Ballybunion Castle




N 52° 30' 43.6"   W 009° 40' 39.9"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

Q 86145 41356

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Tuesday 10 June 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The castle on the promontory in the golden light of the sunset.

The castle was built by the FitzMaurice family before 1500 on the site of an earlier promontory fort, and it's one of the 15 cliff forts in county Kerry.
The castle was sold to the Bunyan family in 1582, but it was destroyed in 1583 in the raids of the Desmond rebellion. William Bunyan lost the castle which returned in the possession of Thomas FitzMaurice, 16th Lord of Kerry and Lixnaw, who died in 1590.
In 1783, the castle was in possession of Richard Hare.
Since 1923, the castle is under the care of OPW and is listed as a national monument.

The castle suffered other damages by the time, the weather and the sea storms over the centuries, and all that remains is the east-southeast (110°) wall, which, during the last years has quickly changed its shape.
One hundred years ago its top still had a square and regular shape. At the end of the past century it still retained the remnants of a turret on the northeast top corner, but a lightning further damaged the castle on December 26th, 1999, and the top of the southeast wall changed to a rounder shape, though the large window was still there, as witnessed by the photo I took on May 15th, 2000.
Another storm made great damages a couple of years ago and what remains today is a hint of that window.
A spiral staircase is still visible in the southeast corner of the ruins.
The limestone from which the castle was built is slowly degrading and crumbling down.
Today the sad, yet fascinating, ruins of the castle are an important landmark for the town. The 30 metres high promontory on which it stands once divided the strand in the Men's and Women's beaches.

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