Barryscourt Castle




N 51° 54' 15.6"   W 008° 15' 33.1"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

W 82209 72437

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Thursday 20 June 2013

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The castle seen from the southeast. To the right of the castle two towers project from the east-southeast corner and north-northeast corner.

An early fortification was built at this place in the 12th century by the Anglo-Norman family de Barry, but the area was already the site of a settlement and evidences tell that it had been occupied for over a thousand year.

The de Barry family owned lands in several parts of the county, but this land remained property of the Barrymores, the most powerful branch of the family. The present tower house was probably built during these years, between 15th and 16th centuries. Eventually this branch of the family became extinct and in 1566 the land passed to James FitzRichard of the Barryroes, a distant cousin.
Barryscourt castle was destroyed by the de Barry family in 1581, during the Desmond Rebellions, in order to prevent the English army, led by Sir Walter Raileigh, from capturing it.
Other castles of the family shared the same fate. After the suppression of the second rebellion, Queen Elizabeth I pardoned the de Barrys and the castle was repaired, with the addition of a bawn surrounding an inner courtyard and three corner towers.
The de Barry family abandoned the castle in 1617, but it remained an important fortification for many years more. In 1645, it was attacked and captured during the Irish Confederate War. The castle walls still show the marks of the impact of cannonballs during this attack.

Barryscourt castle eventually fell into disuse, the property of the castle went to the Coppinger family who built a house next to the castle in the early 18th century. This house has long since disappeared.
A large building once stood next to the main tower inside the bawn, and was probably a dining hall, but only ruins remain. The three corner towers project from the northeast, southeast and southwest corners of the main tower. These three towers are five storeys high, while the main tower is three storeys high.
The entrance to the tower faces southeast (150°).

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