Historis Places in Ireland

Irish Castles

Adare Castle The time-worn remains of this Anglo-Norman fortress on the banks of the River Maigue may be counted among the most impressive castles in Ireland. It was first mentioned in 1226 as being held by Geoffrey de Marisco.
Ardamullivan Castle Standing on the brow of a secluded valley and surrounded by trees, this is a well-preserved early 16th-century tower house of the O'Shaughnessys.
Askeaton Castle The splendid castle of the Munster Geraldines at Askeaton, the principal seat of the last Earls of Desmond, rises majestically above the River Deel on a small rocky island.
Athenry Castle The great fortress and walled town of Athenry played a vital role in the Anglo-Norman control of East Connaught.
Athlone Castle Athlone used to be one of the most formidable medieval fortresses in Ireland, but warfare and substantial rebuilding have left little of the old castle above internal ground level.
Athlumney Castle Many tower houses remain occupied to the present day, but Athlumney, on the east bank of the Boyne, has long been in ruins.
Audley's Castle From its rocky vantage point overlooking the narrow entrance of Strangford Lough, this tower house is a striking landmark whose natural advantages no doubt played a key role in its siting.
Aughanure Castle The "ferocious O'Flaherties", masters of the whole territory of west Connaught, built this fine castle in the early 16th century.
Ballinafad Castle This neat little castle was built as a government military post by Captain St Barbe around 1590 to defend an important pass through the Curlew Mountains, and hence is known as the Castle of the Curlews.
Ballintober Castle This large "keepless" fortress is often claimed to be the only surviving early medieval castle of an Irish ruler. Built in the 1290s it has a roughly square plan
Ballylee The poet W.B. Yeats was so enchanted with this 16th-century tower house beside the Cloon River that he purchased the property in 1916 and restored it.
Ballymoon Castle Like so many Irish castles, Ballymoon has no recorded history, but on architectural grounds it must have been built c.1290-1310.
Ballymote Castle, Begun in 1300, this was the last and the mightiest of the Norman castles in Connaught.
Ballynacarriga Castle Despite the date on the window soffit of the top floor, the castle was probably built in the mid 16th century or earlier. There is a good sheela-na-gig above the main door, while the remnants of a round corner tower can be seen outside.
Ballynahow Castle Perhaps the finest round tower house to survive is the impressive early 16th-century tower of the Purcells at Ballynahow.
Benburb Castle The name Benburb, roughly translated as "proud peak", aptly describes the setting of this Plantation bawn, perched on the summit of a limestone cliff towering 200 feet above the River Blackwater.
Blarney Castle Blarney Castle, where you can kiss the blarney stone.
Bunratty Castle The fashion for renovating castles and using them to host "medieval banquets" may be said to have begun at Bunratty, which was restored in the 1950s and filled with Lord Gort's magnificent collection of medieval furniture and tapestries.
Burnchurch Castle This well-preserved tower house, occupied until 1817, has four storeys beneath a vault with the principal chamber above, lying just below a gabled roof.
Burncourt Castle The magnificent shell of this great 17th-century embattled house derives its peculiar name from being burnt by the Parliamentary army on their march to Cahir in 1650.
Cahir Castle Superbly set on a rocky island in the River Suir, this impressive 15th-century castle - the largest of its period in Ireland - was considered impregnable until the advent of heavy cannon.
Carlingford Castle Historical references to the castle are sparse, but on architectural grounds it was most likely begun around 1200, probably by Hugh de Lacy.
Carlow Castle This great keep was formerly one of the most impressive Norman castles in Ireland.
Carrickfergus Castle The mighty stronghold of Carrickfergus, once the centre of Anglo-Norman power in Ulster.
Carrick-on-Suir Castle This castle of the Butlers - Earls and later Dukes of Ormonde - stands above the Suir and was acquired in 1515, though the oldest part of the castle is a mid 15th-century walled bawn with a tower house in each of its northern corners.
Carrigafoyle Castle Carrigafoyle has had a stormy history and, although wrecked by a series of bloody sieges, remains a remarkable castle.
Carrigaholt Castle Set on the verge of a cliff overlooking the Shannon Estuary.
Carrigaphooca Castle Perched on a high rock overlooking the Sullane River this tall tower house commands truly panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. It was built by Dermot Mor MacCarthy sometime between 1436 and 1451.
Carrigogunnell Castle From its superb vantage point on a volcanic crag, this fortress is a striking landmark which demonstrates an excellent use of natural defences.
