Barryscourt Castle is a 16th century fortress in Anglo-Norman style. Very imposing with its surrounding wall and fortifications, Barryscourt Castle is a wonderful relic of Anglo-Norman history in Ireland. Open to visitors, the castle is simply fascinating, and transports us to another time!
According to archaeologists, the site where the castle stands would have been inhabited as early as the 7th century AD. Numerous traces bear witness to this, including the existence of a watermill, built at that period, at the height of a small stream.
It was during the Norman Invasions that the site fell into the hands of a rich Anglo-Norman family: the Barry family. They decided to settle there permanently and divided the possession of the surrounding land among the various branches of the lineage.
At that time, the most powerful branch of the family was the Barrymores clan, which owned the vast majority of the land that was shared. After several centuries of domination over its lands, the Barrymores family commissioned the construction of a castle in the 16th century. They demanded that it should take the form of a large square tower with windows, protected by a fortified wall.
When the construction was completed, the Barrymores family decided to take part in the episode of the Geraldines du Desmond Rebellions, a revolt in two stages (1569-1573 and 1579-1583), which pitted Irish clan chiefs against English Protestant families. These revolts gave rise to numerous battles which partially destroyed the castle of Barryscourt (part of the fortifications collapsed, while some parts of the castle were seriously damaged).
The castle is renovated, then wipes out the episode of the Confederate Wars.
Nevertheless, when the conflict ended, the Barrymores family was finally pardoned by Elizabeth I, and the castle entered a phase of reconstruction. The fortress thus regains its fortified enclosure and its former glory. We also take the opportunity to add 3 corner towers to the castle, as well as an additional wall that surrounds a small inner courtyard.
In 1645, during the Confederate Wars, the family suffered a siege, which left the castle with many marks, including those of cannon balls fired into the surrounding walls. After several days of battle, the family finally bowed down and the head of the family was imprisoned. Faced with this bitter failure, the rest of the family decides to leave the castle and flee to safety.
From 1645 until the 1980s, the castle remained in a state of abandonment and significant decay. It was only in 1987 that the Trust Barryscourt decided to renovate it, register it as Irish Heritage and open it to visitors.
The visit of Barryscourt Castle is free, and lets you freely discover the architecture of a castle. This one is typical of the Anglo-Norman style, and you will discover its large square tower, as well as its courtyard protected by an imposing surrounding wall. Three watchtowers of 5 floors each also help to ensure the security of the castle, while a dungeon was used at the time to imprison traitors and criminals of the region.
Don’t hesitate to visit them from top to bottom: each room is really worth a visit!
You will also have the opportunity to visit the different rooms in the main tower. This one is equipped with 2 large rooms entirely renovated which were used sometimes as a banqueting place, sometimes as a game room. Each room has been fitted out with 16th century furniture to immerse you in a realistic world.
Finally, if the visit seduced you, don’t miss to discover the orchard of the castle which was entirely restored in the 1990s. It also has a garden dedicated to aromatic plants.
Note that the castle regularly organizes medieval festivities… Market, jousts and knightly confrontations will delight the whole family!