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 Castles of Ireland - Ballynacarriga Castle

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Dunmanway, County Cork, Ireland

Ballynacarriga Castle (also known as Ballinacarriga Castle) is set on a rocky outcrop overlooking Ballynacarriga Lough, about 5 miles from the town of Dunmanway in the west of County Cork.

Ballynacarriga Castle is a large four storey tower house. It is about 15m by 12m with walls are over 6 feet thick at the base. There is a short section of defensive wall remaining at the north east corner.

At ground level there is a spiral staircase at the north east corner, and a guard chamber from the main entrance lobby. The eastern doorway has been reconstructed, but it still retains the portcullis groove. A Sheela na Gig carving (a naked woman) can be seen high above and to the right of the door. The north west and south east corners have bartizans at third storey level. The third storey has vaulted ceilings. Fireplaces are set into the southern wall of the second storey and fourth storey. The castle features a number of carvings in the window recesses. At second storey level, there is a carving of a female figure with roses, and carvings of geometric designs. At the fourth storey level, there are carvings of the Passion of Christ. The are also carvings of the initials RM CC believed to be the initials of Randal Muirhily (Hurley) and his wife Catherine O'Cullane.

The wooden ceiling which would have covered the basement of the castle has disappeared, but the stone corbels still remain. On the second floor there is a garderobe (a primitive toilet) on the north side built over a chute. The castle roof, parapets and battlements are missing.

On the south east is the remains of one of the original four defensive towers which guarded the main castle, but the other three towers have gone.

The local residents association has carried out improvements to the site.

Ballynacarriga Castle was built in 1585 by Randal Hurley. (The date 1585 can be seen in a window-recess on the top floor). The castle was forfeited by the Hurleys in 1654, and it passed to the Crofts. It is believed that the castle was used as a chapel as well as a family residence. Locals say that the chapel was still in use until 1815.

Other Castles in the Area
  Carrigadrohid Castle, County Cork
  Carrigaphooca Castle, County Cork
  Carrignacurra Castle, County Cork
  Carrignamuck Castle, County Cork
  Coppingers Court, County Cork
  Kilcrea Castle, County Cork

Kilcrea Castle
Ballynacarriga Castle

Photograph by Mike Searle. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

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