Castles & Tower Houses 1350 – 1850 a.d

Fortified tower houses are singled towered, fortified residences built by the ‘Old English’ and Gaelic Irish between about 1400 – 1600. Tower houses had specially protected doorways where an iron grill allowed the wooden door to be opened permitting negotiations with the enemy but preventing them gaining entry. Most are 3, 4 or 5 stories in height and have narrow windows and stepped battlements. After 1600 these became known as Fortified Houses and after 1800 the castles were usually mock-castles (basically big fancy pads that look tough!)

A 5 Star Beauty in the wilds of Donegal

Lough Eske Castle, Lough Eske. County Donegal           1868 Lough Eske was once part of the domain of the powerful O’Donnell clan who ruled from the nearby Donegal Castle for hundreds of years. After the Flight of [...]

Evictions, Classy parties and a hunting estate to rival Balmoral

Glenveagh Castle, Glenveagh National Park. County Donegal     1867 Glenveagh Castle was built in 1867 by John George Adair, a wealthy land speculator from Co. Laois. His dream was to create a beautiful hunting estate [...]

Ireland’s best preserved medieval banqueting hall – party time!

Desmond Hall, Newcastle West. County Limerick     b. 13th - 15th centuries This area of Ireland preserves many of Ireland's surviving finest medieval halls that were used for banqueting and entertainment. Desmond Hall is regarded [...]

One of the best preserved and much over-looked medieval towns in Ireland

Clonmines, Bannow Bay. County Wexford        14th - 16th centuries Clonmines probably began it's life as a Norman settlement established by William Marshall in the 13th century as an alternative port to New [...]

Attacked, Burnt and Destroyed – Everyone killed except one!

Roscrea Castle, Roscrea. County Tipperary         1281 This National Monument is Roscrea Castle. This was originally the site of a motte and bailey fortification known as King John's Castle. It was not until 1281 that a [...]

One of Ireland’s largest and most impressive castles, Excalibur & Cromwell

Cahir Castle located in the town of Cahir. co.Tipperary was built around 1142. This is NATIONAL MONUMENT IS one of Ireland's largest castles and is strategically located on an island on the River Suir. The word [...]

Killarney’s finest castle beside lakes, mountains and rivers

Ross Castle is located in a spectacular location on Ross Island by the shores of Lough Leane. It was built sometime in the late 15th century by the O'Donoghue Ross chieftains and was surrounded by [...]

One of the last great Victorian Baronial houses to be built in Ireland

This is Clonyn Castle in the village of Delvin in co.Westmeath. It was built in 1876 by the Nugent family - one of the oldest Norman families in Ireland. Sir Gilbert de Nugent, originally from [...]

A Norman castle, The Nugents & An ancient trading route

Delvin Castle is located in the middle of Delvin village in county Westmeath. This was once a sturdy Norman castle with a square block in the middle and 4 corner cylindrical towers. It was built in 1310 [...]

A castle under constant attack, The Red Earl & A dodgy location!

Ballinafad Castle is located in Ballinafad in county Sligo. It was built in 1590 and is also known as the 'Castle of the Curlews'. It has had a turbulent history due to it's strategic (or [...]

Battle of the Boyne, Spectre’s, dying soldiers & blood covered hands

This foreboding looking building is Athcarne Castle located in Balrath co. Meath.  It was built for William Bathe in 1590. The Bathe family produced a number of well known legal and political personalities around the [...]

An Irish or Norman castle? Wolfe Tone, The Armada and the O’Doherty Clan

O’Doherty’s Keep, Buncrana. County Donegal         c. 1300 This interesting little building is locally known as O' Doherty's Keep. Its date of construction is unknown. It resembles a fortified tower house from the 15th century but [...]

One of our earliest Norman castles and one of the most continuously ‘lived-in’ buildings in Ireland

Leixlip Castle was built in 1172 by Adam de Hereford, a follower of Strongbow, one year after the Norman Invasion of Ireland. This is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited buildings in Ireland. Leixlip means 'salmon [...]

37 owners so far including Eric Clapton

Barberstown Castle is located in Straffan. co.Kildare. It was built around c.1500 on the grounds of an earlier Norman castle built by Nicholas Barby in 1288. Over the next 800 years it has passed into [...]

