Mallow Castle

16th Century Fortified House

This fortified house was built by Sir Thomas Norreys (Norris) in c.1580s. Norreys, Vice-President of Munster, was granted Mallow by the English during the plantation of Munster. It is the last of a number of castles built on the site. The Desmond Fitzgeralds had previously built a castle, in 1282, on the site of a castle held by the Norman de Rupe (Roche) family. In 1584, Sir John Norreys used the castle as his headquarters, after the death of the 15th Earl of Desmond, Gerald Fitzgerald.

Stone from the Desmond castle was used in the construction of the present castle. It is a long rectangular three storey building with an attic, and projecting four storey polygonal towers at the NW and SW corners. There is also, a square tower projecting from the centre of the east and west walls. It was entered from the west, through an arched doorway on the north side of the central tower, and via another arched doorway in the east wall. A stone cross wall divided the interior, see image above. Any other partitions were wooden.

There is a series of gun loops in the north, south and west walls, which suggests the east wall was probably defended by a bawn. A structure to the southeast of the castle, is believed to be the remains of a five storey tower house. In c.1610 Elizabeth Norreys, a daughter of Sir Thomas, married Sir John Jephson. She was a God-daughter of Queen Elizabeth 1st, who had granted the castle to her Father Sir Thomas, the Queen gave Elizabeth a number of white deer as a present, their descendants can still be seen on the grounds of the castle today.

In 1642, the castle withstood a siege by James Butler, 3rd Viscount Mountgarret, before falling to James Tuchet, 3rd Earl of Castlehaven, during the confederate wars in 1645. In 1680, the Jephson family converted the old stables to a new castle and abandoned the old one. Shortly after King James II ordered the old castle to be burned. The Jephson family sold the castle and the estate in 1986.

Interior of polygonal tower

Gun loop

Situated: Very easy, the castle is located in the centre of the town.

Discovery Map 80: W 5621 9818. Last visit June 2018.

Longitude: 8° 38' 22" W

Latitude: 52° 8' 2" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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