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 Castles of Ireland - Carlow Castle

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Carlow, County Carlow, Ireland

Carlow Castle is situated on top of a rocky knoll near the town centre of Carlow where the rivers Burren and Barrow meet. Carlow is 23 miles from Kilkenny in the East of Ireland

The limestone castle originally consisted of a rectangular castle with circular towers at each corner, mullioned windows and castellations. What remains of the castle today are two towers, three storeys in height and part of the western wall.

The Carlow Castle site was thought to be one of Ireland's earliest four towered keeps, built in the early 1200's by William Marshall. It was built on the site of an earlier motte from the 1180's by Hugh de Lacy.

As with many castles in the area Carlow changed hands a number of times. In the 1300's it was the property of the Crown and the son of King Edward III, also known as the Duke of Clarence and Judiciary being resident there. He was responsible for strengthening the fortifications and moving the treasury from Dublin into Carlow, unfortunately due to the instability of the area it had to be moved back again.

The castle was then granted to the Earls of Norfolk from whom it was confiscated in 1537 and finally it was purchased by Earl of Thomond, Donogh O'Brien in 1616. He managed to retain the castle for 26 years until the Confederate Wars in 1642 when it was confiscated from him. The castle was liberated by Henry Ireton who released 500 prisoners who had been held captive there and passed it back to the Earl of Thomond.

In 1813 the castle was leased to Dr. Phillip Parry Price Middleton. He invested in rebuilding and remodeling the castle in an attempt to convert it into a lunatic asylum. In 1814 an unfortunate accident occurred when the eastern wall and towers collapsed during an attempt to build a series of underground tunnels using dynamite. After many years of being abandoned the castle came under the care of the Office of Public Works and in 1996 was excavated for the first time confirming the presence of the earlier wooden castle built in the 1180's.

Other Castles in the Area
  Ballybur Castle, County Kilkenny
  Ballyloughan Castle, County Carlow
  Ballymoon Castle, County Carlow
  Ballyragget Castle, County Kilkenny
  Clara Castle, County Kilkenny
  Foulksrath Castle, County Kilkenny
  Huntington Castle, County Carlow
  Kilkea Castle, County Kildare
  Kilkenny Castle, County Kilkenny
  Leighlinbridge Castle, County Carlow
  Rock of Dunamase, County Laois
  White's Castle, County Kildare

White's Castle
Carlow Castle, located at Carlow, County Carlow, Republic of Ireland

Photograph by Age Bosma. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

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