An important strategic site for thousands of years

White's Castle was built in 1417 by Sir John Talbot, Viceroy of Ireland, to protect the inhabitants of Athy from the 'wild Irish'. This location on the banks of the River Barrow has been an [...]

The Pooka, a spooky disappearance and King James II

These are the ruins of Puck's Castle, located in south county Dublin. Many of these structures were built around Dublin between 1400 and 1550 to protect the 'Pale' from the 'wild Irish'. Other similar structures [...]

One of the best preserved 16th-century tower houses in Ireland

Narrow Water Castle is located on the shores of Carlingford Lough on the outskirts of Warrenpoint in county Down. It is regarded as one of the best preserved 16th-century tower houses in Ireland and is [...]

One of the few moated castles in Ireland

Drimnagh Castle in Drimnagh. co. Dublin was built in 1240. It is one of the few moated castles in Ireland. The original castle here was built around 1240 by a Norman Knight called Hugo de [...]

Once regarded as one of Dublin’s finest residences

Monkstown Castle is located in Monkstown in south co.Dublin. The first castle here was built on a large farm by the Cistercian Monks of St Mary’s Abbey between the 14th and 15th centuries. This area [...]

Once converted into 3 tenements

Slade Castle, Slade Village. County Wexford   1470 Slade Castle was was built by the Laffin family in the late 1400s. The Laffins were among the first wave of Anglo-Norman colonists to arrive in Ireland after [...]

Fought over by the Maguires, the O’Donnells, the O’Neills and the British

Enniskillen Castle, Enniskillen. County Fermanagh          c. 1460 - 1800 Enniskillen Castle in co. Fermanagh is situated at a strategic location on Lough Erne on a site that commands one of the few passes into Ulster. [...]

One of the finest and strongest Gaelic castles in Ireland

Donegal Castle, Donegal Town. County Donegal 1474 Donegal Castle was built by Hugh Roe O'Donnell and is regarded as one of the finest and strongest Gaelic castles in Ireland. It consists of a 15th-century rectangular [...]

One of the best preserved Scottish styled plantation castles in Northern Ireland

Monea Castle, Monea. County Fermanagh        1618 The Plantation of Ulster in the early 17th Century was an attempt by the English monarchy to take control of the troublesome province of Ulster. After attempts by Queen [...]

A bloody history on the night before Christmas

Tully Castle, Derrygonnelly. County Fermanagh     1612 Tully Castle is a fortified tower house with 4 rectangular corner towers and is located on a beautiful location on the shores of Upper Lough Erne. It was built [...]

The earliest and most important of the ‘Big Houses’ of Inishowen

Buncrana Castle, Buncrana. County Donegal           1718 During the 18th century large manor houses like this one were known as 'castles'. This house was built by Colonel George Vaughan in 1718 and is the earliest and [...]

The last original wooden roof of a castle to survive in Ireland

 Dunsoghly Castle, St Margarets, County Dublin     15th century Dunsoglhy Castle is located on private land at the very end of the runway of Dublin Airport. It is one of the few 15th century fortified tower [...]

The O’Briens, The rich and famous and The Hill of Litigation

Dromoland Castle is located in Dromoland in co. Clare. This is one of the most beautiful and desirable 5* hotels in Ireland. It is believed that this location was the ancestral home of the O’Briens [...]

900 years of history, Thin Lizzy & Dana

This is the beautiful gatehouse for Clontarf Castle which along with the castle were totally remodeled in the 1830's. The original castle was built by the Norman, Hugh de Lacy, in 1172 near the site [...]

An Arch-Bishop’s luxury pad, An orchard and The Tudors

Swords Castle is located in the town of Swords in north county Dublin and dates from 1190 a.d. In 1181 John Comyn succeeded Laurence O'Toole as the 1st Anglo-Norman Archbishop of Dublin and it appears [...]

A castle in transition – guns and flowerboxes

This National Monument is Portumna Castle located in Portumna co.Galway. It was built in 1618 and is regarded as a very interesting example of Irish architecture in the transition between the medieval fortified tower house [...]

Strange stone carvings on an international pilgrimage route

The Clonfinlough Stone is located near the village of Clonfinlough in co.Offaly. This national monument has mysterious carvings which may date from anytime between c.1000 b.c and 1400 a.d. The stone is 10 foot x [...]

