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Ballylahan Castle
 

County

Mayo

Coordinates

N 53° 56' 04.26"   W 009° 06' 16.98"

Nearest town

Foxford

Grid Ref.

M 27458 98918

Map No.

31

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

22

Date of visit

Monday 10 June 2019

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The castle seen from across the road, from the east.


The ruins of Ballylahan are all that remains of a castle built by the Jordan de Exeter, Sheriff of Connacht, in 1239. As his name reveals, he came to Ireland from Exeter, in Devon, and was the ancestor of the Clan Siurtain Gaileng/Mac Siurtain.

The castle was attacked and destroyed by Fedlim Ó Conchobair, King of Connacht, in 1316, a few months before he died in Athenry.
Two massive towers would flank the gateway on the southeast (120°) side, behind which there's a rather large polygonal courtyard. Within the bawn walls, on the ground, there are faint traces of a rectangular building that might have been the keep, but nothing can be seen of it anymore. Other buildings were in the courtyard, but no traces of them remain. The two flanking towers at the entrance were added about 20 years later the first construction of the castle.
The east tower is the most intact on the outside, but completely open on the inner side, the south tower is just a stump. From this stump a section of the bawn wall extend to the southwest for some metres.
To the northwest (300°) there is another long section of the bawn wall, with a couple of large windows and lots of gun loops. On this side there are some good buttresses.
The remaining perimeter of the bawn wall is a little more than an outline of what it was.

Looking at the ruins from a distance, it might look like the castle was built on an earlier motte.


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