
disappeared. Another inscribed stone bears the fol-
lowing: "The Hon. Elizabeth Hamilton, daughter of
John Lord Culpeper, and widow of Colonel James
Hamilton (who lost his life at sea in Spain, in the service
of his king and country), purchased this manor, and
annexed it to the opposite estate of the family, which
paternal estate itself has improved by her prudent
management to nearly the yearly income of the dower
she received thereout. She has also settled her younger
son, William Hamilton, Esq., in an estate acquired in
England, of nearly equal value in the purchase to this,
and given every one of her numerous offspring, descended
from both branches, some considerable mark of her
parental care. Her eldest son, James, Earl of Abercorn,
and Viscount Strabane, hath caused this inscription to
be placed here for the information of her posterity,
There are two incidents in the castle's history which are
of particular interest. In the sixteenth century it was the
312 CASTLES OF IRELAND
chief residence of the beautiful " Ineen Dubh," daughter
of Macdonnell, Lord of the Isles, and mother of the
famous Red Hugh O'Donnell, Chief of Tyrconnell.
It was said of her that she was " excelling in all the
qualities that become a woman, yet possessing the heart of
a hero, and the soul of a soldier."
The State Paper recording her possession is as follows :
" From Cul-Mac-Tryan runs a bogg three myles in length
to the side of Lough Foyle in the midst of the bog is a
standing loughe called Bunaber here at Bunaber dwells
O'Donnell's mother (Ineen Dubh M'Donnell). Three
miles above Cargan stands a fort called McGevyvelin
(Mongivlin) upon the river of Lough Foyle O'Donnell's
mother's chief house."
The fortress is mentioned in 1619 in Captain Pynnar's
Survey of the Escheated Counties of Ulster in the fol-
lowing manner : " Sir John Stewart hath 3,000 acres
called Cashell Hetin and Littergull. Upon this propor-
tion there is built, at Magevlin, a very strong castle, with a
flanker at each corner."
James II. was the guest of Archdeacon Hamilton at
Mongevlin during the siege of Deny. From there he sent
proposals of surrender to the garrison by his host, which
A sad incident occurred in connection with the castle
last century. A servant lad being employed by the owner
of the time was so terrified by the ghost stories he heard
in connection with the building that he left his situation
and went home. His friends persuaded him to return, but
the matter so preyed upon his mind that he shortly after
"The Donegal Highlands."
J. A. H., " Mongevlin Castle," in Dublin Penny
MONKSTOWN CASTLE, COUXTY
SITUATED at the \vestern extremity of Cork Harbour, in
the Barony of Kerricurrihy, is the now ruined castle of
Monkstown. The name is derived from the Monastery
Legan, belonging to the Benedictine Monks, which was
formerly established here, it being a cell of Bath Abbey.
The castle consists of a quadrangular building, flanked
by four square towers, having machicolatecl defences
projecting from their angles. The windows are in excel-
lent preservation, being of square Tudor style, divided
by strong stone mullions, with horizontal weather cornices.
The moulding of the door displays excellent workmanship.
The estate belonged to the Archdeacons, who changed
their name to MacOdo, or Cody.
The castle was erected in 1636 by Anastasia Archdeacon,
nee Gould, who intended it as a pleasant surprise for her
husband, who was a naval officer, and away on a voyage
at the time.
Tradition says that it only cost the thrifty lady a groat.
At first she found that the builders objected to go to so
out-of-the-way a situation, as provisions were difficult to
procure. Nothing daunted by such an excuse the lady
offered to supply the workmen with provisions at the
ordinary retail rate. This she did, but as she purchased
her goods at wholesale prices she found when she came
to balance her accounts that she was only 4d. out of
314 CASTLES OF IRELAND
The castle was erected in a twelvemonth and a day, and
the date 1636 appears on one of the mantelpieces.
Smith states that the fortress was originally styled Castle
Mahon or O'Mahony's Castle, and in an ancient MS.
document (probably now in the possession of Captain
Shaw, late of the London Fire Brigade) it is described as
being "remade" at the above date, so that it may occupy
the site of an older stronghold.
The following interesting extracts are taken from the
manuscript alluded to, which has been preserved in the
Shaw family, they having at one time leased the castle :
" A.D. 1636, Monkstown Castle and court were remade.
Reader, you are to observe that it was not John Arch-
deacon, but his wife, Anastatia Gould, who built the four
castles of Monkstown, and the court, in his absence, as he
was from home. On his return he did not like the building,
and said that a building near a harbour was a building of
sedition, which, alas ! turned out so."
" A.D. 1660. Archdeacon died, as when Cromwell
came to Ireland he was deprived of his castle, lands, &c.,
but not his life, which they did not covet."
In 1612 the wardship of the son of the late John Arch-
deacon, of Monkstown, was given to Sir John Jephson
Knt., and it was this ward's wife who afterwards built
He died in 1660, and both he and his wife are buried in
the disused graveyard of Teampul Oen Bryn, west of the
castle. Upon his tomb appears a long Latin inscription
which, among other things, states that " Here lies the
body of that most noble man, John Archdeacon."
Colonel Hunks, one of the three deputed to execute the
death warrant of Charles I., was granted the lands of
Monkstown by the Commonwealth before the demise of
John Archdeacon, who lost his estate on account of loyalty
to the Stewarts. Hunks sold it to Primate Boyle, brother
of the Earl of Cork, for 400.
MONKSTOWN CASTLE, COUNTY CORK 315
But it evidently returned to the Archdeacon family
upon the Restoration, for it was again confiscated in 1688
on account of the family's loyalty to King James.
It then passed again into the hands of the Boyles, and
through two granddaughters of the Primate it descended
to the present owners, the Lords De Vesci and Longford.
In 1700 Dive Dowries writes: "Mr. O'Callaghan, a
Protestant, lives in Monkstown, in a good square castle
Later in this century it was rented by the Government
as a barrack.
Lord De Yesci leased the castle to Bernard Shaw in
1 86 1.
AFT 1 1 OR i TI RS Coxsr I.TK i >.
Smith, " Countv and City of Cork."
Gibson, " History of Cork."
J. YVindcle, " Historical Notices of City of Cork," <S:c.
Proceedings of Royal Society of Antiquaries.
THERE have been three consecutive castles at Portumna,
which is situated in the Barony of Longford, Co. Galway.
The town stands at the head of Lough Derg, about eleven
miles west of Birr. The name signifies " the bank of the
The territory formerly belonged to the O'Maddens, and
was included in the grant to De Burgo 1226.
Soon after this the first castle was erected close to the
River Shannon. The ruins were removed some years ago,
but its position can still be traced.
The second fortress, which was an imposing castellated
building of the Tudor period, was burnt in 1826. The
chief apartments were the great hall, handsome state
drawing-room, and library a beautiful long room in the
upper store}*. They were all complete!}* destroyed, only
the walls being left.
Some of the out-offices were fitted up as a residence for
the Dowager Countess of Clanricard shortly afterwards.
Since then the Earl of Clanricard has erected a magnifi-
cent modern residence in the demesne, but on a different
The manor passed, by the marriage of Elizabeth,
daughter of William de Burgo, Earl of Ulster, to Lionel,
Duke of Clarence, through whom it passed to the
Mortimers^ and later to the Earls of Clanricard.
In 1582 it was held by Ulick Burke, Earl of Clanricard,
i'ORTtJMNA CASTLE 31;
to whom 1'ortumna and the earldom were confirmed, as
his brother John disputed his right.
In 1608 it was granted to the Earl, with other houses,
to be held by knight's service in capitc.
The Earl of Strafford held a council in the castle in 1634
to establish the King's title in Connaught. The jury,
however, negatived the matter, whereupon the Earl arrested
them and the sheriff, and sent them prisoners to Dublin.
In 1641, Ulic, 5th Earl of Clanricard, was at Portumna
upon the breaking out of hostilities. He fortified the
castle and proceeded to Galway, of which city he was
governor. He used every effort to maintain peace, and in
1650 was appointed Lord Deputy in place of Ormoncl.
At this time he made Portumna his chief place of
In 1659 General Ludlow laid siege to the fortress.
In the struggle between James and William it was
garrisoned for James, but surrendered to Brigadier-General
Eppinger, who, with one thousand two hundred horse and
dragoons, arrived to reduce it.
HardinKin, " History of Galway/'
Lewis, "Topographical Dictionary of Ireland."
MS. Ordnance Survey.
IN the Barony of South Ballintobber, County Roscommon,
seventy-five miles west-by-north of Dublin, stands the now
ruined fortress of Roscommon. Joyce says the name
signifies " Coman's wood," from St. Comas, who founded
a monastery there about the year 746, but O'Donovan
traces its derivation from " crooked stick."
