Norman Castles & Mottes 1170 – 1320

The arrival of the Normans had an enormous impact on Irish society with new language, wool production, farming practices, architecture, warfare and a new legal system. Defensive sites began as motte & baileys however these developed into the great Anglo-Norman Castles of which many still remain.

Monuments from this period include Town Walls, Tower Houses, Cathedrals, Churches, Great Anglo-Norman Castles, Motte and bailey castles, Ringworks, Abbeys & Friaries.

Here are some examples of Norman Castles & Mottes 1170 – 1320

Site of the earliest known Irish Parliament & The oldest intact stone window in Western Europe

Castledermot, County Kildare    7th – 18th century a. d.    Castledermot packs a big punch for having historical buildings. This small town was originally called 'Diseart Diarmad'; meaning 'Dermot's Hermitage'. This was once a very [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

A magnificent castle built by a renegade Norman & the Time Team

Dundrum Castle, Dundrum, County Down          c. 1200 Dundrum Castle is located in a spectacular setting overlooking Dundrum Bay and the mighty Mourne Mountains. This ancient hilltop site was chosen by John de Courcy sometime around [...]

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 [...]

The earliest and one the largest Norman castles in Europe, Braveheart & Hugh de Lacy

Trim Castle, Trim. County Meath      1176 Trim Castle is not only the earliest stone castle to be built in Ireland but also the one of the largest Norman Castles in Europe. It was built in [...]

One of the most striking Anglo-Norman castles in Ireland but don’t look out the window

Castle Roche, Dundalk. County Louth           1236 Castle Roche is one of the most striking Anglo-Norman castles in Ireland. It was built in 1236 by the De Verdun family and the steep rocky outcrop along with [...]

The 2nd longest church in Ireland & the oldest structure in Kilkenny

St Canice’s Roundtower & Cathedral.  Kilkenny City    950 a. d. &  1285 a. d. This historic site contains two very remarkable buildings. The first National Monuments is St Canice's Cathedral, built between 1202 and 1285. [...]

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 [...]

The oldest bell, tower and original features of any church in Dublin City

This National Monument is St Audeon's Church. It is located on High Street in Dublin City and dates from c.1190 a.d. It has the distinction of being the only medieval parish church, retaining any original [...]

The largest Cathedral in Ireland and reputedly it’s earliest Christian site

St Patrick’s Cathedral, Wood Quay, Dublin City  1191 St Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland and is also reputed to be its earliest Christian site. Unusually, Dublin has two cathedrals belonging to the [...]

One of Ireland’s finest keeps with a turbulent history

Nenagh Castleis located in Nenagh in co.Tipperary. It was built c.1216 and was the main castle of the Butler family for 200 years before they moved to Gowran in co.Kilkenny. The family later splashed out [...]

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 oldest and most beautiful building in Limerick City

St Mary’s Cathedral, Bridge Street. Limerick City       1168 St Mary's Cathedral dates back to 1168 making it the oldest building in Limerick City predating King John's Castle. This was previously the site of a Viking [...]

Once regarded as the most beautiful city in Ireland, King John & A city under siege

King John's Castle, Limerick City   1200 This strategic location on the banks of the Shannon has been a stronghold for thousands of years. It was recorded that it was also a Viking stronghold in the [...]

Once one of Ireland’s most impressive Norman castles

Northburg Castle, Greencastle. County Donegal     1305 Northburg Castle is locally known as 'Greencastle' and was one of the most impressive Norman castles built in Ireland. It was built by Richard de Burgh: The Red Earl [...]

Ireland’s oldest civic building & The location of the most infamous marriage in Irish history

Reginald's Tower, Waterford City. County Waterford   1171 Waterford is Ireland's oldest city and for many years it's second city after Dublin. Reginald's Tower is its most distinctive building and is classified as a national monument. [...]

A Norman castle with stunning views over Carlingford Lough

King John's Castle is located in Carlingford in county Louth. This national monument was allegedly built for King John of England in 1200 however recent research suggests that it may have been built by the [...]

One of the best preserved medieval castles in the whole of Ireland

Carrickfergus Castle in county Antrim is one of the best preserved medieval structures in the whole of Ireland. It was built by the Norman conqueror John de Courcy in 1177. Over the centuries the castle [...]

One of the finest Norman castles in Ireland blown up by a physician

Carlow Castle in located in Carlow Town. This was one of the finest Norman castles ever built in Ireland. It was built around 1213 by William Marshall and the site was carefully chosen because of it's [...]

Rathmore Motte Castle, Rathmore. co.Kildare – c.12th century a.d

Rathmore is located in north county Kildare and is named after this 'Great Motte'. The Motte is a large flat-topped mound that was used as the'castle' headquarters for one of the Norman Fitzgeralds. In 1894 [...]

Fought over by Normans, Gaelic, English, Protestants, Catholics and a few ghosts

Enniscorthy Castle, Enniscorthy. County Wexford    1190 Enniscorthy Castle has had a turbulent history and was fought over by the Normans, the English and the Irish. It was built in 1190 by the Norman De Prendergast [...]

The longest continuously inhabited castle in Ireland by the same family – 800 years!

This castle was built as a large fortress in 1185 by Sir Richard Talbot, a knight who accompanied King Henry II to Ireland. It was was occupied by the Talbot family between 1185 until 1973 making it the longest continuosly inhabited castle in Ireland by the same family. On the morning of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, 14 members of the family sat and had breakfast together for the last time as none of them returned. It was considerably enlarged during the reign of Edward IV around 1470 and the towers were added in 1765. Dublin County Council bought the property and the 265 acres in 1975 giving public access to one of the finest period interiors and beautiful botanical gardens.

A castle with an unusual design, The O’Neill’s & Harry Avery

Harry Avery's Castle, Newtownstewart. County Tyrone         c. 1320 This State Care Monument is named after Harry Avery O'Neill, a 14th century local chieftain. The structure is considered unusual because Gaelic chieftains of the time rarely [...]

Once considered to be one of the finest Norman castles in Ireland

Ferns Castle, Ferns. County Wexford           1220 Ferns castle is considered to be one of the finest examples of an Anglo-Norman fortress in Ireland. This was originally the stronghold of Diarmaid Mc Murrough (1110 – 1171). [...]

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