Rathnageeragh Castle

Fort of the Sheep

We were looking forward to visiting Rathnageeragh Castle, meaning "Fort of the Sheep" after the extensive sheep runs there on the slopes of Mount Leinster, and were fortunate to arrive on a beautiful Spring day. The landowner was outside working in her garden and was so delighted to share this antiquity that she knocked down a fence to let us into the pasture. On approach we could see that the front wall of this 2-storey square castle is about all that remains intact, yet archeologists have traced the lines of the outworks and determined that it was once a place of considerable extent and great strength.

It is believed that the main arched entry lead to a central vaulted passageway between two vaulted chambers. Part of a square tower at one side still remains. The castle was built possibly in the 14th century and used as an out fort by the Kavanagh family until seized in an Inquisition in Wells in 1631, but eventually destroyed by Cromwell in 1650. The gun platform used to bombard the building can still be seen on a hill in the neighbouring townsland. In the 20th century a nearly perfect pair of heavy iron leg fetters and half a pair of iron manacles were discovered near the castle ruin. They are considered unique because they may be of Gaelic rather than Norman origin.

Situated: From Myshall, Co Carlow. Head south for one kilometre. Turn right. Then take the first right. After 500 metres turn left. Then first left. After 1.3 kilometres turn right. The castle is 2k down this road on your left.

Discovery Map 68: 7970 5665. Last visit March 2011.

Longitude: 6° 49' 19.57" W

Latitude: 52° 39' 18.92" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

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