Dungarvan castle was founded in 1185 by Prince John at a strategic location
at the mouth of the River Colligan, where it controlled a port.
It would appear to have always been a royal castle, but the first
mentioned constable is Thomas Fitz Anthony (d.1227), appointed by King John in
1215. Thomas left a daughter, Margery, as heiress and before 1232 she married John Fitz Thomas.
The heart of the castle is a polygonal shell keep -
a great rarity in Ireland, but far more common in England and Wales. Other examples existing at
Berkeley, Cardiff, Carisbrooke, Clare, Kilpeck, Launceston, Lincoln, Marlborough, Oxford, Restormal, Tamworth, Tonbridge, Totnes,
Tremarton, Tretower, Warwick, Windsor, Wiston and in France at Chateau Sur Epte and Gisors.
At Dungarvan the keep is fronted by a bailey which has
a surviving corner tower and a gatetower, all of which have been cut
down for artillery. Within the castle is an eighteenth century
barracks. Previously this has housed royalist garrisons, the IRA
and the local Garda. Now it houses the castle museum.
Paul Martin Remfry