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 family who lived here for 300 years. In 1490, during this period of Gaelic revivalism, Art MacMurrough Kavanagh attacked the castle to regain his ancestral lands. He managed to hold on to it until 1536 when Lord Leonard Grey took it. In 1569 the castle was burnt down by Earl of Kildare and the Butlers of Kilkenny who led a raid on Enniscorthy and killed many of the civilians. Twenty years later in 1589, Queen Elizabeth 1st gave the castle to the poet Edmund Spenser reputedly because of all the good things he wrote about her in the poem ‘The Faerie Queene’. It appears however that he never lived here because he was afraid of Art MacMurrough! During the plantation period it passed to Sir Henry Wallop by Royal Appointment but was later besieged and occupied by Cromwellian forces in 1649. It was later used as a prison during the 1798 Rising, became a private residence for the Roche family up until 1951 and now houses the Wexford County Museum.