Castle Island, Lough Key, County Roscommon, Ireland
MacDermott's Castle is located on Lough Key, 3km north east of the town of Boyle in County Roscommon, Ireland
Lough Key is about 10km across, and roughly circular in shape. It contains over 30 islands including Castle Island where McDermott's Castle stands. It was formerly known as McGreevys Castle. Lough Key adjoins the Rockingham Demesne, a Country Park that was once occupied by the Lords Lieutenant of Ireland.
Lough Key Forest Park and Activity Park is an area of about 800 hectares of picturesque woodland and parkland with a lake and a number of wooded islands. It was once part of the Rockingham estate, owned by the MacDermott family. The park features an observation tower, wishing chair and underground tunnels. Wildlife is abundant in the diversity of habitats. Trinity Island on the lake has a ruined church. Moylurg Tower, standing on the site of Rockingham House which burned down in 1957, offers beautiful lake views.
Park visitors can walk to the Trinity Bridge, built with limestone blocks in 1836, and the Bog Garden with its log stepping stones. There is a tunnel near the lakeside restaurant which was built to allow staff to bring supplies from the lake to the house without being seen. The part has a fully serviced caravan park.
The Park has a modern Visitor Centre which is open all year round, with magnificent views over the Lough.
MacDermott's castle dates back to the 18th century but is now in ruins.
According to legend, the name of the lake comes from Ce', a druid who drowned when the lake was formed.
Another legend tells the story of Una, the daughter of the MacDermott chief, who was in love with a lower class boy. Her father prevented her from leaving the island. Her boyfriend swam over to her island once too often and drowned in the lake. Of course, the poor girl died of grief, and both her and the boy are supposed to be buried on the island, beneath two intertwined trees which grew over them.
Other Castles in the Area
Ballinafad Castle, County Sligo
Ballintober Castle, County Roscommon
Ballymote Castle, County Sligo