Castle Balfour The gaunt ruins of the castle, built by the Scottish planter Sir James Balfour on the site of an important Maguire stronghold, still dominate the town.
Castle Caulfield Described by Pynnar in 1619 as "the fairest building in the north", Castle Caulfield had three storeys in a U-shaped plan - the northwest wing of which has now disappeared.
Castledoe On a remote rocky promontory by the upper reaches of Sheephaven Bay, stands the grim four-storey tower house of Castledoe - one of the most fought-over and disputed castles in Ireland.
Castleroche Still known by its simple Norman-French name of Roche, this impressive castle clings dramatically to the summit of a great rocky outcrop.
Charles Fort The most outstanding example of a 17thcentury star-shaped fortification to survive in Ireland. It lies on the site of a medieval castle and 1601 it was occupied by a Spanish force and subsequently stormed by Mountjoy's troops.
Clara Castle Anyone with a serious interest in Irish tower houses is sure to be familiar with this well-preserved example, which still retains many of its original oak doors and floor beams.
Conna Castle, Conna Castle - Resembling some sort of medieval skyscraper, this captivating tower house rises about 85 feet from a great limestone bluff.
Coppinger's Court The striking silhouette of this ivy-clad ruin dominates Ballyvirine - a fertile and picturesque valley west of Rosscarbery.
Derryhivenny Castle The building of true castles came more or less to an end in Ireland with the outbreak of war in 1641 - one of the very last being the tower house and bawn at Derryhivenny.
Donegal Castle The site of Donegal Castle at the mouth of the River Eske was chief seat to the great clan O'Donnell; the original tower house is believed to have been built in 1474, but existing detail suggests a mid 16th-century date.
Donore Castle The small tower house of Donore may have been built with the premium of 10 that the Government - alarmed by the frequent incursions of Gaelic lords - offered in 1429 to "every liege man" in the Pale who would build "a castle or tower sufficiently embattled or fortified within the next ten years".
Drimnagh Castle Founded during the 13th century, Drimnagh Castle remained continuously occupied until 1953. It is a picturesque and modest-sized building.
Dublin Castle Fragments are all that remain of the great medieval fortress that once served as a symbol of Royal authority in Ireland and the centre of administration.
Dunamase Castle The battered remains of this once-strong 13th-century castle crowns a massive rock with superb views over the pass through the west Wicklow hills.
Dundrum Castle Dundrum Castle - One of Ulster's most evocative medieval ruins, Dundrum Castle was founded by the legendary Norman adventurer John de Courcy.
Dunluce Castle Like something out of a Tolkien fantasy, the ruins of Dunluce Castle have a desolate, awe-inspiring grandeur.
Dunsoghly The castle, built around 1450, was continuously occupied until the 1870s by descendants of the same family, despite being cramped and uncomfortable by post-medieval standards.
Enniscorthy Castle The town of Enniscorthy developed around this much rebuilt and restored 13th-century castle standing on a rock at the head of the Slaney's navigable tideway.
Enniskillen Castle All roads in Fermanagh converge on Enniskillen, which commands a vital strategic crossing of the Erne between the Upper and Lower lakes. The first castle was built here around 1415 by Hugh "the Hospitable" Maguire.
Ferns Castle The much-ruined castle at Ferns is the largest of a distinctive group of 13th-century Hiberno-Norman keeps that comprise rectangular blocks with cylindrical corner towers, known as "towered" or "four-towered" keeps
Fiddaun Castle A lofty tower house that is best known for having one of the best-preserved bawns in Ireland.
Gleninagh Castle Looking down from a hillside across the wide expanse of Galway Bay.
Glinsk Castle Sir Ulick Burke's handsome strong house at Glinsk was probably begun around 1628.
Granagh Castle Founded by the Le Poer family in the late 13th century, the castle stands dramatically on the north bank of the River Suir just above Waterford.
Greencastle (Northburgh) The fortress is impressive, though its dramatic setting at the mouth of Carlingford Lough adds much to its appeal.
Greencastle Called Northburgh by the Normans, it was not a royal castle but was built by the "Red" Earl of Ulster, Richard de Burgo, in 1305 to help subdue the O'Neills and O'Donnells and control the entry into Lough Foyle.
Harry Avery's Castle A curiously enigmatic castle named after and possibly built by Henry Aimbreidh O'Neill, a Gaelic chief celebrated by the Four Masters for his justice, nobility and hospitality who died in 1392.
Huntinton Castle The first view of the attractive grey-rendered castle of Huntington leaves one in no doubt that this is a building of great character and antiquity.
