Special Interests:
Wedding Traditions
Working in Ireland
Irish Citizenship
A site is included in WEB FEET only if our team of experienced educators, librarians, and editors think it is an outstanding site in its subject area.
Irish Foods to Your Door Boylesports.com Rent a Car in Ireland  
Castles of Ireland
Kilbrittain Castle, Co.Cork

Kilbrittain Castle, Co.Cork Kilbrittain Castle, was built by Mahon, king of Rathleann and a grandson of Brian Boru (from whom the O'Briens are descended) in 1035. It is located on the southern tip of Ireland in County Cork in a beautiful, quiet, serene setting.

Kilbrittain Castle has been occupied by Irish chieftains, Norman invaders, Cromwellian troops and Anglo-Norman planters. Kilbrittain Castle enjoys the status as one of the oldest habitable castles in Ireland.

Upon approaching this wonderful property, one sweeps down the the drive, through the gates to the forbidding stone facade and external double staircase. The steps into the castle were made uneven, to disuade invaders. Irish wolfhounds, trained as attack dogs, shared space in the guard posts under the steps.

Kilbrittain has a murder hole and a large round roofed room downstairs, heated by one large fireplace, were the guards slept and ate.

In the 1700's the second story of the castle was taken off and two stories were added to the original structure (the first floor). In the 1800's a manor house was built onto the castle at a right angle by the Protestant owners, since at the time it was stylish to live in one of these and leave the castle empty.

In the 1920's the IRA burned down the manor house. The original castle did not burn because the fire couldn't burn through the thick stone connecting wall.

Kilkea Castle, Co. Kildare

Kilkea Castle, Co. 
Kildare Originally built around 1180, this castle was completely restored in the 19th century. Kilkea Castle is situated in County Kildare, 40 miles southeast of Dublin, Ireland's capital city. It lies on the Athy road five miles northwest of Castledermot and was once the second home of the Maynooth Fitzgeralds. The castle grounds are supposed to be haunted by the son of Silken Fitzgerald, Gerald the Wizard Earl. The legend claims his ghost rises every seven years from the Rath of Mullaghmast to free Ireland from its enemies. This is a neat trick because the Wizard Earl is buried in London!

A great deal of restoration was carried out on the castle in the 19th century. The castle is now a resort hotel and golf club. The castle has 40 guest rooms, a restaurant, two bars, a health and fitness center, a golf course and clubhouse, a helicopter pad, and conference & wedding facilities. Some of the activities include golfing, tennis, clay pigeon shooting, and fishing. There are also four horse race tracks within about 20 miles if you like the ponies. The castle has some beautiful gardens which you must see.

Among the castle's oddities is an Evil Eye Stone set high up on the exterior wall at the back of the castle. The Evil Eye Stone is thought to date from the 13th or 14th century. It is a depiction of various half-human, animal and birdlike figures engaging an erotic behavior.

Information and photo courtesey of James Moats

Kilkenny Castle, Co. Kilkenny

Kilkenny Castle,  Co. Kilkenny Kilkenny Castle, at the south-eastern end of the city, is a magnificent building on high grounds beside the river. It was built in the thirteenth century in place of an earlier fortress erected by Strongbow . Though much altered, the structure retains the lines of a medievel fortress. Today it forms three sides of a quadrangle, and three of the four original round corner towers remain. From the fourteenth century the castle was the main seat of the Butlers, the Earls and Dukes of Ormonde, who play a large part in Irish history. Today the castle is in state care, having been handed over to the city of Kilkenny by the Marquess of Ormonde, prior to restoration and opening to the public. In the old castle stables is the Kilkenny Design Centre where an exhibition hall is open to visitors. Before the Normans came in the 12th century, Kilkenny's houses clung to the 6th century monastery of St Canice and the settlement was the capital of Ossory, a subkingdom of Leinster. But the strategic possibilities of the hilltop site were quickly grasped by William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, who built a castle there in 1192.