The plan of the castle consists of a quadrangular space
enclosed by curtain walls flanked at the angles by towers
rounded on the outside. The whole measures about 223
feet in length and 173 in breadth. On the east side the
entrance, under a pointed arch, was also protected by
two towers, which were connected by a rectangular building
inside that probably contained the state rooms.
The lower storeys of the towers were vaulted, although
some of them are now broken. The upper floors have
larger windows, and also the remains of fireplaces. Most
of the windows contain four lights, but some have
The north-west tower has a winding stair, which leads
to the top of the curtain wall. On the western side of the
stronghold is a small rectangular tower, which contained a
There is now no trace of the moat, but a few remains of
earth outworks are visible.
On the east is a long enclosure surrounded by walls and
flanked by bastions, which is known as the orchard,
although at present it contains no trees.
The north and south walls of the castle, which had been
ROSCOMMON CASTLE 319
broken down, have been again raised for farming purposes.
The inside of the walls exhibit traces of blasting. The
castle was built of blue limestone, and much of the stone
has been used elsewhere.
Weld considers it likely that the fortress was built from
an English plan, and remarks on the apparent absence of
patching, it all seeming to date from the same period.
Robert d'Ufford, Lord Justice of Ireland, began to erect
the castle in 1268, while Hugh, King of Connaught, was
too ill to prevent such encroachment on his territory.
Some authorities state a fortress existed here prior to this
time. During 1270-72 there are numerous accounts of
payments for building and fortifying the stronghold.
In 1275-76 is an entry of payment to Brother Maurice,
Bishop of Elphin, for the site that had been used, and
which appears to have been Church property.
The castle is said to have been razed by O'Conor in
12/2, but the word " broken " used in the Book of Howth
seems to be nearer the truth, as four years later the Irish
again seized it by scaling ladders and overthrew the
In Weld's Statistical Survey he gives an amusing
account of the contradictions which obscure the early
history of the stronghold, and from which it appears
impossible to gather the true facts at this distant period.
In 1277 Sir Robert d'Ufford was again Lord Juctice,
and with Thomas de Clare, Maurice Fitz-Maurice and all
their forces was hemmed in by the Irish in the Slievebawn
Mountains. They were only released on the condition that
Roscommon Castle was surrendered to the O'Conors.
It is also chronicled that Hugh O'Conor destroyed it in
this year and that it was rebuilt by Maurice Fitz-Maurice.
At any rate it seems again to have been in English
possession in 1282-83, as there are entries regarding pay-
merit for its fortifications, and a grant to the Prior and
Convent of St. Coman of a right to water their animals for
320 CASTLKS Ol' IRELAND
ever at the lake under the castle. This sheet of water,
which was called Loch-na-nean, or "the lake of birds," has
now entirely disappeared.
The names of numerous constables of the castle are
mentioned in the State Documents.
In 1290 the castle was garrisoned by Welshmen, and the
townspeople were in great distress because of the con-
stables and bailiffs preying upon them. The King issued
an order that nothing must be taken without consent and
There was a long trial in 1292 of William de Prene, a
carpenter in charge of works at Roscommon Castle, who
was accused of various frauds in connection with his
A very interesting account of repairs is recorded in 1304
which gives a fair idea of the extent of the fortress. An
artilleryman was paid for repairing war engines, and the
well was enclosed by a wall 3 feet thick. It was 5 feet
across and 32 feet deep, with a wooden cover. Three
drawbridges and two portcullisses are also mentioned.
The postern was closed with masonry 7 feet thick. The
step of the hall repaired, and the tower near it vaulted
with two arches. Also St. Bridget's well was drained into
Somewhere about this time Felim O'Conor is said to
have laid low the castle, while in 1341 his son Hugh was
taken prisoner by the King of Connaught and imprisoned
in the stronghold, but was released for a ransom the
Roderic O'Conor occupied the castle in 1375.
While in possession of the O'Conors it was a constant
source of dispute between O'Conor Don and O'Conor Roe.
In 1409, being in the former's possession, it was besieged
by the latter, but the garrison was relieved by Brian
O'Conor Sligo, who managed to get provisions into the
ROSCOMMOX CASTLE 321
Rory O'Conor died there in 1453. Tadhg O'Conor was
treacherously killed by his own people in 14/6, and they
took the castle of Roscommon, but did not keep it long.
In 1499 the Earl of Kildare led his forces into Con-
naught, dislodged O'Conor Roe and installed O'Conor
Don. In 1512 the Earl of Kildare again took the fortress,
and this time he garrisoned it with his own warders. It,
however, immediately reverted to the O'Conors, and
remained with them until 1 566, when it was taken for
It had been granted to M'William Bourke in 1544, but
as he would have had to drive out the occupiers, it is not
to be wondered at that he never took possession.
It was restored by the O'Conor Don, and Sir Thomas
L'Estrange made constable in 1569. The O'Conor Roe,
having a spite against the constable, attacked and burned
the castle in 1573, arid L'Estrange claimed compensation
to the amount of .,1,000.
Sir Henry Sydney lodged a night in the castle in 1576,
and complained of having no cheer. The O'Conor Don
visited him at this time.
Sir Nicholas Maltbie, to whom the castle was leased in
1577, asked to be made Seneschal of Roscommon in 1580
as compensation for rebuilding the fortress.
Captain Brabazon, Governor of Connaught, summoned a
meeting of the chiefs in the castle in 1582. It was held in
the " Tower of the Narrow Passages," and the joistings
giving way the whole meeting, including the Governor, was
precipitated to the bottom. Chief O'Elanagan died from
After this the English constable was murdered, and Sir
Henry Sydney left a garrison in the castle.
Sir Nicholas Malbie died in 1584, and the castle
remained in his family's possession for some years after-
wards. In 1609 Lady Sydley, widow of Henry Malby, Esq.,
asked allowance for the repairs of the castles of Roscommon
322 CASTLES OF IRELAND
and Longford, both of which she rented from the Crown.
Roscommon had been ruined by various garrisons which
had been placed there by Sir John Norris and others.
One of the charges against the northern Earls was their
intention to seize Roscommon Castle amongst others.
The garrison made a brave defence against the Irish in
1642. The castle was chiefly defended by Scotch warders.
It is quaintly noted that at the beginning of these "com-
motions " it had belonged to Lord Grandesson.
Three years later General Preston arrived and laid siege
to it, opening fire on both town and castle.
On the ninth day of the siege the garrison offered to
make honourable terms, which were accepted. The same
day the besieging party had a sharp encounter with a
relieving force, who were, however, defeated, and the castle
surrendered. Captain Leicester was left in command.
It remained in the possession of the Irish forces until
1652, when it was delivered on articles to Commissary-
General Reynolds, of the Parliamentary troops, by
It is probable that it was demolished at this time.
Tradition states it was burned by fugitive Irish after the
battle of Aughrim, and some blackened joists are pointed
out in corroboration.
It is now leased to a farmer by the Earl of Essex.
Weld, "Statistical Survey of County Roscommon."
O'Conor Don, " O'Conors of Connaught.''
Meehan, " Irish Franciscan Monasteries."
Joyce, " Irish Names of Places."
Carew MSS., including Book of Howth.
MS. Ordnance Survey.
Murphy, "The Castle of Roscommon," in Journal of Royal
Society of Antiquaries, Ireland.
" Its embers smouldering here and there,
Unfed, the civil war-flame dies ;
But still defiant on the air,
O'er Rosse the green flag proudly flies.
' 'Till Birnam wood meets Dunsinane,'
Macbeth before no foe shall quail,
And Rosse may all assaults disdain,
''Till on Lough Loin strange ship shall sail.'"
A. B. ROWAX .
THIS castle is situated on what is now known as the Island
of Ross, on the east shore of Lough Lenc, or the Lower
Lake of Killarney, about a mile and three-quarters south
of the town.
The island has been artificially formed by cutting across
the peninsula or ros on which the fortress is built and from
which it takes its name.
The channel, which is flooded by the waters of the lake,
is crossed by a bridge, although it is usually dry during
the summer months.
This bridge was formerly protected by a guard house
and gates, which were closed every night, sentinels being
posted at the entrance when the castle was garrisoned in
The present ruins consist of a keep, with the remains of
the surrounding ba\vn wall, which was flanked by semi-
circular towers at the corners. A spiral stone stair leads
326 CASTLES OF IRELAND
to the top of the keep, with doorways opening at the
The fortress is based on a limestone rock, and sustained
on the land side by a buttress of masonry.
