Castles in Ireland
Coolclogher House provides luxurious accommodation for anyone wishing
to visit the many Castles in Co Kerry & neighbouring Co Cork. The
region is famous for its romantic Celtic Castles and beautiful scenery
so you will be spoiled for choice.
The following is just an example of some of the stunning castles within
easy travelling distance and range from fully entact Celtic Castles and
Tower Houses that are open to the public to interesting and picturesque
Ross Castle, built in the 15th century, is just a short walk from Coolclogher
House. This romantic celtic castle has been magnificently restored and
houses a fine collection of 16th and 17th century oak furniture. Guided
tours daily. In a stunning location looking out over the lakes of Killarney.
Opened to the public in 2004 for the first time in 400 years. The best
example of Norman architecture in Kerry and one of the finest in Ireland,
the castle has now been restored to its formal glory. When work is fully
completed hopefully in early 2005 the castle will be open to the public
for tours on a daily basis.
A 16th century rectangular tower of 4 storeys and an attic in the gable.
Tradition says that it was built by the O'Moriartys but it was probably
really built by the Ferrises. The third floor has fine triple-mullioned
windows on the north and south sides, that on the north side having representations
of doves on the outside. There are two bartizans on opposite corners of
the tower which have holes for muskets. It is beautifully situated on
a peaceful stretch of the River Laune, with a good view of Carrantuohill
- Ireland's highest mountain.
Just two miles from Ballylongford is Carrigafoyle Castle, a tower house
built in 1490 by Conor Liath O Connor Kerry. It is built of thin pieces
of limestone, used almost as bricks with some attractive windows. This
is a very fine example of 15th century celtic castle. The illustration
in Pacata Hiberna shows the unique features of this castle. The castle
was strongly built and ingeniously situated. Standing on the edge of the
Shannon estuary on what was originally an island, Carrigafoyle Castle
rises to five storeys with vaults over the second and fourth storeys.
An unusually wide spiral stairs ascends in one corner of the tower and
has small rooms as well as the main living spaces opening off it. The
stone bawn wall at the foot of the castle contained a boat dock. One of
the turrets in this wall seems to have been used as a dovecot where pigeons
were kept for food.
A wide spiral staircase of 104 steps leads to the battlements and in
presentation and size it rivals Blarney Castle. It rises to 26.4 meters
and gives an impression of great strength. In the forefront of the view
from it, Carrig Island and Scattery Island can be seen across the broad
estuary of the Shannon.
Built in 1446 by Cormac Laidir McCarthy as a defensive fortress, what
is known as the Castle today, is in fact the keep of a much larger fortress.
All visitors to the Castle should kiss the famous Blarney Stone. It is
said to bestow the gift of eloquence on all those who kiss it.
The Rock Close, part of the Castle grounds is also open to the public
and is well worth visiting. This is a curiously interesting place of old
trees. By legend, the gardens are of Druid origin and were a centre of
worship in pre-Christian times. Within the Rock Close area there survives
a Dolmen or ancient burial place. Picnic areas have been provided in the
Rock Close on the banks of the River Martin.
This castle was the 16th century seat of the Barry family. The present
castle, wtih its largely intact bawn wall and corner towers, is a fine
example of an Irish tower house. Extensively restored, both the Main Hall
and the Great Hall are now open to the public The ground floor of the
Keep houses an exhibition entitled "The Arts in Ireland from the
Invasion to the Plantation 1100-1600". The Orchard has been restored
to an original 16th century design. A programme of reinstatement of fittings
and furnishings of the period is in progress.
House And Gardens
Bantry House was built around 1740. It was bought by the White family
in 1765, and was enlarged by Richard White who was the 2nd Earl of Bantry.
The house has a collection of tapestries, furniture and art treasures
which were mainly collected by the Earl.
The beautiful gardens have been restored and are home to sub-tropical
plants and shrubs. The gardens are open to the public, as is the French
Armada Exhibition housed in the grounds.
The Exhibition tells the story of Wolfe Tones failed attempt to end British
rule in Ireland, and the arrival of a French Armada to aid him in 1796.
The fleet had to return to France, although one of the boats was scuppered
and now lies in Bantry Bay.
Celtic Castles Kerry - Castles in Co Kerry, Ireland