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Rock of Dunamase Castle
 

County

Laois

Coordinates

N 53° 01' 53.9"   W 007° 12' 36.6"

Nearest town

Portlaoise

Grid Ref.

S 53042 98143

Map No.

55

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

188

Date of visit

Saturday 11 June 2011

GPS Accuracy (m)

5
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Looking at the ruined castle from the car park.


A long visit to this beautiful place. A nice and clear day is essential when you come to see this castle, the views from here are stunning.
When we arrived at the place we found a TV crew that was making a documentary.

The castle on the rock was built at the end of the 12th century on the site of an earlier fort that dated from the 9th century. The castle passed into the possession of the Anglo Normans when the daughter of Dermot MacMurrough, Aoife, married Strongbow.
During the first half of the 13th century it was in possession of the Marshal family, but later it was given to the Mortimers who held it until the mid of the 14th century.
Shortly before being abandoned it was property of the Irish family O'Moore.
During the Cromwellian invasion the castle was destroyed and was partially restored at the end of the 18th century.

The castle stands on a rock that overlooks the surrounding plain. It's accessed from the southeast (160°) through a first outer, or barbican, gate, that was a first protection to the fortification. From here there's a walk to the main gatehouse that looks to southeast (140°), a stronger check-point used to protect the curtain walls and the access to the lower ward. The castle, or great Hall, was on the top of the hill. The castle itself is just a ruinous shell and the only surviving part is the northeast section. The walls are massive and very thick and there are some corridors running inside some of them.
The edge of the hill can be dangerous because the slopes are very steep.

This was the third time we came here after July 4th, 1994, and May 19th, 2002.


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