The peninsula contains 158 acres, and copper mines
were opened on it in 1804, which were worked for four
years, in which time ,80,000 worth of ore was extracted.
Water getting in stopped further work. It was clearly
proved that the mines had been worked many centuries
before, and a number of stone implements, locally called
" Danes' hammers," have been found on the island.
The castle is supposed to have been built towards the
close of the fourteenth century by the family of O'Dono-
ghue-Ross, who added the appellation of their home to
distinguish them from the family of O'Donoghue-More.
A modern barrack capable of holding some two hundred
men and officers was erected against the keep, but when it
ceased to be used Lord Kenmare had the unsightly
There is a legend regarding a great and wise Prince
O'Donoghue who possessed the secret of eternal youth,
and under whose rule the land prospered greatly. It is
related how that during a splendid feast at Ross Castle
he rose up amongst the company and made a prophetic
oration, recounting accurately all that the future years
would bring. In the midst of speaking he walked over
to a window (which is still shown) and through it he
passed out over the lake. Upon nearing the centre he
turned round and waved his hand in farewell to those
behind, and, the waters opening, he disappeared beneath
On May morning he is said to rise from his watery
grave and ride over the lake on a white steed, surrounded
by beautiful women and youths. His appearance is looked
upon as a sign of a bountiful harvest.
It is also related how a young maiden imagining herself
ROSS CASTLE 327
in love with the phantom prince, cast herself into the lake
on a May morning and was drowned.
The O'Donoghues were succeeded at Ross by the
M'Carthy Mores, through whom the castle passed in 1588
to Sir Valentine Browne, ancestor to the present house of
In 1651 Lord Muskerry was guardian to his nephew
Sir Valentine Browne, who was then a minor of about
twelve years old. Hence it was that after his defeat bv
the Parliamentary forces at Knockniclashy on the 5th of
July he retired with his army, numbering some one
thousand five hundred men, to Ross.
Ludlow, accompanied by Lord Broghill and Sir Hardress
Waller, followed with four thousand horse and two
Lord Muskerry was the last Royalist commander in
arms, and his submission was a matter of great moment.
Ludlow reports that the castle was only accessible by
the causeway which the besieged had fortified, being
otherwise surrounded by water and bog.
Finding that this made the reduction of the fortress a
matter of difficulty, and probably hearing of the tradition
which stated Ross Castle could not fall until a ship should
sail on the lake, Ludlow asked for a small fleet of boats
to be prepared for transport at Kinsale.
In the meantime he found that the besieged were
obtaining supplies through the thick woods surrounding
the island. A force of two thousand foot were, therefore,
despatched to clear the thickets. Some of the enemy
were killed, some taken prisoners, and the rest saved
themselves "by their good footmanship."
The rest of Ludlow's forces were employed in fortifying
the peninsular so that a few men could keep the besieged
in, while a large company was despatched to Killorgan, on
Castlemain Bay, to receive the boats and supplies.
The preparation for the expedition was undertaken by
328 CASTLES OF IRELAND
the Rev. Dr. Jones, and the command was given to Captain
The vessels were sent in pieces, so that the workmen
who accompanied them could put them together in a few
days. Two pinnaces carrying ordnance, and capable of
holding fifty (or Ludlow says a hundred and fifty) men,
were forwarded so as to be ready for use in two days.
Also five or six boats to hold fifty men each, and material
to make more.
Great has been the controversy as to what route was
followed in conveying these vessels to Killarney. The
River Laune, which drains the lakes, is not navigable
above the place where Ludlow's force was to receive the
Tradition asserts that they were conveyed by the
mountain road, and in Ware's Annals it is recorded that
a ship was " carried over the mountains." On the other
hand, Smith distinctly says they were "brought up by
the River Lane, by strength of men's hands." He also
relates how a recent sexton of Swords, called Hopkins
(who had died at the age of 115), had been one of those
who " assisted in drawing the above-mentioned vessel into
the lake." It is, therefore, likely that Smith's informant on
the matter had received the correct impression from an
On Captain Chudleigh's tomb at St. Multon's, Kinsale,
the fact is recorded of his having constructed a ship to sail
on land for the reduction of Ross.
Some naval men are said to have drawn a vessel up the
Laune in later years.
It is on the whole most likely that the hulls of the
pinnaces were brought up by the river bed, while the
lighter craft were conveyed by road. At any rate the
transport and preparation occupied only the short period
of four days, at the end of which time the terrified garrison
perceived a warship being rowed upon the lake,
ROSS CASTLE 329
It is not unlikely that pressure was put on Lord Mus-
kerry by his superstitious garrison, for no sooner had the
vessel appeared than he notified to Ludlo\v that he was
willing to treat.
Commissioners were appointed on both sides, and after
a fortnight spent in debating the terms the treaty of Ross
was signed. Lord Muskerry's son and Sir Daniel O'Brien
were delivered as hostages.
Fair terms were granted to the Royalist Army, and
five thousand horse and foot laid down their arms.
For a long time Ross Castle gave rank and emolument
to a governor. One of these owed his position to the
confusion of names between New Ross, Count}' Wexford,
and the Ross of Killarney, for having rendered valuable
service at the former during the rebellion of 1/98, the
governorship of the latter becoming vacant he was at
M. F. Cusack, " History of Kerry."
I. Weld, "Illustrations of Killaniey."
|. Savage, " Picturesque Ireland."
C. Smith. "State of County Kerry."
J. Cook, " Murray's Handbook for Ireland."
Mr. and Mrs. Hall, " Ireland."
Proceedings of Royal Society of Antiquaries of In-hind.
J. Prendergast, " Surrender of Ross Castle"; A. I>. Rowan, Xotes
on same, 'Ton run I of K'ilkciinv ArcJifi'ologicul Society.
THE shores of Lough Melvin comprise part of Leitrim,
Fermanagh and Donegal. The lake is about six miles
long and a mile and a half at its greatest width. The
castle of Rossclogher is situated on an artificial island to the
south, near the Leitrim shore, and it gives its name to the
Barony of Rossclogher in that county.
The Four Masters record the miraculous formation of the
lake in 4694 B.C., while during the preparation of the grave
of Melghe Molbhthach the waters gushed forth. He had
been King of Ireland for fourteen years and was killed in
battle. The lake was then called Lough Melghe, from which
comes the modern Melvin.
The castle belonged to the M'Clancys, who were chiefs
of Dartraigh in 1241 according to the Irish annals. They
were a subordinate sept to the O'Rourkes and the name
is variously spelt Glannaghie, M'Glannough, M'Glanna,
M'Glanathie, M'Glanchie, Maglanshie, &c.
The lake fortress of Rossclogher was built by one of
this family before the reign of Henry VIII., but the exact
date is unknown.
It is interesting to note that the island next it, to the
east, is called Inisheher (Inis Siar), meaning western island,
having evidently received its name long before the founda-
tions of the castle were laid, which at the present time
form the most western land in the lake.
The structure upon which the fortress is built is like that
of the Hag's Castle in Lough Mask, and Cloughoghter
ROSSCLOGHER CASTLE 331
Castle in Cavan. It consists of a foundation of heavy
stones laid in the lake and filled in with smaller stones and
earth so as to form an island.
The castle consists of a circular tower surrounded by a
wall about five feet in height. It is built of freestone taken
from the mainland near, cemented together with lime and
coarse gravel. The walls, which are very thick, were
coated outside with rough cast, which is unusual in the
ancient buildings of the neighbourhood. On the side
nearest the land are the ruins of a bastion with holes for
musketry. The water is very deep between the fortress
and the land, which is about 100 yards distant.
On the mainland opposite the stronghold are the remains
of earthworks which w^ould seem to have been formed by
some attacking party possessing military skill. On a hill
above this is situated the ancient " cattle-booley " of the
MacClancy clan. It is a circular enclosure of earth, faced
with stone, and is about 220 feet in circumference.
The ruins of a church are also on the mainland, within
hailing distance of the castle.
The Four Masters record a night attack made by the
O'Rourks in 1421, by which they took MacClancy Oge
prisoner, and became possessed of " Lough Melvin and its
castle." The attack, however, is said to have been made on
the island of Inisheen, in consequence of the guards of the
lake giving up the boats to the attackers. It was on this
island the MacClancy 's wooden crannog was situated, and
its plundering again in 1455 by Maguire is recorded.
In 1588 three ships belonging to the Spanish Armada
were wrecked on Streedagh Strand.