At times, kilkenny vied with Dublin in importance, and numerous Irish parliaments were held there. In 1391 the lordship was brought by James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormonde, one of a family that figured prominently in Ireland's uneasy history.

The Castle was the principal seat of the Ormondes from 1391 to 1935, and during that time evolved from medieval castle to Restoration chateau to Victorian country house. It is this last period that most influnces the interior. The long picture gallery with painted beams contains portraits by Kneller, Lely, Van Dyke and the pre-Raphaelites. Kilkenny Castle saw its last struggle in the Civil War of 1922, when it was taken over by Anti-Treatyites (who opposed the treaty with Britain dividing Ireland). But they surrended peaceably after two days. The Castle's creeper-clad walls rear above the clear waters of the River Nore. Its great drum towers make it look a mixture of a child's toy fort and French chateau. It occupies three sides of a square - the fourth was destroyed in 1659, opening up a splendid view across parkland to distant hills.

Killaghy Castle, Co. Tipperary

Killaghy Castle,  Co. Tipperary Killaghy Castle is a Norman castle which stands 300 yards from the village of Mullinahone.

Originally, in 1206, it was a Motte and Bailey, which is still visible to the left of the castle. The St. Aulyus lived there for 8 years and then erected a stone castle to take the place of the Motte and Bailey. This had four floors and a stone spiral stairway. During Tudor times a long house was added to the rear of the castle. Between this and 1800 two other buildings were added, making Killaghy what it is today.

The original owners were Cromwellian planters by the name of Greene who in turn, through marriage, passed ownership to Despards and in turn to Wright. The castle has been owned by Watson, Fox,Naughton, Bradshaw, and Sherwood. The present owners are Pat and Maria Collins who run a Bord Failte approved Farm Guesthouse with a nature trail, walled garden, a game room, and 2 tennis courts. The property is encircled by a stone wall and the surrounding land is grazing area for the Collins' dairy farm.

Killyleagh Castle Strangford Lough

Killyleagh Castle Strangford Lough Killyleagh Castle was described by Harold Nicholson over a century ago as"..pricking castellated ears above the smoke of of its own village and towering like some chateau of the Loire above the tides of Strangford Lough." It could be said that nothing much has changed.

The village of Killyleagh grew up around a fortified tower, built in the 12th century by the Norman knight, John de Courcy, conqueror of Ulster. Today, it is the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland.

The castle has self-catering apartments within the castle's towers, provide visitors with a unique holiday experience. Hans Sloan, 17th century founder of the British Museum and Kew Gardens was born in a house close by and received his early education in the castle.

Over the centuries the castle has been extensively modified although much of the original fabric still remains. Most recent additions, made during the 1850s, have created a fairytale, gothic facade, resembling a French Loire valley chateau. Through the centuries, as castle and village grew and changed, Killyleagh played its part in Ireland's often turbulent history.

The Plantation of Ulster would see the arrival of Scots and English migrants. The Industrial revolution would turn the sleepy fishing village - briefly - into booming mill town.

In 1846 the Potato famine would decimate the population. Today, the village has an unhurried pace, reflected perfectly by the character of the Dufferin Arms Coaching Inn, beside the Castle, which still dominates the 17th century streets with their rows of neat, slate roofed houses running down hill to the little harbour. Little shops still sell home baked bread and fresh local vegetables. A solitary mill still spins the best quality Irish linen yarn. And the clear, blue water of Strangford Lough still lap on the rocky shore.

King John's Castle, Co. Limerick

King John's Castle, Co. Limerick King John's Castle remains a most impressive Anglo-Norman fortification, even after 780 years. This five-sided castle was erected in the early years of the 13th century, probably between 1200 and 1216, as a royal fortress on the River Shannon, and as an administration and military center for the most westerly city of the Angevin empire, ruled , as the name implies, by the Plantagenets from Anjou of France.

