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McCarthy's Castle
 

County

Kerry

Coordinates

N 51° 49' 11.94"   W 010° 16' 12.42"

Nearest town

Ballinskelligs

Grid Ref.

V 43507 65519

Map No.

83

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

8

Date of visit

Tuesday 14 June 2016

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The castle on the head of the promontory.


The shell of a square fortified building is all that remains of the McCarthy's Castle, also known with the name of Ballinskelligs Castle.
It stands on a rocky promontory a bit larger than the castle itself and linked to the mainland by a narrow gravel path subject to tides, so I reckon that access is not always possible. Luckily enough the water was low when we visited the building.
The castle has a beautiful doorway on its southeast (125°) side, looking at the sea, with two mural chambers on each side.
In the south corner a spiral staircase leads to the top of the ruins. A fragment of wall extends one storey in this corner, so the castle was at least three storeys high. It has a slightly battered base that proves the defensive nature of the structure.
There are large windows in the southeast and northwest walls, and two chambers in the northeast and southwest sections.
The castle was built in the 16th century by the McCarthy Mór, chieftain of Cork and Kerry, and had two purposes, to protect the bay from pirates and to charge a passage fee on all incoming trade ships.


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