Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland
Desmond Castle is located in Cork St., Kinsale town. Don't confuse this castle with the other castle of the same name in Adare, County Cork.
The building is a three storey square tower house with store houses at the rear side. It has an arched doorway at ground level. Another example of this type of urban tower house is Tynte's Castle in Youghal.
In 1997, the International Museum of Wine was established in Desmond Castle by local restaurateurs and historians supported by the Irish government Heritage Service. The museum exhibits a history of the Winegeese (Irish who fled overseas after the Battle of Kinsale in the 17th century and established wine trade in their new countries including USA and Australia). The museum is the home to the Order of the Winegeese, a society which has members in numerous countries.
Desmond Castle is open to the public from April to September. Guided tours are available catering for up to 20 visitors at a time. Tours take about 30 minutes. Visitors can also enjoy the exhibition and information leaflets are available.
Desmond Castle was originally built by Maurice FitzGerald, the 9th Earl of Desmond around 1500. Its was built as the Customs House for the port of Kinsale around 1500, after King Henry VII granted the customs of Kinsale to the Fitzgeralds, Earls of Desmond. The castle was used as an ordnance store during the Battle of Kinsale in 1601.
It was converted to a naval prison in 1641, after a new Customs House was built. The castle became known as the "French Prison", as many of the prisoners kept in the Castle were French and Spanish.
Desmond Castle was given to the town of Kinsale by James Kearney MP in 1791, and the building became the town jail, and was used for this purpose until 1846. It was taken over by the government in 1938 and declared a national monument. During the 1990s it was restored by the Office of Public Works and opened to the public.
Other Castles in the Area
Ballea Castle, County Cork
Blarney Castle, County Cork
Carrigadrohid Castle, County Cork
Carrignamuck Castle, County Cork
Charles Fort, County Cork
Elizabeth Fort, County Cork
Kilcrea Castle, County Cork
Kilgobbin Castle, County Cork
Mountlong Castle, County Cork
Ringrone Castle, County Cork