Glin Castle




N 52° 34' 18.5"   W 009° 16' 58.5"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

R 13068 47452

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Tuesday 10 June 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The castle, the ancient bridge and River Glencorbry seen from the northwest.

The ruins of this square castle stand on the right bank of the River Glencorbry in the village of Glin.
It was built by Thomas FitzGerald around 1240 and was the seat of the Knights of Glin, a branch of the FitzGerald family, until the early 17th century.
At the end of the 16th century the castle was in the possession of James FitzThomas FitzGerald, the 16th Earl of Desmond, whom the English referred to as the Súgán Earl, since his earldom was put into discussion both by his family and by the English Crown, though the allegiance to the queen that James and his father Tomás Ruadh always swore. Despite that, Queen Elizabeth wouldn't recognize his title because her plan was to expel the native from Munster and plant the region with Englishmen to make the area a new English colony.
James rebelled against the English Crown for not having his rights as an Earl restored by Queen Elizabeth.
So in July 1600 the Queen sent a ship of English soldiers led by sir George Carew, President of Munster, to the castle where a fierce battle ensued. Sir George Carew succeded in capturing the 6 years old son of James FitzThomas FitzGerald and sent the Knight a message that he would have used his son as a cannon ball against his castle unless they surrendered. But he replied that he was still virile enough and his wife Ellen was still strong enough to produce another son should the captured one have died.
So the siege began. The first assault failed and many of the English soldiers were slain by the castle defenders. Carew called backup from Turlough Roe MacMahon, but the second assault also failed and Turlough wanted to play harder. The third assault led to the result that the English took the castle despite the desperate stand of the garrison who bravely fought the enemy on every single step of the spiral staircase in the northeast corner of the castle. The defenders were killed by swords or drowned in the river. Only three men succeded in escaping their fate.
The fierce battle and the cannons of the English ship left the castle in ruins and some years later the Knights of Glin built a new house about half a mile further west.
On the west (270°) wall of the old castle there's a plaque which commemorates the heroic garrison who died defending the castle.

We came here for the first time on June 28th, 1994, twenty years ago!

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