In one of these was Captain Cuellar, whose graphic
narrative of his adventures in Ireland, when he had escaped
with his life from the sea, have been published of recent
After various wanderings, sufferings and ill-treatment in
the neighbourhood, he met a priest who directed him, in
332 CASTLES OF IRELAND
Latin, to a castle six leagues off. "It was very strong,
and belonged to a savage gentleman, a very brave soldier
and great enemy of the Queen of England and of her
affairs, a man who had never cared to obey her or pay
tribute, attending only to his mountains, which made it
On the road he fell in with a blacksmith who forced him
to work at his forge until the same clergyman, passing that
way, promised to ask the chief to send an escort for him.
The following day MacClancy despatched four of his
own people and a Spanish soldier to fetch him. He states
they were much grieved at his sore state and assisted him
in every way, and he adds : " I remained there three
months, acting as a real savage like themselves."
He describes his hostess as " beautiful in the extreme,"
and very kind to him. One day while sitting with her and
some of her women friends he began to tell their fortunes
by palmistry, and " to say to them a hundred thousand
absurdities." Soon this got abroad, with the result that
hundreds of people flocked to him to have their hands told.
At length he said he would have to leave, and then
MacClancy ordered that no one should molest him in
While Captain Cuellar was thus spending his time at
Lough Melvin, news arrived that the Lord Deputy,
Fitxwilliam, had marched from Dublin with a great force,
and was hanging all the Spaniards he could find and
punishing those who had succoured them.
MacClancy (Cuellar calls him Manglana) decided to fly
to the mountains with his people, most likely by a bridle-
path still to be traced from the " cattle-booley." It was
two feet wide, and the paving was enclosed by a kerb.
He asked Cuellar and eight other Spaniards what they
wished to do. After a conference they offered to defend
the castle against the Lord Deputy. MacClancy was
delighted, and at once made all provision. They then
ROSSCLOGHKR CASTLE 333
retired to the castle, taking with them the church valuables,
three or four boat-loads of stones, six muskets, six cross-
bows, and other arms.
Captain Cuellar describes the stronghold thus : " The
castle is very strong, and very difficult to take if they do
not (even though they should) attack it with artillery, for
it is founded in a lake of very deep water which is more
than a league wide at some parts, and three or four leagues
long, and has an outlet to the sea ; and, besides, with the
rise of spring tides it is not possible to enter it, for which
reason the castle could not be taken by water nor by the
shore of the land that is nearest to it. Neither could injury
be done it, because (for) a league round the town, which is
established on the mainland, it is marsh)', breast-deep, so
that even the inhabitants (natives) could not get to it except
As the Spanish captain never mentions the name of the
fortress, its identification with Rossclogher has been called
in question, chiefly because the measurements are much
greater than those of Lough Melvin (a league equalling
3*66 miles), but all the distances in the narrative are greatly
overstated. Again, Lough Melvin has not been open to
the sea within the historic period. A map, however, of
1609 in the British Museum represents the river which
drains it as being nearly as wide as the Krne, and we do
not read that Cuellar personally explored its outlet.
In all other matters the castle accurately answers to his
description, and no other building has ever been put
forward as the probable scene of the siege.
When the Lord Deputy appeared upon the shore (with,
Cuellar says, one thousand eight hundred men) he could
not get nearer than a mile and a half on account of the
marshy ground. From this it would seem that he arrived
at the point of Rossfriar on the north-west shore of the
lough. He then hanged two Spaniards as a warning, and
demanded by a trumpeter the surrender of the castle,
334 CASTLES OF IRELAND
promising the garrison a free pass to Spain. This they
pretended not to understand.
The siege lasted seventeen days, when a great snowstorm
obliged the Deputy to return south.
Upon this episode the State Papers are silent ; the
Lord Deputy merely giving the following account of his
northern expedition. " Eirst, therefore, it may please your
lordships, I undertook the journey the 4th November, and
finished the same the 23rd of this instant, December, being
seven weeks and one day, returning without loss of any
one of Her Majesty's army."
When the English forces had retired MacClancy returned
in great delight and feted the Spaniards. He offered his
sister to Cuellar in marriage, but this was declined. The
chief decided to keep the foreigners as his guard, by force
if necessary, but they hearing this left secretly. After
much hardship Cuellar eventually crossed to Scotland from
Dunluce, and from thence to Antwerp.
In 1590 MacClancy's death is officially recorded as
follows : " M'Glannaghe ran for a lough which was near,
and tried to save himself by swimming, but a shot broke
his arm, and a gallowglass brought him ashore. He was
the best killed man in Connaught a long time. He was
the most barbarous creature in Ireland, and had always
100 knaves about him. He would never come before any
officer. His country extended from Grange beyond Sligo
till you come to Ballyshannon. He was O'Rourke's right
hand. He had some 14 Spaniards, some of whom were
Thus in trying to reach Rossclogher fortress MacClancy
lost his life, his head being exhibited in triumph.
The estates of the sept were forfeited in 1641, and the
island fortress now belongs to St. George Robert Johnston,
Esq., of Kinlough House, the village of Kinlough being near
Upon approaching Lough Melvin from one direction at
ROSSCLOGHER CASTLK 335
about a mile distant the castle of Rossclogher bears a most
remarkable resemblance to a ship in full sail upon the
H. Allingham, "Captain Cuellar's Adventures in Coniiaught and
Ulster," with Translation of Narrative, by R. Crawford.
Donovan, " Annals of the Four Masters."
O'Reilly, " Remarks on Captain Cuellar's Narrative," in Proceedings
of Roval Irish Acadcmv.
" In th' historic pages of Erin's green isle
How bright shines the name of old Phelim the brave,
Who lived where the groves of Shane's Castle now smile,
And Neagh's crystal waters the green meadows lave."
J. S. M. C.
THE ancient name of this fortress was Edan-dubh-Cairrge,
meaning " the front or brow of the black rock."
It is situated near the village of Randalstown, about two
miles and a quarter north-west of Antrim. The present
demesne, which extends for two miles along the northern
shore of Lough Neagh, is bisected by the river Main.
The castle has not been inhabited since it was burnt
down on the I5th of May, 1816. A large addition was
being erected at the time, and it as well as the older build-
ings were all consumed. Only the beautiful conservatory
and the fortified terrace escaped uninjured. Several
turrets and towers still stand to indicate its former extent
A passage about a hundred yards in length runs under-
ground from the castle to the adjacent graveyard, and was
the servants' entrance to the mansion. Connected with
this are great vaults which were built at the same time as
the conservatory and the rooms near, so as to raise the
addition above the level of the Lough, and give the building
a better frontage.
An old safe is still to be seen in one of the castle walls,
and not far from it a curious figure-head, supposed by
SHANE'S CASTLE 339
some to have been brought from the East and to belong to
a much earlier date than the ruins among which it stands.
Tradition states that when it falls the family of O'Neill
will come to an end.
It is recorded that in 1490 Edan-dubh-Cairrge, the castle
of Niale, the son of Con, son of Hugh Boy, was taken and
demolished by Eelim, grandson of Niale Boy. It is
probable that the present ruins are the remains of a castle
which was erected in the sixteenth century upon the site
of an older fortress, though the exact date of building is
Edenduffcarrick belonged to the O'Neills of Clandaboy,
and a younger branch of the great Tyrone family.
They were descendants of Hugh O'Neill, surnamed
buide or boy yellow-haired, from which fact the district
got its name.
In Queen Elizabeth's reign Sir Brian MacPhelim O'Neill
usurped the O'Neill estates with the help of the English,
but they were shortly afterwards confiscated and bestowed
by the Crown on Sir Thomas Smith.
In 1573 there is a memorandum by Secretary Smith
offering to give up to the Earl of Essex upon certain
conditions " Belfast, Massareen, Castle Mowbray alias
Eden Doucarg (now Edenduffcarrick or Shane's castle, in
the county of Antrim) and Castle Toome."
After the treacherous seizing and execution of Sir
Brian in 1574 a fierce struggle for possession of Clandaboy
began between his son Shane MacBrian and a cousin, Neal
Oge. In 1583 Captain Thomas Norreys captured the
castle of Edenduffcarrick from Hugh Oge and handed it
over to Shane as Captain of Lower Clandaboy.
A writer about 1586, describing Antrim, states that
Edenduffcarrig and Belfast were the only wardable castles
at that time.
In 1 588-89 Lower Clandaboy was divided between Shane
M'Brian M'Felim O'Neill, and Neale M'Hue, son of Hue
340 CASTLES OF IRELAND
M'Felim. The latter was granted the castle with a fourth
of the country and followers, but as he was unable to
provide the pledges required for the safe delivery of the
castle and the payment of rent, he was imprisoned in
Dublin Castle until he could find them. In the meantime
his men garrisoned EdendufTcarrick.
