The structure of Kilkea castle (as you see it) dates from c.1426 and is a claimant of the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Ireland. This was built on an earlier Norman motte and bailey built by Sir Walter de Riddlesford in 1181. His grand daughter married Maurice Fitzgerald, and so the Manor of Kilkea came into the possession of the powerful Fitzgerald family. It remained in their possession for over 700 years until the 19th Earl of Kildare decided to make Carton House, near Leixlip the family seat early in the 18th century. A famous story of castle tells of the ‘The Wizard Earl’ who lived in the 16th century. He was a colourful character, who fond of dabbling in magic tried to convince his wife of his powers. He said he could turn into a bird, but if she got startled he would disappear for ever. As promised, The Earl turned into a bird and his wife showed indifference, until a cat wandered in and sprang for the bird. The wife screamed and the Earl ‘physically’ disappeared forever. It is said that he returns a ghost to the same room every 7 years on a white horse! The castle and estate was finally sold by the Fitzgerald family in the early 1960s and was then run successfully as a hotel for decades. It is now under a major renovation and runs an excellent golf course.(R)

Curious Ireland images make interesting wall art, meaningful wedding presents or simply a thoughtful gift for someone who is living far away…….If you prefer COLOUR CLICK HERE or B&W CLICK HERE. (beautifully printed & packaged by the Irish Photo Archive)

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