Maynooth Castle,
County Kildare

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. Most of the curtain walls have now vanished, but the entrance gate and hall-keep still testify to the castle's former glory. The massive keep, one of the largest of its kind in Ireland, probably occupies the site of an earlier castle built soon after the conquest by Gerald FitzMaurice, one of Strongbow's associates. Begun sometime around 1210, the building was much altered in 1426 by the sixth Earl of Kildare. What remains now are its eastern walls and towers, together with the main entrance gate on the south - the present entry to the castle.

In one of the first recorded uses of siege guns in Ireland, Sir William Skeffington, Henry VIII's Lord Deputy in Ireland, took Maynooth Castle in 1535 after a week's bombardment. In the "Pardon of Maynooth" - a byword in contemporary Ireland - he put the garrison to the sword despite their having surrendered unconditionally. It was restored to the eleventh Earl of Kildare in 1552, repaired in 1630, taken by the Confederates in 1641 and dismantled at the end of the war.

Maynooth. NGR: N 938377.