Castles in Kerry : Ross Castle
Coolclogher House provides luxurious accommodation for guests wishing to visit the many Castles in Co Kerry neighboring Co Cork. The region is famous for its romantic Celtic Castles and beautiful scenery so you will be spoiled for choice. Ross Castle is within walking distance of Coolclogher House.
The following is just an example of some of the stunning castles within easy travelling distance and range from fully intact Celtic Castles and Tower Houses that are open to the public to interesting and picturesque ruins.
Ross Castle, Killarney. Ross Castle, built in the 15th century, is just a short walk from Coolclogher House. This romantic celtic castle has been magnificently restored and houses a fine collection of 16th and 17th century oak furniture. Guided tours daily. In a stunning location looking out over the lakes of Killarney. It has a unique history involving prophecy’s and invasions.
Muckross Abbey This old Friary is situated near the shores of Lough Leane in the Killarney National Park, some three miles from the town. It was founded ca. 1448 with the help of the McCarthy Mor family and was the residence of the Friars until 1698, with some interruptions due to their expulsion under Elizabeth I in 1589 and Cromwell in 1652. The final dispersal took place as a result of the Penal Laws which came into effect on 1st May 1698. Under these laws all bishops and religious were to leave the country under pain of imprisonment or transportation. The Franciscan Provincial of the time Fr Anthony O’Kelly, decided that the law should be obeyed. In that year many, though not all, went into exile to France or Spain, only to return secretly at the first opportunity.
Opened to the public in 2004 for the first time in 400 years. The best example of Norman architecture in Kerry and one of the finest in Ireland, the castle has now been restored to its formal glory. When work is fully completed hopefully in early 2005 the castle will be open to the public for tours on a daily basis.
A 16th century rectangular tower of 4 storeys and an attic in the gable. Tradition says that it was built by the O’Moriartys but it was probably really built by the Ferrises. The third floor has fine triple-mullioned windows on the north and south sides, that on the north side having representations of doves on the outside. There are two bartizans on opposite corners of the tower which have holes for muskets. It is beautifully situated on a peaceful stretch of the River Laune, with a good view of Carrantuohill – Ireland’s highest mountain.
Just two miles from Ballylongford is Carrigafoyle Castle, a tower house built in 1490 by Conor Liath O Connor Kerry. It is built of thin pieces of limestone, used almost as bricks with some attractive windows. This is a very fine example of 15th century celtic castle. The illustration in Pacata Hiberna shows the unique features of this castle. The castle was strongly built and ingeniously situated. Standing on the edge of the Shannon estuary on what was originally an island, Carrigafoyle Castle rises to five storeys with vaults over the second and fourth storeys.
Built in 1446 by Cormac Laidir McCarthy as a defensive fortress, what is known as the Castle today, is in fact the keep of a much larger fortress. It is home of the Blarney Stone.
“The Blarney stone, the legendary Stone of Eloquence, found at the top of our Tower. Kiss it and you’ll never again be lost for words.”
The Rock Close, part of the Castle grounds is also open to the public and is well worth visiting. This is a curiously interesting place of old trees. By legend, the gardens are of Druid origin and were a centre of worship in pre-Christian times. Within the Rock Close area there survives a Dolmen or ancient burial place. Picnic areas have been provided in the Rock Close on the banks of the River Martin.
This castle was the 16th century seat of the Barry family. The present castle, wtih its largely intact bawn wall and corner towers, is a fine example of an Irish tower house. Extensively restored, both the Main Hall and the Great Hall are now open to the public The ground floor of the Keep houses an exhibition entitled “The Arts in Ireland from the Invasion to the Plantation 1100-1600”. The Orchard has been restored to an original 16th century design. A programme of reinstatement of fittings and furnishings of the period is in progress.
Bantry House And Gardens
Bantry House was built around 1740. It was bought by the White family in 1765, and was enlarged by Richard White who was the 2nd Earl of Bantry. The house has a collection of tapestries, furniture and art treasures which were mainly collected by the Earl.
The beautiful gardens have been restored and are home to sub-tropical plants and shrubs. The gardens are open to the public, as is the French Armada Exhibition housed in the grounds.