Lorrha, County Tipperary, Ireland
Redwood Castle is situated in Lorrha near Lough Derg, 8 miles from Birr in the centre of Ireland.
The castle is a square stone Norman tower house built over four floors, with battlements and a projecting gallery at the top supported by a row of arches. Inside the fully restored building the main rooms are stacked above one another with the ancillary rooms being at the front.
The Castle is open daily between the 28th June and the 30th August with guided tours available between 2pm and 6pm. The rest of the year the castle is used as the family home of the Egan’s and the location for some of the Egan clan rallies.
Redwood Castle was built in the early 1200’s by and Anglo Norman family called De Cougan. Originally it was only two storeys high with the entrance being on the second floor for security.
In 1350 the castle was granted to the O’Kennedy family who were responsible for adding the further storeys, fortifications and a murder hole (a hole in the gateway ceiling through which the defenders could throw missiles or boiling liquids on attackers). The O’Kennedy’s already occupied the nearby Lackeen Castle, so Redwood was passed to the bardic family of the Mac Egans. The Mac Egans of Redwood specialized in the practice of Brehon law, and founded a school of law and history at the castle.
By 1654 Redwood Castle had been significantly damaged by Cromwell’s troops and was in ruins with only the walls and the spiral staircase remaining. The castle remained in ruins until the beginning of the 20th century when a local farmer cut a hole in the ground floor to allow access for his horse and cart and used the castle as a shelter.
In 1972 Michael Egan a descendent of the original Mac Egan family bought the castle and started on a huge restoration project, although some believed that the castle was not salvageable. His ambition was to have it as a second home, but to avoid paying tax on it the castle had to be open to the public as a site of historic interest for at least 2 months of the year, and in 1980 this is what happened.
Other Castles in the Area
Annagh Castle, County Tipperary
Birr Castle, County Offaly
Clonony Castle, County Offaly
Leap Castle, County Offaly
Portumna Castle, County Galway
Roscrea Castle, County Tipperary