Shane M'Brian O'Neill endeavoured to get possession of
North Clandaboy in 1591 for himself and his heirs, and
the Government received warning that it would be best for
them to keep Shane's Castle in their own hands, especially
as it could be used to guard the fisheries of Lough Neagh,
where a " civil English plantation " might be formed.
The same year Shane and his cousin Neale agreed to
submit to arbitration regarding the division of North
Clandaboy. Commissioners were, therefore, appointed
by the Lord Deputy, and Shane's Castle was reserved
to the Crown according to advice.
The Earl of Tyrone formed a camp near the castle in
1 593-94, and the Sheriff of Antrim appealed to the Lord
Deputy for a guard to be put in Edenduffcarrick, saying
that otherwise the country was unprotected, and that it " is
the only mark that these fellows shoot at."
After this the castle seems to have been allowed to fall
into decay, for in 1596 Mr. Francis Shane, discoursing
about the rebellion in Ulster, states that upon the edge of
Lough Neagh "standeth a ruinated pile called Edendow-
carrick," which being made wardable could be converted
into a store for provisioning Blackwater and Coleraine in
case of sea storms.
Later it was evidently taken possession of by Shane
M'Brian O'Neill, who had joined with his great namesake
and kinsman, the Earl of Tyrone, for in 1597 Sir John
Chichester, with the help of Neale M'Haghe (the other
claimant to Clandaboy) took the castle from him. It was
a somewhat unexpected victory, as Sir John did not at
first intend the capture. He had divided his forces into
SHANE'S CASTLE 341
three companies of a hundred men each. One party he
sent to seize some horses of the enemy, the second was
detailed to harass the rebels, and the third, which he him-
self commanded, was intended to prevent a sally from the
castle. The garrison did make an attempt to issue forth,
and he presently came up " pell mell with them," and
entered the bawn.
After two assaults the English came so near that they
set the building on fire. It was said to have contained
large stores, and that its loss was a great bridle to the Earl
After this the chieftains of both the Clandaboys laid
down their arms and gave hostages.
The castle had not long been in Government hands when
the warders, although well provisioned by the help of
Shane M'Brian (now siding with the English), made a raid
upon the country people, and carried off a number of
Neill M'Hugh M'Phelim, having escaped from prison,
took up the people's cause and assaulted the castle. They
broke the bawn and burned the door of the main keep,
whereupon the garrison killed their prey in the cellar, and
as it is reported, " by this wilful accident put the house in
A new door was ordered, and also a more plentiful stock
of provisions for the garrison.
In 1598 Sir Hugh O'Neill resided at Eclenduffcarrick,
it having passed again out of the hands of the Government.
In 1607 King James I. finally settled the castle and
estate upon the descendants of Shane MacBrian O'Neill.
It is most likely that the present name of Shane's Castle is
derived from this man. Richard Dobbs uses this designa-
tion in 1683, so that the popular belief that the name was
altered by French John who came into possession in 1716
is clearly erroneous. He was called " French " John
because, being of a younger branch, he had made his own
342 CASTLES OF IRELAND
way in the world engaged in the wool trade abroad. When
he came into possession of the estate he displayed in the
castle hall the very wool-cards he had used in his poorer
days to show he was not ashamed of his calling. It was
he who built the family vault in the adjacent graveyard in
In 1798 the first Viscount O'Neill, who was then the
family representative, rode into Antrim on the day of the
battle of that town. He received a mortal wound from a
pike in his side, and being conveyed by boat to Shane's
Castle, he lingered for a fortnight. It is supposed that it
was at his wife's instigation that he enlarged the castle
demesne and removed the ancient village of Edenduff-
A most interesting note from Mrs. Siddon's diary,
mentioning her visit to the castle in 1783, is as follows :
" When my Dublin engagement concluded I made a
visit to Shane's Castle, the magnificent residence of Mr.
and Mrs. O'Neill. I have not words to describe the beauty
and splendour of this enchanting place, which, I am sorry
to say, has since been destroyed by a tremendous fire.
Here were often assembled the talent, and rank, and
beauty of Ireland. Among the persons of the Leinster
family whom I met here was poor Lord Edward Fitz-
gerald, the most amiable, honourable, though misguided,
youth I ever knew. The luxury of this establishment
almost inspired the recollections of an Arabian Night's
entertainment. Six or eight carriages, with a numerous
throng of lords and ladies on horseback, began the day by
making excursions around this terrestrial paradise, return-
ing home just in time to dress for dinner. The table was
served with a profusion and elegance to which I have never
seen anything comparable. The sideboards were decorated
with adequate magnificence, on which appeared immense
silver flagons containing claret. A fine band of musicians
played during the whole of the repast. They were
SHANE'S CASTLE 343
stationed in the corridors which led into a fine con-
servatory, where we plucked our dessert from numerous
trees of the most exquisite fruits. The foot of the con-
servatory was washed by the waves of a superb lake, from
which the cool and pleasant wind came to murmur in
concert with the harmony from the corridor. The graces
of the presiding genius, the lovely mistress of the mansion,
seem to blend w r ith the whole scene."
The great fire already alluded to occurred in 1816, and
is supposed to have originated in a chimney where jack-
daws were building. It quickly spread to the drawing-
room, and nothing was saved except the family papers and
plate. A most valuable library and many pictures were
The sky was crimson for miles round, and people
flocked to all the adjacent hills to witness the magnificent
The present family residence is about a quarter of a mile
from the old castle. The owner, Lord O'Neill, is the 2nd
Baron, the former title having become extinct in 1855.
" The Rockery," formed from an ancient quarry and
stocked with rare plants, is one of the attractions of the
Calendar of State Papers.
Calendar of Carew MSS.
G. Hill, " Macdonnells of Antrim."
W. S. Smith, " Shane s Castle."
Donovan, "Annals of the Four Masters."
W. S. Smith, " Memories of '98 " ; G. Hill, " Shane's Castle " ; " Origin
and Characteristics of the Population in the Counties of Down
and Antrim," and Notes, all in Ulster your/nil of Ardurology.
ABOUT seven miles from Dublin, on the chief highway to
the North, is situated the town of Swords, Sword, Surd, or
Swerdes, as it is variously termed in ancient manuscripts.
From the earliest ages of Christianity the church founded
by St. Columbkille, with its attendant offices and monas-
tery, made the neighbourhood a powerful ecclesiastical
centre ; so that, when in later years the church lands of
Swords became joined to the see of Dublin, they formed
no inconsiderable part of the Archbishop's revenue.
In the Bull of Pope Alexander III. in 1179 to St.
Laurence O'Toole, Archbishop of Dublin, confirming his
archiepiscopal see, Sword is placed second on the list of
churches in importance.
Therefore it is not surprising that the Englishmen who
succeeded O'Toole in the see of Dublin should have
erected their country residence in a town, from the sur-
rounding lands of which they derived so much of their
The site for the castle or palace was chosen on the east
bank of Swords River, and the area covered by the
buildings was more extensive than is usual for a Norman
fortress, while the defences were somewhat less, as we hear
no mention, nor see any remains, of the keep, which forms
so universal a feature of the chief baronial strongholds.
Authorities place the date of building variously between
1184 and 1282, which gives a somewhat wide margin, but
its erection is most generally assigned to John Comyn, the
first English Archbishop of Dublin, who was elected at
Evesham, 1 1 8 1 , and who was one of those to welcome
Prince John at \Yaterford in 1 185. An inquisition of 1265
finds that there was a constable of the castle in this
The palace was built in castellated style, and the range
of embattled walls flanked with towers is still complete.
The warders' walk is yet easy to trace. Over the gateway
were the apartments for the guard, and just below is still
visible the bakehouse chimney, of which mention will be
Like so many of the castles of Leinster, Swords provided
for years a convenient quarry for the neighbourhood, and
what had once been corner stones of a palace went to
support the thatched roofs of the surrounding cabins, so
that few of the buildings which stood inside the battlements
are now traceable.
In the line of walls is a large window which once
346 CASTLES OF IRELAND
occupied the gable end of what is likely to have been the
great hall. The mullions of this window, which remained
intact until recently, were remarkable for being of red
sandstone, which is unknown in the country.
The situation of the chapel may still be discerned by
the remnants of some of the stone carving which once
adorned its sacred walls.
In 1 192 Archbishop Comyn obtained a patent authorising
him to hold an annual fair in his manor of Swords, and in
1387 this privilege was confirmed to Robert de Wikeford.
