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Castle Matrix Castle
 

County

Limerick

Coordinates

N 52° 31' 08.76"   W 008° 57' 22.74"

Nearest town

Rathkeale

Grid Ref.

R 35097 41288

Map No.

64

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

40

Date of visit

Saturday 17 June 2017

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The tower house of the castle is half hidden by a tall tree. The main doorway is hardly visible under the tree branches. Seen from the east-northeast.
This is the only photo I had taken during the visit. The place was too scary to spend another second there!


No doubt, this is the scariest place so far seen!
We came here for the first time on June 10th, 2001. On that visit we had some difficults in finding the castle, a local man gave us the directions and we drove along a narrow path flanked by trees and abandoned and rusty cars scattered here and there. It was like the scene of a horror movie indeed! When we finally reached a clearing in the trees we saw the castle on our left. It looked like abandoned, but a window had the lights on, there were traces of recent human activities, but at the same time it was like nobody had been there for a long time. There were a few cars in the front yard, all were covered with tree leaves, as they hadn't moved for months.
We felt very uneasy in that unsettling situation, so we took one photo only and ran away!

Now, 16 years later, we tried to find the courage to do another visit.
This time I knew how to find the hidden path to the castle and drove along it. It was clear too soon that nobody had driven or walked on that path for months, or years. Tree branches were invading the pathway and the grass in the middle of the path was 70 centimetres high. We finally reached the clearing that had much reduced since our previous visit. The vegetation had taken over big time. The tower of the castle was half hidden behind a tree that has grown before the windows. The courtyard had turned into a lawn, it was even difficult to turn our car around. However a rather new car was parked in a corner of the clearing.
I got down the car and tiptoed to the end of the courtyard to take a couple of photos. I can't deny that the place was scaring the hell out of me, I only took three photos and I didn't think twice to tiptoe back to the car, jump into it and drive back to the main road as fast as possible.

I don't think I will ever visit this place a third time!

And now some details about the castle.
The name Matrix come from the Celtic Goddess of poems Matres.
It was built in 1420 by Thomas FitzJames FitzGerald, the 7th Earl of Desmond. It was later in possession of his son James FitzGerald, 8th Earl of Desmond, who was killed by one of his servant in 1487. His brother Maurice, allegedly the instigator of the murder, avenged the death of his brother by killing the servant. He took possession of the castle.

Among the famous visitors and guests at Castle Matrix were the two English poets Edmund Spencer and Sir Walter Raleigh.

In 1600's the castle was granted to the Southwell family. Some years later Sir Thomas Southwell, a member of the family and 1st Baron, played a key role in bringing 100 families of the Palatine protestant community from Germany to Ireland.

In 1960's the castle was in disrepair and was bought by the American Sean O'Driscoll who restored it. Since the castle is still property of the O'Driscolls, it should be mantained and visitable, but our last visit proved the opposite.

It consists of a tall tower house with stepped battlements on the roof. The main entrance looks towards east-northeast (70°). Adjoining the tower house, to the northwest, there's a low mansion house, but the thick and dense vegetation conceals it to the sight.
Old photos of the castle show a beautiful park around a nice castle. So bad that today the atmosphere around this building is that gloomy.


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