Three Castles Head, Tower House and Bawn

WOW! WOW! WOW! Dunlough Castle is located at the most westerly point of the Mizen Peninsula in West Cork. The only way to visit this 15th century tower house is on foot. The castle is remotely situated on the southern slopes of Three Castles Head overlooking Dunlough. The walk to the castle from the small car-park is across private farmland and takes about 20/30 minutes depending on which route you take. The shortest way can be quite steep but well rewarded as the views of the castle and Dunlough Bay can be simply breathtaking.

The annals refer to the construction of Dun Locha Castle in 1207, but the remains we see today are probably from the 15th century. It is one of ten tower houses built by the O'Mahony Clan. The site consists of a curtain wall approximately 100 metres in length, running from the cliff edge on the north shore of the bay to the very edge of the lough. Incorporated into the wall is the main tower house, two mural towers and an arched gateway. The tower house was accessed from ground level and also at first floor level through a lintelled doorway on the northside.

The Main Tower

The two mural towers and the gateway

The building was three storeys high and each floor was accessed by mural stairs. Another mural stair led to a wall walk. The central tower is very narrow. Abutting the westside of the eastern tower is a arched gateway. On the eastern side of the lough there is another bawn or curtain wall running about 60 metres east from the waters edge. The image above was taken from the hillside south of the castle. This is your first view of the site from the steeper approach. Hopefully if you do visit Three Castles Head the weather will be brighter than it was on our visit.

End of bawn at the cliff-edge

Situated: From Schull head west for Goleen on the R591, About 15k. Then turn right for Mizen Head. At the T-Junction 6.5 k turn right. Drive for about 2. 5 k keeping left at the Cul-de sac. Park at the end and walk up the track to the farm on your right. Follow the signs to the Castle. Either go over the hill or walk right and around it.

Discovery Map 88: V 7292 2713. Last visit Sept 2012.

Longitude: 9° 49' 46" W

Latitude: 51° 28' 58" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

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