William Marshall, A great storm & One of the richest Cistercian Abbeys in Ireland

Tintern Abbey, Saltmills. County Wexford         1200 The beautiful Tintern Abbey was founded in 1200 by William Marshall, the 1st Earl of Pembroke. Marshal had set sail for Ireland on his first visit as Lord of [...]

Home to the Butlers for nearly 600 years & One of the most visited castles in Ireland

Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny City. County Kilkenny     1210 Kilkenny Castle is located in Kilkenny City at a strategic location that commands a crossing on the River Nore. This site was used by the local Kings of [...]

A claimant to the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Ireland, The Wizard Earl & the Fitzgerald Dynasty

Kilkea Castle, Castledermot. County Kildare.    c. 1426 Kilkea Castle was built in 1426 and is a claimant of the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Ireland (as does Malahide Castle!) Originally a motte and bailey [...]

The Quiet Man, The Guinness Family and Ireland’s premier 5* resort

Ashford Castle is located in Cong on the shores of Lough Corrib in co. Mayo. This is a 5 star luxury hotel which has won numerous global awards. The oldest section of the castle dates [...]

The Vikings, The O’Briens, dungeons and a no.1 tourist attraction

Bunratty Castle is located in the village of Bunratty in co.Clare. This is one of the most impressive castles and one of the top tourist attractions in Ireland. This was the location of a former [...]

A carefully chosen location for a Pirate Queen

Rockfleet Castle is located near Newport in co.Mayo. It dates from the mid 1500's and was the main stronghold of Grace O’Malley (c.1530- c. 1603) - The ‘Pirate Queen of the West’. This strategic location [...]

The Athens of Ireland

The Rock of Dunamase, Dunamase. County Laois    c. 1170   The Rock of Dunamase is one of Ireland's most impressive locations for a castle as it sits on a limestone outcrop 150 feet above the [...]

A key ancient site, A holy well and St Patrick

Dunseverick Castle, Dunseverick. County Antrim         c. 1500 This location was a 'key' site in ancient Ireland as this was the end point where one of the Royal roads from Tara ended. There is also a [...]

The Mac Sweeneys, The O’Dohertys & The O’Neills – and O yes.. Brian McFadden!

Doe Castle is located near Cresslough on the shore of Sheephaven Bay in co.Donegal. It is surrounded by water on three sides and is similar in style to a Scottish tower house. It was built [...]

The largest fortified medieval tower house in Ireland on the edge of The Pale

This national monument is Ardee Castle located on the main street of Ardee in county Louth. It is the largest fortified medieval tower house in Ireland. The original structure on this site was founded by [...]

A perfect hideaway to plan revolts, The O’Dohertys & Ancient rock art

Carrickabraghy Castle, Doagh Island. County Donegal       c. 1550 Carrickabraghy Castle is located in one of the wildest and most northerly locations in Ireland. This was just one in a network of castles built to defend [...]

The Plunkett’s, Hugh de Lacy and a stunning new golf course

Killeen Castle is located in Dunsany in county Meath. The present structure was built in 1820 however there has been a castle on this site for 800 years starting when Hugh de Lacy built a [...]

A castle lost in the middle of Phoenix Park for 250 years

There is a fascinating story why this castle looks so new....Ashtown Lodge was originally located on this site and in 1978 due to the presence of dry rot it was decided to demolish the 18th [...]

Famous diaries, Completely original interiors & Spectacular sea views

Ardgillan Castle is located in a beautiful setting overlooking the town of Skerries in north county Dublin. It has spectacular views out to the Irish Sea and up to the Mourne Mountains in co. Down. [...]

Once a prosperous trading port with 5 Royal charters & The Earls of Carlingford

Taaffe's Castle is situated in the beautiful medieval town of Carlingford. It was built around 1520 as a fortified townhouse and a trading depot for the Taaffe family. The Taaffe's later became the 'Earls of [...]

One of Northern Ireland’s most iconic buildings, Secret tunnels & Led Zeppelin

Dunluce Castle, Bushmills. County Antrim       c. 14th – 17th century a. d. This is one of Northern Ireland’s most iconic castles and its image is used extensively to market Northern Ireland as a holiday destination. [...]

One of 7 original castles built in the same village, Goats & A thorny island

Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre are located in picturesque village of Dalkey in south county Dublin. Dalkey was once noted for it's seven castles of which only two remain, this one, and Archibald's Castle on [...]

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