Ballycarbery Castle




N 51° 56' 56.1"   W 010° 15' 31.56"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

V 44734 78936

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Wednesday 15 June 2016

GPS Accuracy (m)

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Ballycarbery Castle seen from Cahergall Fort to the north.

When we first visited Cahergall Fort in 2002, the access to this castle was forbidden, so we couldn't visit it.
This time the castle was even too busy with dozens of tourists, many of them were there just for the fun of it, not to enjoy the place.

The castle dates to the 16th century and stands on the site of a previous 14th century dwelling.
It belonged to McCarthy Mór, the same who built McCarthy's Castle, he was the Gaelic Lord of Desmond at those times, but this castle was occupied by the O'Connell family as their constable. The last member of this family to live in the castle was Maurice O'Connell, until the building was destroyed by the Cromwellian Army.
A legend about Morgan O'Connell and McCarthy Mór tells that the latter put an obligation on the former to send one of their children to be fostered by the McCarthy Mór. So he sent a messenger with an empty cradle where to rest the baby to be fostered, but Morgan O'Connell killed the messenger, cut his head off and sent it back to McCarthy Mór who, in rage, captured Morgan and hanged him from the highest window of the castle to give the others a lesson.
The O'Connells kept living in the castle for the next one hundred years.

The castle has a rectangular plan and measures 22.5 metres by 12.9 metres with a turret at the northeast corner.
The entrance is in the northwest (330°) wall.
It had three storeys. There were three vaulted chambers on the ground and first floor, and two chambers on the second floor. A mural staircase would connect all the floor and was lit by three narrow windows. The top levels of the building and the tower were crenellated with stepped battlements.
The castle was enclosed in a bawn measuring 31.6 metres along the northwest-southeast axis and 35 metres along the northeast-southwest axis.
In the early 20th century someone started removing part of the bawn, probably to retrieve some building material, but the locals was outraged and the demolition was stopped.

Today the castle stands as a very fascinating ruin to see.

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