King Henry III. enlarged the possessions and added
new privileges to the manor, which he granted to Henry
de Loundres in 1216, on condition that he should build
and maintain Castlekevin, near Glendalough, County
Wicklow, to defend the pale in that quarter from the
invasions of the great Irish families of O'Toole and
We read later (1380) that Sir Nicholas Daggeworth
seized the manor of Swords as Commissioner of Forfeitures,
on the plea that the conditions above stated had not been
complied with. He, however, afterwards confessed that
the charge had not been proved, and therefore a writ of
restitution was issued by the Treasurers and Barons of the
Exchequer to Robert de Wykeforcl, Archbishop of Dublin.
The great prelates seem to have lived in almost royal
state within their manor of Swords. They had their own
seneschal, who was exempt from the authority of the sheriff
of the county, and the law courts. The archbishops could
try every case except the four pleas of the Crown, and their
gallows was erected near the town on an eminence since
known as Gallows Hill. Every writ issued from the civil
courts had to be transferred to the prelates' seneschal before
it could be served.
The office of chief constable of the palace was a post of
considerable importance, and survived the occupation of
the castle for a considerable time. William Galrote held
SWORDS CASTLE 347
the position in 1220, Sampson de Crumba in 1240, and
Thomas Fitzsimons in 1 547.
In 1624 we read that Patrick Barnewell, of Grace Dieu,
received pardon for alienation of certain interests, amongst
which was the Constableship of Swords with ten acres in
the Broad Meadow that belonged to the office.
It was most likely in connection with this post that the
Lords of Kingsland were required to attend the Archbishop
whenever he visited Swords, and to hold his stirrup as he
mounted or dismounted, for which service they held lands
to the value of some 300 a year.
It seems to be uncertain at what exact period the castle
ceased to be used as a residence by the Archbishops, but
in 1324 Alexander de Bicknor built the archiepiscopal
palace of Tallaght, which was used as a country seat for
the Archbishops for centuries, and only ceased to be
considered as a palace in 1821.
It is most likely, therefore, that the invasion of Ireland
by Edward Bruce, brother to the King of Scotland, ren-
dered the position of Swords palace (which was not wholly
built for defence) a somewhat dangerous one, as Bruce,
having his headquarters at Dundalk, was in possession of
the country almost up to the walls of Dublin.
In 1326 this same Alexander de Bicknor having dis-
pleased Edward II., and also being in arrears with his
accounts as Lord Treasurer, the profits of his See were
seized by the King to compensate for the deficiency, and
in order to ascertain their real value inquisitions by jurors
were held on the different manors.
The finding as regards the palace of Swords was as
"Who being sworn, say on oath, that there is in this
place a hall, and the chamber adjoining said hall, the walls
of which are of stone, crenelated after the manner of a
castle, and covered with shingles.
" Further, there is a kitchen, together with a larder, the
348 CASTLES OF IRELAND
walls of which are of stone, roofed with shingles. And
there is in the same place a chapel, the walls of which are
of stone, roofed with shingles. Also there was in the same
a chamber for friars, with a cloister, which is now pros-
trate. Also, there are in the same place a chamber, or
apartment, for the constables by the gate, and four
chambers for soldiers and warders, roofed with shingles,
under which are a stable and bake-house.
" Also, there were here a house for a dairy, and a
workshop, which are now prostrate. Also, there is on
the premises in the haggard a shed made of planks, and
thatched with straw. Also, a granary, built with timber
and roofed with boards. Also, a byre, for the housing of
farm horses and bullocks.
" The profits of all the above-recited premises, they return
as of no value, because nothing is to be derived from them,
either in the letting of the houses, or in any other way.
And they need thorough repair, inasmuch as they are
This gives some idea of the lost buildings, and also
shows that even at this date the castle was beginning to
Later the manor of Swords seems several times to have
been granted to archbishops who wished during their lives
to resign the arduous duties of the See. In 1484' we read
that " Doctor Walton, Archbishop of Dublin, being blind
and infirm, resigned his dignity, and reserved to himself
for a maintenance the manor of Swords during his life,
which reservation was confirmed to him by Act of Parlia-
ment during the following year." And again, in 1562, it
is recorded that, by Act of Parliament, John, late Arch-
bishop of Dublin, was assured the manor of Swords for his
life in consideration of surrendering the bishopric to Walter
There is no evidence to show that these aged prelates
ever resided in the castle, and as the following extract,
SWORDS CASTLE 349
written in 1583, records its state of ruin, it is most likely
they were content with the revenues alone.
Sir Henry Sydney, Lord Deputy in Queen Elizabeth's
reign, when sending to Sir Francis Walsingham a summary
of his services in Ireland, says : " I caused to plant and
inhabit there about forty families of the reformed churches
of the Low Countries, flying thence for religion's sake, in
one ruinous town called Surds (Swords). And truly (Sir)
it would have done any man good to have seen how dili-
gently they wrought, how they re-edified the quite spoiled
old castle of the same town and repaired almost all the
same, and how godly and cleanly they, their wives and
children lived. They made diaper and ticks for beds,
and other good stuff for man's use, and excellent good
leather of deer skins, goat and sheep fells, as is made at
Upon the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland the
castle ground was purchased by the late Charles Cobbe,
Esq., who leased it to the late Henry Baker, Esq., whose
successor still holds the land.
The ground enclosed by the walls is at present laid out
as an orchard and garden, and the castellated battlements,
which were built to protect the royal state of wealthy
prelates, have now no sterner duty than to shelter the
delicate apple blossoms from the harsh spring winds, and
to catch the sun-rays for the ripening fruit.
Right Rev. \V. Reeves, D.D., Pamphlet on "Antiquities of Swords."
Rev. Canon Twigg, MS. Paper read to Antiquarian Society.
Grose, "Antiquities of Ireland."
D' Alton, " History of County Dublin."
1.)' Alton, " Archbishops of Dublin."
Calendar of Carew MSS.
NOT far from Ardrahan, in the County Galvvay, stands this
castle, which originally belonged to the Burkes or De
Burgos. We read that Ulick, 3rd Earl of Clanricarde,
married a daughter of Burke of Tullyra, but it seems to
have passed to the Martyns during the sixteenth century.
This is generally supposed to have been through marriage.
Hogan mentions the Martins of Tillyra in 1598.
In one of the upper chambers is carved the date 1614,
accompanied by the initials " S. B."
A somewhat modern doorway opening into the courtyard
is surmounted by a stone shield bearing the Martyn arms.
They are said to have been presented to the family by
Richard I., who was accompanied by Oliver Martyn when
he went to the Holy Land.
Underneath the arms on the right side are the letters
" R.M.," and on the left " C. M."
In 1702 Oliver Martin of Tulliry, Esq., was allowed to
retain his lands after the rebellion, because he had assisted
so many Protestants during the insurrection. This was an
almost unique concession at the time.
The present owner, Mr. Edward Martyn, of literary
fame, has recently erected a beautiful modern mansion
near the old fortress.
J. Fahey, " History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Kilmacduagh."
J. Hardiman, " History of Gal way."
Hogan, " Description of Ireland, 1598."
THIS fortress was one of the castles of the Pale, and is
situated in the County of Dublin on the right-hand side
of the road which leads from Balrothery to Greenhills.
The name Timon or Timothan is derived from TcacJi-
Munna, signifying " the house of St. Munna."
The stronghold is built upon an esker and is therefore
conspicuous for a considerable distance round.
There seems to be no trace of outworks, which were
probably unnecessary owing to the castle having formerly
been surrounded by marshes. In recent years the land
has been drained and the water carried off by a small
stream which crosses the road near the castle and is a
tributary of the Poddle.
The building consists of a square keep with a projecting
stair tower adjoining the south-west angle, which is now
covered with ivy. The main structure was formerly
divided into two floors by an arched roof over the lower
room. The battlement slightly projects. The east wall
has been destroyed, while about two-thirds of the north
wall and some of the south have gone. The western side
is still perfect.
There is a narrow window splayed outwards on the
ground floor, while several " slit " windows and larger
openings are noticeable at different heights. There are
a few recesses in the walls.
A flue projection resting on two corbels is to be seen
near the summit, and also a walk inside the battlements at
the top of the tower.
352 CASTLES OF IRELAND
The entrance was in the west wall, and a small machico-
lation for pouring lead or water on an enemy was situated
over the arched doorway. There were holes at each side
of the entrance for securing it with wooden bars.
A great rent now runs from base to summit of the ruin.
A view of the castle as it was in 1770 is published in
Handcock's " History of Tallaght."
The fortress is supposed to have been erected in the
reign of King John, who granted the manor to Henry de
Loundres for his expenses incurred in fortifying Dublin
Castle. This grant was confirmed in 1231.
Timon was constituted a prebend of St. Patrick's in
1247, and it is so still, but without endowment, though in
1306 it was valued at 10 a year.
