Benburb Castle,
County Tyrone

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. It was built in 1611-14 by Sir Richard Wingfield (later Viscount Powerscourt) who was granted 1,000 acres here from James I. An earlier castle on or close to the site was the "chief seat" of the celebrated Shane O'Neill, before it was burnt in 1566.

The bawn occupies a large irregular quadrangular area enclosed by walls standing almost to full height and generously fitted with musketry loop-holes. No main house was built as Wingfield had no desire to live here, but living accommodation was provided in gabled rectangular flankers incorporated into corners of the bawn. One of these was occupied in 1622 by "Mr Moore, an Englishman, with his wife and family". In the south-east corner of the enclosure is a round stair turret giving access to a postern down the cliff, while the house on the south-west side was built in the late 18th century and remodelled in Victorian times. The castle was captured in 1641 by Phelim O'Neill, who had all the inmates put to death. In 1646 it was occupied by Owen Roe O'Neill before he defeated the English army at the battle of Benburb. It was dismantled soon afterwards and has remained a ruin ever since.

Benburb town. NGR: H 814520.