Anglo-Norman Castle

We were fortunate to arrive at Ballymoon Castle just as the sun came around to the west far enough to wash the east face in gorgeous light. Starting with the walk up from the road across a small footbridge we were full of anticipation and the castle did not disappoint. The square outer wall, 8 foot thick and now only 6 m high, completely encloses a courtyard. The walls are believed to have once supported crenellations and wall-walks, but these have not survived. Square towers project from three sides while the fourth side contains a gatehouse with a pointed arch and a groove for the portcullis and which may have had a barbican in front.

What is most unique is that built into the outer wall is evidence of a continuous, 2 and 3 storey, range of rooms. These rooms contain multiple fireplaces, doors and garderobes (toilets), suggesting they were built for comfort, even with the abundant cross-shaped arrow loops built for defense. But the courtyard-facing walls of those rooms were either destroyed or, some argue, left unfinished. Although there is no recorded history for this castle, it is possible that it was built around 1300 by the Anglo-Norman Carew family who evidently by this time had acquired the district. At that time the Normans had little control of this area, and the castle may have been built to defend the Barrow valley from Irish raids.

Situated: Very Easy.. From Bagnelstown take the R724 east for approximately 3.5 kilometres. The site is well sign-posted. Access is across a wooden bridge.

Discovery Map 61: S 740 615. Last visit March 2011.

Longitude: 6° 54' 18.85" W

Latitude: 52° 41' 58.71" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

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