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Castlederg Castle
 

County

Tyrone

Coordinates

N 54° 42' 26.22"   W 007° 35' 47.46"

Nearest town

Castlederg

Grid Ref.

H 26004 84431

Map No.

12

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

49

Date of visit

Saturday 10 June 2017

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The ruins of Castlederg castle are in the town park. Seen from the east.


There was a reason why Castlederg has the word "castle" in its name.
We visited the town in May 2006, but we didn't know that it had something to see.
The castle is on the north side of River Derg. It was built in 15th century, the first mention of it is in 1497, when it was in the hands of the O'Donnells. In that year it was taken over by the Henry Óg O'Neill, but in the following 11 years it was taken back and forth between the two families. The castle was just a typical tower house.
Following the defeat of the Irish forces at the infamous Battle of Kinsale and the departure of the Earls, a certain Sir John Davies, an Englishman appointed as a commissioner during the Plantation of Ulster, was granted 2,000 acres of land between Castlederg and Drumquin. In Castlederg he built a bawn in stone and lime. This was 30 metres long, 24 metres wide and 1.50 metres high, with square towers at each corner.
The walls are 1.25 metres thick.
This fortified enclosure became a refuge for the Ulster planters during the Irish rising of 1641. During this rebellion Phelim O'Neill led a siege to the bawn and it was severely damaged so that it was useless for its purpose.

The north (0°) wall is the most intact section of the wall. During the 17th century a two-storey house was erected on the north side of the bawn. This construction extended the bawn by some metres in that direction.
The southwest corner tower has been eroded by River Derg during the centuries. All the corner towers had gun loops in their thick walls.
Excavations in 1991 led to the find of the remains of the original O'Donnell tower house and also human bones outside the north entrance dating from late 16th or early 17th century.


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