Ballyhack Castle




N 52° 14' 45.3"   W 006° 58' 03.06"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

S 70506 10970

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Tuesday 7 June 2016

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The castle overlooking the village, seen from the harbour.
The castle and the road on the other side of the harbour appear for a few seconds as background items in a scene of the movie "The McKenzie Break" (1970), by Lamont Johnson (see movie at time 0:57:54 - 0:57:59).

It took us three times to Ballyhack to take some pictures and the coordinates of this castle!

It was probably built in 1450 by the Knights Hospitaller of St. John, the same military religious order who built Templetown Church not far from here.
This tower house is along the steep street that departs from the village and goes uphill. It's five storeys high, with a 10 metres by 10 metres plan, the main doorway is on the southwest (220°) side, protected by a machicolation on the top floor. This side of the castle has also the largest window and two two-light ogee windows. The other three walls have narrower windows in large number in the northeast and southeast walls. The northwest wall has four narrow windows lined up vertically, I think these were the windows for the staircase.
The south corner of the roof has four corbels, all that remains of a bartizan.
The most distinctive feature of this castle, apart from being on a steep street, is the square chimney on the southwest side of the roof. On the same wall, halfway up near the west corner, is a carved head of a human figure with large wide open eyes and the tongue sticking out the mouth. The stone that it was carved out from is a red sandstone, different from the rest of the masonry. Was it a kind of sheela-na-gig, or something to scare enemies off?
When we got to the castle it was way too late to visit it inside... I think that probably we have to come here a fourth time...

This castle appears for a few seconds in the background of a scene in the movie "The McKenzie Break" (1970), by Lamont Johnson.

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