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Bishop's Palace Castle
 

County

Donegal

Coordinates

N 54° 52' 22.26"   W 007° 35' 48.42"

Nearest town

Raphoe

Grid Ref.

C 25880 02856

Map No.

6

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

71

Date of visit

Sunday 28 June 2015

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The castle as it appears after crossing the thick vegetation from the northwest.


Another of those sites that we had visited in the past and that we never returned to, though we stopped in Raphoe many times. We came here for the first time in a gloomy afternoon on May 3rd, 1997. On that occasion we were welcomed by a group of kids that were playing war among the ruins and tried to scare us away.
Luckily this time nobody was around and the weather was much better.

It's classified as a castle, though it was built by John Leslie, Bishop of Raphoe, as his residence.
The castle was attacked two times in 1641 and 1650, and the Bishop was besieged in the building both times. It was then damaged in 1689 during the Jacobite War and again during the Irish Rebellion in 1798. Eventually the castle was destroyed by an accidental fire in 1838.

What remains today is just the shell of a majestic building. It stands on a low hill at the southeast end of the town of Raphoe, about 150 metres from the St. Eunan's church. The building has a square plan with four square turrets, one at each corner, that give the structure the aspect of a star fort. The roof level has battlements and there are arrow loops as well. The walls were thick and had several windows. In the northeast wall (50°) there's a wonderful doorway in the Neoclassic style. Its sill is high from the ground, there should have been some steps, but they're gone now.
The ground around the castle is covered with dozens of loose stones from the building.
The access doorway is in the northeast (50°) wall, and the next breach in the wall has been blocked by massive stones.


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