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Castles of Ireland
Garryhill Castle, Co. Carlow

During the last decade of the fourteenth century Art Oge McMurragh (King of Leinster), lived at Garryhill. His house would have been built of wooden structure "of clay and wattle made", the roof would have been thatched and surrounded by a kraal-like compound, housing a sizeable community of friends and followers. In 1394, Richard II lost his patience with Art, who had been a thorn in the side of the English for years, and decided to attack. Richard an his great army crossed the Barrow at Leighlinbridge, and Garryhill was captured, and went up in flames. Art and his wife were caught by surprise but escaped into the woods. In 1394 Richard II said goodbye to Garryhill to return to England.

Granagh Castle, Co. Waterford

Granagh Castle, Co. Waterford Granagh Castle stands majestically even though delapidated on the banks of the stately Suir, about 5 kilometres from Waterford adjacent to the main Waterford Limerick road.

According to historians it is also said that Caisle�n Greannach,The Castle of the Gravelly Place, was also known as D�n Braum.It is said that Braum erected a fortification here to command the river and later to repel the incursions of the Norsemen from their settlement at Waterford.

When the Normans came, the site fell to the Le Poers who occupied it until Eustace le Poer was executed for treason in 1375.Edward the Third then granted the manor to James 2nd Earl of Ormond. Tradition says that the Castle was built by the Ormonds during the 14th Century by James, 3rd Earl who also established the Butlers in the Castle in Kilkenny.Butlers also had castles at Carrick-on-Suir and Gowran. Piers Duagh, the 8th Earl of Ormonde who lived here was married in 1485 to the famous M�ir�ad N�Gear�id, Margaret Fitzgerald, traditionally known as the "Countess of Granny". She was both feared and respected as she ppursued the interests of the Butlers. She also brought weavers and tapestry makers from Flanders to Kilkenny.

The Castle remained in the Ormond family at least up to the 1640's. In the time of Cromwell it was guarded by Captain Butler for the King but Colonel secured his surrender when he marched on it with two cannon, after having partially demolished it thus ensuring a victory for Cromwell's army.

Grange Castle, Co. Kildare

Grange Castle, Co. Kildare Grange Castle is a fine example of a late 15th century Tower House, which was embellished in the mid 17th century with ornamental battlements and Jacobean chimneys, (probably influenced by Carbury Castle, only 3 miles away).

It is close to the source of the River Boyne, in the barony of Carbury (which forms the North West corner of Co. Kildare between the borders of Meath and Offaly) and about three miles from Edenderry.

Built by the Berminghams, it became the family home of the Tyrrells in the early 18th century. It is the focal point of a complex of walled enclosures containing 18th century outbuildings and it has an early 19th century dwelling house attached to it (replacing a larger, late 17th century one, which was burnt down).

The whole site, including the immediately adjoining grounds, covers six acres and is well planted with a variety of stately old trees, such as beech and oak.

Greencastle, Co. Donegal

When built in the mid 13th century, the castle consisted of a strong rectangular, two-storey tower with reinforced corners, and a stout, irregularly shaped curtain wall with rounded corner towers. Only fragments survive of the curtain wall, which was further defended outside by a rock-cut ditch, from which stone was quarried for the construction of the castle.

The fortress was stormed by the Irish in 1260 and again in 1375, but also by Edward Bruce in 1316. To make it more easily defendable, a further storey was added to the tower in the 15th century, when the ground floor was sub-divided into three barrel-vaulted chambers.

In 1505, the castle was granted to Gerald, the great Earl of Kildare, and further alterations carried out during the same century included the enlargement of the upper windows and the provision of a new door in the west wall with a musket loop in the lintel.

To the south-west of the keep is a medieval building, restored in modern times to serve as a barn (still in private possession). In 1552, the castle was granted to Nicholas Bagenall and held for the Crown into the 17th century, when it was probably finally abandoned.

Green Castle, Co. Down

Green Castle Green Castle perches in a dramatic setting at the mouth of Carlingford Lough, with views over a sweeping landscape and towering mountains beyond.

The castle was built by Hugh de Lacy during the 1230s to protect the southern approaches to the Earldom of Ulster. It was escheated to the Crown after 1243, wrecked by the Irish in 1260 and from 1280 to 1326 was a favoured residence of the most powerful man in Ireland, Richard de Burgh, the "Red Earl" of Ulster.

His daughters were raised here, including Elizabeth, who married Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, in 1302 although this did not dissuade Edward Bruce from sacking it in 1316.

After an unsuccessful siege in 1333-34, the Irish captured and destroyed the castle in 1343 and 1375. The royal garrison was reduced in number c. 1400 as an economy measure and amalgamated with Carlingford under one con stable.

In 1505 it was granted to the Earls of Kildare, but after their downfall in 1534 quickly deteriorated into a "wret ched condition". It was later granted to the Bagnals who lived here until 1635. It was bombarded and destroyed by Parliamentary forces in 1652.

The design of Hugh de Lacy's castle consisted of a quadrilateral curtain wall with a D-shaped tower at each corner - all now in a very fragmentary state. Excavation of the north-east tower revealed that it had a residential use, perhaps as de Lacy's private chambers, while the rather complex south-west tower seems to have had a series of non-interconnecting rooms, suggesting its use as the private chambers of the de Lacy household. A massive surrounding rock-cut ditch was also revealed by excavation; this served as a quarry for the walls, and judging by the presence of a dam in the east ditch, may have been intended as a wet moat, though if so, the builders would have been disappointed for the rock is porous.

The castle's main feature is a large rectangular block, originally a great hall, raised upon a basement. This was lit by windows on three sides and probably had a dais at the east end for the high table, as indicated by the presence here of a high window, a small latrine and a fireplace. At the west end there was evidently a screen passage with two opposed doors, one giving access to the hall and the other the kitchens to the north. Steps led down to the dark basement store, which was later given crosswalls, vaults, gun loops and a new entrance.

Remodelling of the hall in the late fifteenth and mid sixteenth centuries gave it much of its present keep-like appearance. The walls were raised at the east and west ends, turrets added at the angles, and a spiral stair, mural passages and wall-walks included.

For centuries the green below the castle played host to a great fair every August. It was often called "Ram Fair" as a great ram was customarily enthroned on top of the castle's walls.

Green Castle is located 4 miles SW of Kilkeel, approached via a minor road off the A2. NGR: J 247119. It is open to the public April to September, Tuesdays to Saturdays and other times by request. A small admission fee charged.

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