In an inquisition in 1547 it is described as a "ruinous
fortress," and three years later being a suppressed prebend
it was granted to Bartholomew Cusack for twenty-one
years. Two or three years later the lands were granted
to James Sedgrove, after which they were purchased by
Sir Charles Wilmot, from whom they passed to the Loftus
Dudley Loftus was in possession of the castle when he
died in 1616, and in 1618 the property was confirmed to
Sir Adam Loftus.
William Conolly purchased the estate, which still
remains in his family.
Some peasantry inhabited the castle towards the close
of the eighteenth century.
There was once a village of Timon, of which no trace
D'Alton, " History of County Dublin."
Handcock, " History of Tallaght."
Joyce, " Rambles Around Dublin," in Evening Telegraph Reprints.
Dix, " Lesser Castles of the County Dublin," in Irish Builder.
Joyce, " Irish Names of Places."
Tin-: town of Tralee, formerly Traleigh, meaning the
" strand of the River Leigh," is situated in the Barony
of Trughenackmy, in the County Kerry. It is nearly
two miles east-north-east of Tralee Harbour, and the
Lee Rivulet, from which it takes its name, formerly filled
the moat of the great castle. Sir Thomas Denny made
it run along the Mall in the eighteenth century, and it is
now covered over.
The town had originally four castles, only two of which
were standing during the famous siege of 1641. Short
Castle had disappeared in 1756, while the great castle
was demolished in 1826 by consent of its owner, Sir
Edward Denny, for the improvement of the town. Its
former site, and that of the bowling green attached, is
now occupied by the handsome thoroughfare known as
Denny Street. The entrance to the castle demesne or
" green," is at the top of this street, and the public have
always had access to it.
The great mahogany doors from the castle may still be
seen, cut down to fit ordinary doorways, in the houses in
Denny Street belonging to Sir John Neligan and Mr.
Francis M'G. Denny. Mr. Denny also possesses some
parts of a grey stone mantelpiece carved in high relief
with the Denny arms, crest, and motto, which also came
from the old fortress.
This last castle was a restoration of the chief seat of the
Desmond FitzGeralds for close on four hundred years.
354 CASTLES OF IRELAND
There are several versions of the legend which accounts
for the crest and supporters of the Geraldines being repre-
sented by monkeys. One of these is that in 1261, after
the battle of Callen, where MacCarthy Reigh slew the
chief heads of the Munster FitzGeralds, only a little baby
of eight months old, at nurse in Tralee, was left to
represent the great family. Upon hearing the news of
the disaster the child's attendants rushed into the streets,
when to their horror they presently beheld their charge
exhibited on the battlements of the castle in the arms of
a pet ape. The animal, however, returned the baby un-
harmed to his cradle, and afterwards this Desmond was
known as " Thomas a Nappagh " or " of the ape." Some
authorities mention the abbey as the scene of the child's
Sir Henry Sidney, in his report on Munster, declared
that there would be " neither peace nor order in the
South, until the palatine jurisdiction of both Ormond
and Desmond (East and South Munster) were reduced,"
Therefore, in 1576 Sir William Drury, Lord President
of Munster, declared his intention of giving the Queen's
writ currency in the palatinate.
At the Council the Earl of Desmond tried to dissuade
him, but being unsuccessful he offered him hospitality
during his visit.
Upon approaching Tralee the Lord President was met
by seven or eight hundred armed men who emerged from
the cover of the wood, and rushed towards him shouting
and brandishing their weapons. Sir William, not knowing
whether the display was friendly or otherwise, determined
to be on the safe side, and gathering his body guard of
a hundred and twenty men round him, he charged the
on-coming troop, who did not wait for an attack, but with-
drew as hastily as they had advanced.
The President rode on to the castle, where he demanded
admittance and explanation, both of which were given to
TRALEE CASTLE 355
him by the Countess, who received him at the entrance,
and assured him (or endeavoured to do so) that he had
but received an Irish welcome, and that her husband had
meant no harm, but awaited him in the fortress to go
In 1579 Sir William Drury, then Lord Deputy, sent
Henry Danvers to the Desmonds to enlist their aid in
repelling a threatened invasion of some foreign merce-
naries. This he failed to do, and upon his return journey
he slept a night in Tralee Castle, having formerly been a
great friend of Sir John of Desmond, the Earl's brother.
This friendship is said to have weakened Sir John's
influence among his countrymen, and that in consequence
he determined to show it had ceased to exist. Be that as
it may, he demanded admittance to the castle during the
night, and he and his followers murdered Sir Henry
Danvers, the Justices Meade and Charters, and their
servants, while they slept. It is said that Danvers awoke
and seeing Sir John said, " My son, what is the matter ? "
But his murderer answered, " No more of son, no more of
father, make thyself ready, for die thou shalt."
Tradition always pointed out a room in the castle as
the scene of the murder, which had a small room off it in
the thickness of the walls, from which access was obtained
to a narrow stairway and postern. This was commonly
called the " murdering hole," and regarded with great
A despatch to Cecil in 1580 states "all the houses in
Trally burnte and the castles raised."
The Earl of Desmond's estate was forfeited in 1583.
"Traylye" was granted to Sir Edward Denny in 1587,
and delivered to him by Mr. Thomas Norreys.
The castle was at this time in a ruined condition, and
when the family came to Ireland they resided at Carrigna-
feely Manor until the close of James I.'s reign.
The " Sugan " Earl of Desmond seized the fortress in
356 CASTLKS OF IRELAND
1599 and employed a hundred and fifty men to under-
mine it. Sir Charles Wilmot surprised the rebels with
fifty horse. He killed thirty-two, and seized the arms of
about a hundred more while the rest escaped to the
In 1627 Edward Denny, grandson to the first grantee,
began to rebuild the stronghold.
Upon the breaking out of the rebellion in 1641 Sir
Edward Denny collected his English tenants and the loyal
Irish, and they fortified themselves in the two castles.
Lady Denny and her children went to England, while Sir
Edward joined the President. His step-father, Sir Thomas
Harris, took command of the Tralee garrisons, but it was
not until early in the following year that the Irish laid
siege to the town, under the command of Florence Carty
with six hundred men.
The guns of Short Castle opened fire, but nevertheless
the Irish raided the town. They stripped or murdered all
the inhabitants they captured, and hundreds fled to the
two strongholds for protection.
Upon the loth of February a spy named Laurence
gained admittance to the larger castle, on the plea of
seeing the Governor, who was asleep. He carried a pass
from the rebel poet, Pierce Ferriter, who commanded the
Irish forces in the district. His movements at length
awakening suspicion he was taken prisoner.
Shortly after this the Irish took possession of the town
during the night. The guns of both castles played with
little effect, and some of the inhabitants were drawn up
into Short Castle by ropes. The Provost, who had left
the town to see to some outlying property, was prevented
returning, and Sir Thomas Harris had command of both
castles, a line from the top of each conveying letters from
one fortress to the other.
About four hundred persons fled to the strongholds, so
that the provisions intended to last two years gave out in
TRALKE CASTLE 357
seven months. Water failed, and although thirteen wells
were sunk twenty feet each, only thick black water could
Captain Ferriter and a townsman of Tralee demanded
a parley with Sir Thomas and asked him to surrender, but
They then hauled " sow " engines against the strong-
holds. The one sent against the great castle was smashed
by a small cannon ball, and a cooper in Short C'astle
dislodged a pinnacle of the building on the top of the
other, which they afterwards burnt. The Irish lost about
twenty men and their engines in the attack.
An effort was made to relieve the town by sea, but the
small force sent for the purpose was entirely routed.
When the siege had lasted about six months Sir
Thomas Harris fell ill and died through bad water and
Immediately after the provisions giving out the garrisons
capitulated, the terms being their lives and a suit of clothes
each. Most of them joined Colonel Crosbie in Ballingarry
fortress on an island in the Shannon.
Of the six hundred within the castles of Tralee three
hundred died during the siege. They were reduced to
eating bran, tallow, and raw hides.
The castles were burnt upon being surrendered.
The great castle was shortly afterwards restored, but in
1691 it was again burned, by Sir James Colter's orders,
and when the Royalists were defeated at Lixnaw the two
Irish officers who carried out the order would have been
hanged but for the intervention of Colonel Edward Denny.
The famous "Denny Bible" in which this conflagration is
recorded belongs to Tralee church, to which it was pre-
sented by the Denny family.
In 1698 the House of Commons decided to help in the
rebuilding of the castle.
