Ballintober Castle




N 53° 43' 18.6"   W 008° 24' 58.1"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

M 72579 74748

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Saturday 7 June 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The west wall of the castle seen from the southwest.

This is the second or third time we have come here, but we never investigated the place. This time we had a proper look around it.
The castle was built at the beginning of the 14th century by Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster and 3rd Baron of Connaught, on the O'Conor's lands to impose the presence of the English power in this area of Ireland. Anyway this expansion had a stop in the second half of the 14th century and the O'Conors took possession of the castle in 1362. The castle became the seat for the O'Conor Don, one of the two lines into which the O'Conor family split in 1385.
It is a fine example of a keepless castle, that means that the living quarters were inside the main walls rather than a central building protected by surrounding curtain wall.
The four sides of this castle have slightly different lengths, so the plan isn't a perfect square and has an average size of 83 metres across. There are four projecting corner towers with a polygonal plan and a pair of small gatehouses that protected the entrance of the castle in the east (95°) side.
The tower at the southwest corner had three storeys and each of them was an apartment with its own rooms and chambers, though conceived for the defence as revealed by the narrow windows.
A ditch is still visible all around the castle. In the central courtyard there were other buildings, such a hall with chamber and kitchen in the southwest quarter, and a church which measured 12 metres of length and 8 metres of width in the north quarter.
The castle is a private property and the access to the interior is prohibited without the permission of the owners, the O'Conors of Connacht, who reside at Clonalis House, outside Castlerea, about 10 km northwest from Ballintober castle.

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