Jordan's Castle Ardglass was an important seaport in post-medieval times, whose defence depended upon a ring of fortified merchants' houses. The largest of these is 15th-century Jordan's Castle overlooking the harbour.
Kanturk Castle The construction of the great semi-fortified Jacobean house at Kanturk (c. 1610) was never brought to completion after suspicious neighbours complained that it was too dangerous and powerful a place to be in the hands of a subject.
Kilclief Castle Built sometime between 1412 and 1433 as the summer residence of John Sely, the last Bishop and Abbot of Down. Few tower houses can be dated so precisely, but Bishop Sely gained much notoriety for openly living in "castro de Kylcleth" with a married woman.
Kilkenny Castle The imposing ancestral castle of the Ormonde Butlers stands in the south-east corner of the medieval city of Kilkenny in a magnificent location over the River Nore.
Lea (Leghe) Castle Cromwellian troops dismantled some of Ireland's finest castles - not least of which was the 13th-century great fortress of Lea.
Lemaneagh Castle The magnificent ruins of the great O'Brien stronghold of Lemaneagh stand on the southern fringe of that limestone wilderness known as the Burren.
Limerick Castle This striking landmark in Limerick, known as "King John's Castle", stands on the east bank of the Shannon within the city walls, commanding a strategically important river crossing.
Mallow Castle The old Desmond fortress on the Blackwater River at Mallow was granted in 1584 to Sir Thomas Norreys.
Maynooth Castle The tides of war have left their mark on the great castle of Maynooth - the chief residence of the all-powerful Earls of Kildare from the early 14th until the 16th century.
Monea Castle Few castle ruins so readily engage the imagination as the picturesquely sited Monea - undoubtedly the most complete and best-preserved of all the Plantation castles of Ulster.
Narrow Water Castle Situated on a strategically important site where the Newry River narrows, this tower house was built by the Government around 1568 at a cost of 361.
Nenagh Castle The finest cylindrical keep in Ireland - known to generations of Tipperary people as the "Nenagh Round" - was built around 1200 by Theobald Walter, the founder of the great Butler dynasty of Ormonde.
Newtown Castle Newtown Castle - Like a rocket on its launch-pad, this unusual sixteenth century tower house takes the form of a cylinder impaled upon a pyramid.
Old Crom Castle A romantic ensemble of ruins and sham ruins set in exquisite parkland on the shores of Lough Erne.
Pallas Castle The remarkably complete and well-preserved tower house was built by the Burkes sometime around 1500.
Parkes Castle Rising from the tranquil waters of Lough Gill, this attractive Plantation castle now appears much as it did around 1610 when Robert Parker completed his fortified manor house on the site of a 15th-century O'Rorke castle.
Portumna Castle It is no exaggeration to describe Portumna as the most important residence to be built in Ireland until Castletown in the 18th century.
Rathmacknee Castle Rathmacknee's parapets are fully intact, a superb example of the multi-stepped crenellations so characteristic of late medieval Irish architecture.
Rinnduin Castle The impressive ruins on the remote Rinnduin Peninsula at Lough Ree have quite a romantic appeal, though they are very overgrown and frustrating to study.
Rockfleet Castle Visitors to this relatively small tower house cannot fail to be delighted by the elegant simplicity of its architecture and by the stark beauty of its setting on an inlet of Crew Bay.
Roodstown Castle Roodstown is a well-preserved, though roofless, example of a residential tower house, with all the typical features.
Roscommon Castle Strategically set deep in the plains of Connaught, this great royal fortress was raised as part of a campaign to assert Crown authority west of the Shannon. The first fort was begun in 1269 by Robert de Uffort
Ross Castle There are few castles anywhere in Ireland that can boast such a dreamlike enchanted setting as the ruins of this 15th century tower house on the shore of Killarney's Lower Lake.
Shanid Castle The famous war-cry/motto of the Earls of Desmond "Shanid aboo", echoed a belief that this little castle was "Desmond's first and most ancient house".
Slade Castle The picturesque little harbour of Slade is dominated by the brown rubble walls and striking merlons of this castle, formerly home of the Laffans, possibly merchants here in late medieval times.
Swords Castle Swords Castle - Swords Castle was built as the manorial residence of the Archbishops of Dublin around 1200 or a little later.
Trim Castle The largest and one of the most important Norman military constructions in Ireland, the king of Irish castles has imposing curtain walls enclosing over three acres and an enormous isolated keep.
Tully Castle Ireland is full of roofless ruins: few had such a tragically brief history as this beautifully sited Plantation castle, built between 1612 and 1615 for Sir John Hume.