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 Castles of Ireland - Enniscorthy Castle

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Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland

The castle is sited on rock at the head of the tidal Slaney river in the centre of Enniscorthy, 13 miles north of Wexford in the south west of Ireland.

Enniscorthy Castle is a grey stone Norman castle. It consists of four communicating three quarter drum towers at the corners and a rectangular keep 4 storeys tall. The castle sits in the centre of the town on a small patch of land.

Enniscorthy Castle; now used as the Wexford County and Folk Museum has recently been refurbished and reopened to the public. It has an extensive display of items related to the rebellion in 1798 and a special display of items relating to its use of a prison. It also features items of local and agricultural interest throughout the centuries.

The castle was built during the 1230's by Gerald de Prendergast. The original building was passed by marriage into the Rochford family in 1253 and during the 15th century to the MacMurrough Kavanaghs who granted it a group of Franciscan monks.

Enniscorthy Castle became property of the crown in the 1530's and was home to the poet Edmund Spencer. The castle was leased to Spencer who was popular with Queen Elizabeth I because he linked her with King Arthur and heaped praise upon the Tudors. It is believed that the poem 'The Faerie Queen'; written by Spencer, was based on Queen Elizabeth herself. She was said to be so pleased that she chose to grant him a pension for his life and made a gift of the castle to him.

In 1649 the castle was captured by Cromwell's troops after a siege and in 1798 was used as a prison during the rebellion.

The castle was restored twice in the 19th century once by the Earl of Plymouth and changed into a dwelling and again by local MP at the end of the century, when it remained a home until 1951. The castle is now home to the Wexford County Museum and has the reputation of being one of the longest inhabited castles in Ireland

The Arts
Enniscorthy is noted for a number of festivals. The Strawberry Fair is held in the last week of June each year and features amusements, live bands and crowning of the Strawberry Queen. The annual Blackstairs Blues festival features concerts and workshops by international and local performers. The Enniscorthy Street Rhythm and Dance Festival in August each year includes dance exhibitions, fireworks, parade, concerts, dancing and dance workshops.

Other Castles in the Area
  Ballyloughan Castle, County Carlow
  Ballymoon Castle, County Carlow
  Ferns Castle, County Wexford
  Ferrycarrig Castle, County Wexford
  Huntington Castle, County Carlow
  Mountgarret Castle, County Kilkenny
  Tinnahinch Castle, County Carlow
  Taghmon Castle, County Wexford

Taghmon Castle
Enniscorthy Castle

Photograph by Przemyslaw Sakrajda. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

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