Carlow Castle was at one time one of the finest Norman castles in the country. It was built around 1213 by William Marshall on the site of an even earlier Norman Motte and Bailey fort built by Hugh de Lacy 40 years earlier. This site was carefully chosen because of it’s strategic defensive location close to the River Barrow. In 1361 it was strengthened when it became the headquarters of the Exchequer of Ireland when it was moved here from Dublin. It’s great ‘low point’ came not through war but when a physician named Middleton attempted to convert it to a lunatic asylum in 1814. He miscalculated his explosives when he tried to diminish the thickness of the walls and ended up blowing most of the castle to pieces. All that remains are the 2 towers and a bit of the original wall…Only in Ireland!

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