This fortress was of an L shape, but Sir Edward Demi}-,
358 CASTLES OF IRELAND
3rd baronet, who succeeded to the title in 1795, added
another wing in 1804, which contained several fine saloons,
a large hall with a handsome circular staircase and other
apartments. Soon after 1820 Sir Edward went to live in
A black coach, with headless horses and coachman, was
formerly said to drive through Tralee upon the death of
one of the Denny family, and if any one looked out at it,
a basin of blood was thrown in his face. Of later years
a banshee is said to have taken its place.
C. Smith, " State of the County Kerry."
M. A. Hickson, " Old Kerry Records."
" The Antiquities of Tralee," in Kerry Magazine.
]. ]. Howard, " Miscellanea Genealogica."
M. Hickson, " Ireland in the Seventeenth Century."
Gilbert, " The Castle of Dublin," in Dublin University Magazine.
Marquis of Kildare, " Earls of Kildare."
" What ! rate rebuke and roughly send to prison
The immediate heir of England ! Was this easy ?
May this be washed in Lethe and forgotten ? "
THE ancient name of Trim was A'th Truim, signifying
" the ford of the boortrees " or elders, the latter half of
which appellation alone remains. It is situated on the
Boyne, twenty-two and a half miles north-west by west of
Dublin on the Enniskillen road.
The castle lies east of the town, on the right bank of the
river, and has been said to be the only castle in Ireland
deserving the name. It is certainly the finest specimen
of the Anglo-Norman fortress, and was one of the chief
strongholds of the Pale. It occupies a sloping mound and
its walls enclose a triangular area of about three acres,
which measures 486 yards in circumference, and was pro-
tected by eight circular flanking towers at nearly equal
distances and two gate towers.
The north-east side was formerly washed by the Boyne,
but now a low meadow intervenes.
On the west or town side a gate-tower occupies the
centre. The grooves for the portcullis are still perfect,
and from abutting masonry it would appear that there had
once been a drawbridge and barbican. The lower portion
of the tower is rectangular and the upper part octagonal.
In the southern side is a circular gate tower of Gothic
shape. Here also are the portcullis grooves visible and
3 6o CASTLES OF IRELAND
a recess for the windlass, as well as the remains of arches
over the moat, and a barbican beyond.
A moat or ditch surrounded the fortress, on the two
sides not washed by the Boyne, which was supplied with
water by a small stream.
Where the town wall joined the castle at the south-west
angle a mound of earth has been artificially raised to the
height of the castle wall. This was probably done for the
mounting of cannon when the castle was re-fortified in
One of the towers near this mound was cleared in
1836. It is of three storeys, and the upper part was found
to be a pigeon-house, having holes for 60 or 80 pair, while
the lower storey contained a postern leading to the level of
the moat water. In 1425 it is recorded that the King
granted the custody of the dove-cot to Thomas Brown,
with pasture called the Castle Orchard.
The north angle of the bawn contains the ruins of
several buildings, one being of three storeys with a high
gable, and four large windows in the wall towards the
river. The piers for the arched roof are still to be seen,
and it is likely to have been the banqueting hall or chapel.
A large vault extends under part of it. In one of the
towers near this the mint is supposed to have been
situated. Another tower contains the remains of a small
The keep consists of a rectangular figure, on each side of
which a small square tower abuts, thus forming a twenty-
sided figure from which missiles could be showered in all
directions. The walls of the centre tower are twelve
feet thick, while those of the adjoining ones measure from
four to six feet. Winding stairways lead to the summit,
at some 60 feet from the ground, while on each angle
of the centre tower is a square turret nearly 17 feet in
After Hugh de Lacy had been granted Meath in 1173
TRIM CASTLK 361
he erected the castle of Trim to guard his possessions.
He surrounded it with a moat, and furnished it with
stores. He then entrusted its custody to Hugh Tyrrell
and proceeded to England. No sooner had he left than
Roderick O'Connor, King of Connaught, descended on
Trim with a large army. Tyrrell sent messages to
Strongbow for aid, but in the meantime, finding himself
unable to hold the fortress, he evacuated and burnt it.
The ncw c was brought to Strongbow as he marched
to its relief, and upon his arrival finding the Irish had
retreated, and having nowhere to lodge, he pursued them
and killed a hundred and fifty.
Giraldus states that the castle was rebuilt by Raymond
le Gros, who had marched to its relief with Strongbow,
having joined the expedition on the day of his marriage.
King John stayed at Trim, but he did not lodge in the
castle, although one of the towers is called after him, and
his signet ring is said to have been found in the enclosure.
362 CASTLES OF IRELAND
In 1215 letters were sent from the King to Thomas
Fitzadam to surrender the castle, and five years later it
was restored by William Peppard, Lord of Tabor.
At this time Meath was wasted by the quarrels between
William, Earl Marshal, and Sir Hugh de Lacy, Earl of
There was an order in 1224 from Henry III. to the
Lord Justice to allow Walter de Lacy to occupy a hall,
rooms, and chambers in the castle. The same year the
fortress was besieged.
De Lacy died in 1241, and through the female line
the castle passed into the hands of Roger Mortimer, who
landed in Ireland in 1308 and took possession.
Upon the invasion of Edward Bruce, Mortimer fled to
Dublin, and Lord Walter Cusacke occupied Trim.
Orders for repairing the great hall were issued in 1326,
and it was most likely at this time that the two arches
which formerly crossed the northern division of the keep
were erected, for when they fell in 1820 the plaster showed
they had been added after the walls were built.
In 1330 Edward III. granted to Roger Mortimer, Earl
of March, the moiety of Meath and the privileges exercised
in Trim Castle. He was hanged as a traitor the same year,
but Trim was restored to his widow.
. Roger, Earl of March, was killed by the Irish in 1398,
and the next year Richard II. landed at Waterford to
avenge his cousin's death, with Humphrey, son of the
Duke of Gloucester and Henry (afterwards Henry V.),
son of the Duke of Lancaster. The boys he brought
with him as hostages, and upon returning to England
he left them as prisoners in Trim Castle. A very small
steel spur, inlaid with silver, was found in the castle
yard in 1836, which may have belonged to one of the
In 1400 Henry IV. appointed a custodian to the late
Earl of March's records at Trim and elsewhere. At this
TRIM CASTLE 363
time the castle was in his hands owing to the minority
of the heir.
The Privy Council in England (1403) notified to the
King that the castle was in a most dilapidated condition.
From this time forward Parliaments were continually
held at Trim, while in 1418 the Earl of Kildare, Sir
Christopher Preston, and John Bedlow were imprisoned
in the castle.
Four years later Richard Talbot, Archbishop of Dublin,
resided in the fortress, and in 1425 Edmund, Earl of
March, died there while Lord Deputy.
But, perhaps, the most palmy days of Trim Castle were
in 1449, when Richard, Duke of York, came to Ireland
as Lord Lieutenant, and held his court there.
The mint was opened in 1460, and the following year
Christopher Fox was appointed Comptroller.
A Parliament held at Trim in 1465 enacted that anyone
discovered robbing might be killed, and in Meath their
heads were to be sent to the Portreffe of the town of Trim,
to be put on the castle wall. Several skulls have been
found in the moat.
In 1495 an Act of Parliament passed at Drogheda
provided that only Englishmen should be constables of
Trim and the other principal castles.
The liberty and lordship of Trim were at this time
annexed to the Crown for ever.
In 1541 an order was issued to restore the castle,
half the cost of which was to be paid by the country.
A grant was made to Sir James Carroll, Lord Mayor
of Dublin, in 1610, to build upon the ruins of the castle
a house for the King, and also a jail within the castle
Colonel Fenwicke occupied the fortress with a regiment
of foot and some troops of horse in 1647. It was in
the Royalists' hands until the fall of Drogheda, in 1649,
and the garrison disobeyed the Duke of Ormond's instruc-
364 CASTLES OF IRELAND
tions to destroy the place before letting it fall into the
hands of Sir Charles Coote and his army.
It is stated that the yellow steeple near having been
treacherously delivered into the hands of the Cromwell-
ians, was used as a vantage point to make the castle
untenable, and that afterwards when the Governor of
the castle was reinstated he had one side of the tower
blown up. It was in a sally from the town of Trim
that Sir Charles Coote lost his life.
It is reported Cromwell -spent one night in the castle,
but there is no evidence that this is the case.
Adam Loftus sold the castle to Sir James Shean in
1666, and it seems to have been in military occupation
in 1690. The whole property was purchased by the
Wellesleys, who afterwards sold it to Colonel Leslie.
It is now in Lord Dunsany's possession.
R. Butler, " Castle of Trim."
W. Wilde, "The Boyne and Blackwater.'
E. Evans, "Trim."
P. Joyce, "Irish Place Names."
Elliot Stock. Paternoster Kmv. London.
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