The Carrigafoyle Castle

Le Carrigafoyle castle - Simowiiki - cc
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Carrigafoyle Castle (Caisleàn Charraig an Phoill in Irish Gaelic) is a castle located on the banks of the Shannon in County Kerry. Now in ruins, the castle was the scene of a historic siege in 1580, which reduced the fortress to rubble. Nowadays, you will only find a broken tower and the remains of crumbled walls… The setting is very picturesque, and the castle, of an incomparable charm…

History of Carrigafoyle Castle

Construction of the castle

Carrigafoyle Castle was built in 1490 by Conor Liath O’Connor on a rock in a small bay off the Shannon estuary. It was considered the “Guardian of the Shannon” because of its strategic location, next to the most important shipping lanes of the time, which allowed to supply the city of Limerick upstream.

Architecturally, the castle was built as a large square tower, 86 meters high, similar to many castles in North Munster, and had double fortified walls surrounding the fortress.

Siege of Carrigafoyle Castle

It is in 1580, that the castle of Carrigafoyle undergoes the episode of the Rebellions of the Geraldines of Desmond (1579-1583). At this time, the Irish family of Desmond enters in conflict with the British, and thus wish to fight against the rise of the Protestantism, and to recover the lands confiscated by the English.

At that time, the castle of Carrigafoyle belonged to the Desmond family, and had asked its Irish and Spanish soldiers to protect the fortress from possible assaults. At that time, the castle had 50 Irish soldiers and 16 Spanish soldiers, as well as women and children, on board.

The British commander, Sir William Pelham, marched through Munster at the head of 600 English soldiers. Upon arriving at Carrigafoyle Castle, the troop set up camp southwest of the castle, intending to lay siege to the fortress.

They bombarded the castle for 2 days, using 3 half-cannons, and a ship anchored in the Shannon, a few meters from the castle, which kept firing red balls at the castle, at a frequency of 6 hours per day. The Irish and Spanish soldiers tried in vain to retaliate with projectiles launched from inside the castle…

On the second day, the ranks of the English troops were reinforced by the arrival of new soldiers from the Shannon. The final assault was given, and the attacks were then concentrated on the western wall. The impacts were so powerful that the wall and tower shattered, reducing the foundations of the castle to nothing. The besieged fled in panic into the waters of the Shannon, but most of them were killed on the spot…

Visit Carrigafoyle Castle

A castle with picturesque charm

Carrigafoyle is now open to the public, and offers guided tours of the exterior and interior of the castle (no risk for a visit to the bowels of the fortress: the tower is safe, although it was once bombed…

You can also access some of the upper floors via imposing stone staircases, and enjoy a breathtaking view of the Shannon from one of the tower’s windows.

You can see the castle’s gutted tower, its crumbling west wall, and the scattered ruins of the building, the only remnants of the past siege. The setting of the castle is most beautiful, and you can spend an excellent moment at the edge of the water of Shannon, while admiring the ruined fortress.

Practical informations

Note Traveler's Note:

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Address Address: towards Tralee - take the R552, north of Ballylongford
Lieu : (County Kerry)

Coordonnées GPSGPS : 52.569879,-9.494054

SchedulesSchedules :

  • every day

DurationDuration: 30 minutes

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