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Carrigafoyle Castle
 

County

Kerry

Coordinates

N 52° 34' 11.4"   W 009° 29' 39.4"

Nearest town

Ballylongford

Grid Ref.

Q 98734 47510

Map No.

63

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

6

Date of visit

Wednesday 11 June 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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To the southwest of the castle there's a large car park.


This castle stands at the intersection between Ballyline River and the Shannon River estuary, on a stretch of land that was originally an island.
It was built between 1490 and 1500 by Connor Liath O’Connor using the technique of the flag stones to erect the walls. It was said that a building erected with this technique was impregnable in the 16th century.
It's 5 storeys high and stands at about 20 metres of height, with vaults over the second and fourth storeys. In the southeast (110°) corner of the castle a spiral staircase with 109 steps rises to the top floor. On each floor a small room opens off the staircase, with a window to northeast and one to northwest.
Other rooms and halls were in the centre of the tower but much of the castle has been destroyed and the inside is exposed towards southwest (245°) due a large breach in the wall.
Its position allowed the O'Connor to control the ship traffic on the estuary and to tax every vessel inwards or outwards.
During the Desmond Rebellion of 1579-1583, the castle was besieged and on March 25th, 1580, it was attacked by the English soldiers sent off by Queen Elizabeth and led by Sir William Pelham, Lord Justice of Ireland, in order to gain control over this territory.
The castle was defended by rebel troops both in the service of Desmond and from continental Europe, among them Spanish and Italian as well.
The bombardment used heavy weapons, cannons from the hill to the west and naval guns from the north.
On March 27th, after only two days, and many defenders killed, the castle was taken. The survivors were massacred by the English soldiers and all the valuables kept in the castle were sent to the Queen.
The damages made by that assault are very well visible today, the castle was so heavily damaged that the reconstruction was impossible.
The breach in the southwest wall was larger on our first visit on May 15th, 2000. It seems that the wall above the southwest doorway has been partly rebuilt and raised by one floor.
A section of the inner bawn wall is still present to the southwest of the tower.


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