Rathmacknee Castle,
County Wexford

Many Irish castles have lost their parapets during the course of time, but those at Rathmacknee are fully intact and are a superb example of the picturesque multi-stepped crenellations so characteristic of late medieval Irish architecture. Other features of the castle have survived equally well, and although now lacking its roof and floors, it may be considered one of the most complete examples of a tower house in South Leinster.

The tower occupies a corner of a well-preserved fivesided bawn that has a boldly projecting machicolation above the entrance. In plan the tower is a simple rectangle with one small projection - a prolongation in the east wall to accommodate latrines. There is a mural stair linking all five storeys, each having one apartment with closets or chambers in the thickness of the wall. The two lower storeys are beneath vaulting, while the timber floors had crossbeams that were tenoned directly into the wall-beams rather than laid directly upon them - an unusual practice that allowed the depth of the floor to be reduced.

It is probable that the castle was built by John Rossiter, Seneschal of the Liberties of Wexford, in 1451, whose family had lived in this area since the 12th century. Though staunch Catholics, they survived the Reformation purges, but ultimately forfeited their lands in the 1650s. The castle remained occupied until the 1760s.

12 km (7.5 miles) SW of Wexford town, off a minor road W of the main Kilmore Road. NGR: T 037143.