Garbally Castle




N 53° 24' 24.3"   W 008° 38' 09.3"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

M 57756 39789

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Tuesday 8 June 2010

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The castle seen from the southwest (220°). The first floor had a vaulted ceiling. The side walls were thick and with mural passages.

We came across this castle by chance after visiting St. Kerrill's Abbey. It's at the junction with the R339. The castle was built in the 15th or 16th century by Malachy O'Kelly along with other fortifications in the area. The Kelly Clan was well known at the time for their skill in building strongholds.
Unfortunately this castle was destroyed in 1504 by MacWilliam de Burgo who also destroyed the castles at Monivea and Gallagh. Garbally castle was probably later rebuilt since some records say that Cromwell and his army partially destroyed Garbally castle again in the mid-17th century along with castle at Clooncureen.
What we see today is a mostly ruined castle with its interiors exposed. It's a three-storey tower about square in plan. The southwest side is the most damaged and shows thick side walls with mural passages and a vaulted ceiling on the first floor. In the southeast wall there's a pointed arch doorway which is defended by a gun loop in the south jamb and by a murder-hole. The top of the northeast and southeast walls still have the corbels for the machicolations. The northeast wall has some windows, three of which are slits.
On this same side a handball alley has been built. This is one of the several monuments in Ireland that has been disfigured with the construction of a handball alley.

UPDATE: June 9th, 2014 - New visit to the ruins of this castle.
The breach in the wall is towards southwest (220°).
In the handball alley there's a plaque which commemorates Ellen Mannion who died here in 1850, aged 25, with her husband Michael McDermott and their two children after they were evicted from their house and took shelter at the ruins.
The photos from 4 to 8 are from this latter visit.

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