Ballaghmore Castle

Tower House

The five storey tower house at Ballaghmore was built in c.1480 by the Gaelic Chieftain MacGiollaphadraig (Now known as Fitzpatrick). The Fitzpatricks, who were Lords of Ossory, built the castle to command the Slighe Dhala, an ancient road from west Munster to Tara. The road was also known as Bealach Mor - Great Road. Early medieval sites along the route include the monasteries at Killaloe in Clare, Monaincha and Roscrea in Tipperary, as well as the monasteries at Aghaboe and Clonfertmulloe in County Laois. The tower house was partially destroyed by Cromwellian forces in 1647, during the Confederate wars.

The entrance in the north-west wall

The original entrance to the tower, which is situated in the north-west wall, includes a a murder hole. A mural stairs provides access to a spiral stairs that leads to the upper floors. Access to the first floor is through a pointed arched doorway. There is a garderobe on the third floor. A circular mural tower, at the south west angle, and a stump of another are the only remains of a bawn wall.

Pictured above are a few of the narrow slit opes and a cross-loop in the south east wall. The castle was restored in the 19th century and is now available to rent, click on the link for information. For a small fee, the castle is also open to visitors all year round.

A sheela-na-gig is located on one of the quoin stones, at the north-west angle of the tower house, about 10 metres above ground level. Her right arm appears to be resting on her right hip, her left arm is touching her left thigh and her right leg is also slightly raised. Along with these features, and her smiling facial expression, I had the overall impression of someone enjoying a jig.

Situated: Heading west on the M7 take exit 21 for Borris-in Ossory. Then take a lft onto the R445. The castle is about 5 kilometres along here on your right.

Discovery Map 60: S 1968 8989. Last visit Aug 2018.

Longitude:  7° 42' 25" W

Latitude: 52° 57' 34" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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