The fortress is supposed to have been built by either the Cotterels or the Cogeshales before 1240.  They are supposed to have held their lands from the Berminghams of Athenry.  Later it was held by the O'Kellys of Hymany, who held several other castles in this district - Mullaghmore, Garbally and Castleblakney.  It is claimed that O'Loughlin O'Kelly was the last owner of the castle, while his brother, Tadhg, lived in nearby Mullaghmore castle.  On 29 June 1646, Tadhg and his forces are said to have defeated and killed O'Loughlin and presumably sacked the castle.

A rectangular keep, some 50' by 30', stands on a low motte on a ridge end.  Only 3 of its walls now remain, but these, containing 3 floors, stand about 50' high and 6' thick. There are Romanesque openings at the first floor and 7 narrow loops in the basement although these are now much ruined.  Entrance was apparently gained from a first floor doorway at the northern end of the south-west wall.  A steep spiral stair connected the upper storeys, but the basement must have been reached via wooden steps.  The first floor hall was well lit, while the upper floor loops are purely defensive.  South-west from the keep, along the ridge, is a ditch whose spoil may have helped create the diminutive motte.

Perhaps you would like to join me in visiting this and other great castles of Ireland in October with Scholarly Sojourns.  Details of the trip can be found by clicking here.


Copyright©2022 Paul Martin Remfry