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 Castles of Ireland - Carrigafoyle Castle

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Near Ballylongford, County Kerry, Ireland

Carrigafoyle Castle can be found 2 miles north of Ballylongford on the south side of the River Shannon. It is situated in a channel between the mainland and Carrig island on the very south west tip of Ireland

The castle is accessed by a raised stone pathway which becomes inaccessible during very high tides so caution is advised.

Carrigafoyle Castle is made up of courses of thin limestone bricks in the style of a tower house. It rises over 86 feet in height and each of its five floors comprises of a small room with oblong chamber off the stone staircase. The house is exposed on the landward side due to a breach in the wall and is shielded by a wooded island against the estuary.

The castle is a national monument but has been left in its ruined state.

The castle has been partially restored and various internal rooms and staircases are accessible. There are no visitor facilities, but this need not detract from the medieval experience of seeing the castle.

The castle was built in the 1490's by Conor Laith O'Connor-Kerry in a strategic position overlooking the shipping lanes that brought goods to Limerick. To the north on the seaward side the castle is offered protection by a small wooded island and on the landward side to the south and west there were double walls enclosing a moat. The walls extended into the water and made a dock capable of landing ships that were up to 100 tons in weight, their design was so great that they still did not allow boats access within the inner wall.

In 1580 the castle was attacked from land and sea by Sir William Pelham in the Desmond Wars, the bombardment took place over two days and used very heavy weapons including culverin; huge naval guns, and cannons. On Palm Sunday the castle was taken after the tower was badly damaged by cannon fire; collapsing and killing many of those inside. Those who survived were massacred, in total 50 Irish and 19 Spanish lives were lost.
The castle is has never been repaired due to the amount of damage it sustained, but it has been made safe. It still stands today in ruins with parts such as the moat and outer wall still visible.

Other Castles in the Area
  Ballybunnion Castle, County Kerry
  Ballyheigue Castle, County Kerry
  Carrigaholt Castle, County Clare
  Doonbeg Castle, County Clare
  Glenquin Castle, County Limerick
  Glin Castle, County Limerick
  Listowel Castle, County Kerry
  Shanid Castle, County Limerick

Shanid Castle
Carrigafoyle Castle Ireland

Photograph by Arcaist. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Shanid Castle
Carrigafoyle Castle near Ballylongford is unusual in that it stands in the middle of a marsh.

Photograph by Colin Park. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Shanid Castle
Carrigafoyle Castle

Photograph by Anne Burgess. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

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