It was uniquely built for its day, without a keep and with high curtain walls to withstand the awesome power of the new siege machines. Its massive gate towers and drum comer towers were state-of-the-art features for the beginning of the 13th century.

Its corner towers and double-towered gate-house reflect the architecture of castle building around the year 1200. And, as the archaeological excavations have shown, the castle was built on the site of an early fortification, incorporating some of the earthwork defenses into the castle plan.

During the 17th century sieges the castle suffered badly. In 1651 it was surrendered with the city to Cromwell's army. Patches of brickwork show hasty repairs after the siege bombardments of the early 1690s. Many alterations and repairs were carried out in the succeeding centuries. The domestic buildings of the courtyard do not survive, except for remnants of a 13th century hall and the site of what could be the castle chapel.

King John's Castle, Co Louth

King John's Castle, Co Louth This early Norman fortress was named after King John who visited Carlingford in 1210. The western portion of the castle predates this visit and was probably commissioned by Hugh de Lacy c. 1190.

A massive curtain wall divides the earlier western courtyard from the eastern wing, which contained the living quarters. The eastern section was constructed in the mid 13th century and has alterations and additions dating from the 15th and 16th centuries.

The castle commanded an important defensive position on the Lough but by the 16th century it was described as in a wretched condition and remained so until conservation work in the 1950s.

Kinnity Castle, Co. Offaly

Kinnity Castle, Co. Offaly Nestled amid the Slieve Bloom mountains and in the heart of Ely O' Carroll country, Kinnitty Castle is one of the strongholds of the O' Carroll family of which one Charles Óg O' Carroll was one of the signatories of the American Declaration of Independance. The family still maintain vast estates in Maryland. In the mid 1890's Montgomery Hitchcock and family lived in Kinnitty. Little was it known at the time that his son Rex Ingram would go to Hollywood to become a noted director of spectacular silent movies. Still in existence today on the Estate are the remains of an ancient Augustinian monastery and ancient Celtic Cross dating from the 7th century. The high cross depicts the presentation in the temple and the crucifixion on the east face, Adam and Eve and intertwining birds. Kinnitty located in the centre of Ireland is an ideal base from which to explore many sites and trails. The estate itself includes 65 acres of parkland, formal gardens and a walled-in garden.

Tastefully refurbished and in keeping with its old world style Kinnitty Castle, once home to the Bernard Family has been transformed into a magnificent country residence. Incorporating ten ensuite bedrooms, they retain their original dimensions in keeping with the period of the Castle. Excellent cuisine, fine wines, open log fires and candlelight together a very warm and friendly welcome create an atmosphers and hospitality that is special to Kinnitty Castle. Wildlife is abundant and undisturbed. Leisure facilities include tennis, fishing, shooting and a fully equipped health and leisure centre. Esquestrian holidays are a speciality providing numerous equestrian activities including tuition, trailing and trekking. The old Estate encompasses 10,000 acres which are directly accessible from the Castle where guests can wander through unspoilt woodland on horseback and lose themselves in the peace and tranquillity of their surroundings.

Knappogue Castle, Co. Clare

Knappogue Castle, Co. Clare Knappogue was built by Sean MacNamara, son of Sioda who built Bunratty, in 1467.

Sean, Lord of Clancullen's reputation for lavish parties and royal entertainment surpassed even the reputation of his father for hospitality and lavishness.

In 1571 the castle became the seat of the MacNamara Clan, Earls of West Clancullen.

Douglas MacNamara was a leader of the 1641 rebellion and the castle was occupied by the Cromwellian forces. Arthur Smith was then granted the castle but it was later returned to the MacNamaras.

The MacNamara Clan sold the castle to the Scotts in 1800.

The castle is open to the public May through October and twice nightly during this time medieval banquets are held, subject to demand. The theme of the entertainment at these banquets is the story of the women of Ireland, from pirate queen to saints to sinners.