Fortified Tower Houses

These 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.

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

St Columba, Brian Boru and a crumbling round tower

This c.10th round tower and c.14th belfrey are located in the town of Swords in north co.Dublin. The tower stands 26 m high and is instantly recognizable from it's crumbling windows and collapsed cap. It [...]

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 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 [...]

An ancient shrine to St Columba, a Norman effigy and a great pint nearby

Skreen Church, The Hill of Skryne, County Meath         1341 Skreen is situated on a hill with stunning views over much of county Meath and towards the Hill of Tara. An earlier church at this location [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 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 [...]

One of Ireland’s finest fortified manor houses, Exquisite interiors & The Jesuits

Rathfarnham Castle, Rathfarnham. County Dublin     1585 Rathfarnham Castle was built in 1585 by Adam Loftus, Archbishop of Armagh. Loftus was described as an ambitious Yorkshire clergyman who later became Lord Chancellor of Ireland. In the [...]

Nuns, The Knights Templar & Cromwell wrecking the place (yet again!)

Baldongan Church & Castle are located between the towns of Lusk & Skerries in north county Dublin. This national monument was once the site of an ancient fort. This was followed by a church built [...]

Over 1000 years of architecture in one building, Medieval tombs & An interesting heritage centre

  St Macculin's Church, Lusk. County Dublin    9th – 19th centuries St Macculin’s Church is an interesting building comprising of a 9th century round tower, a 15th century defensive tower and a 19th century church. [...]

A beautifully restored fortified tower house & a perfect wedding venue

Cloonacauneen Castle is a stunning 15th century tower house situated on outskirts of Galway City. Unusually, the majority of Cloonacaueen's owners have been recorded since 1574, when Richard Beag Burke lived here. The castle next [...]

One of Ireland’s grandest fortified tower houses but beware of the O’Flagherty

Aughnanure Castle, Oughterard. County Galway   1480 Aughnanure Castle is one of the grandest fortified tower houses in Ireland and is one of 200 built in county Galway alone. It has 6 floors, a banqueting hall and [...]

On the border of The Pale, A forgotten castle & Strange spectres

Kilgobbin Castle is located near the village of Stepaside in south Dublin. This fortified tower house was built by the Walshe Family in c.1476. The Walshe family were the 'marcher lords' of the area and [...]

A church and a castle, John Semple & The wild Irish

St Maelruan's Church located in the most historic part of Tallaght was designed by the famous Dublin architect, John Semple. Christian worship has continued on this site for over 1200 years since St Maelruan founded [...]

One of the finest examples of a medieval tower house in Ireland

Knappogue Castle is located near the village of Quin in co.Clare. It was was built in 1467 by Sean MacNamara and is a magnificent example of a medieval tower house. It has a long and [...]

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