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Castles of Ireland
Kilcrea Castle and Friary, Co. Cork

Kilcrea Castle and Friary, Co. Cork The castle of Kilcrea lies in a field to the west of and across a narrow road and bridge from the impressive ruins at Kilcrea Friary (which is sign-posted to the left of the Cork to Macroom Road). Both were built by Cormac L�idir MacCarthy, who also built Blarney and Carrignamuck castles, and whose likeness is said to be depicted by a head in the upper part of the castle.

Cormac, highly regarded as a patron of the church and building, is said to have completed the Abbey in 1465, and the castle probably a little earlier. The ruins of the latter are also very impressive, although not as well preserved or cared for as the abbey, which he built for the Franciscans.

Cormac was murdered in Carrignamuck Castle by his brother Owen and the latter's sons in 1494 and is buried in the abbey in the place normally reserved for the founder of such an establishment - close to the high altar, and, in this case in the north-east corner. The tomb was reserved for the chieftain of the MacCarthy clan. Cormac's son (Cormac �g), who avenged his death in 1497, also lies there since 1536. He defeated the forces of the Earl of Desmond in the celebrated battle of Mourne Abbey. His grandson Teige 1565 and great-grandson Dermot 1570 also lie in the tomb. Dermots son, the famous silver tongued Cormac of Blarney was the last chieftain to be buried there in 1616.

The castle is almost encircled by trees and a thicket of shrubs but is mostly in good condition. It consists of two towers with a joining wall enclosing a form of court between them. The main tower, to the west is in good condition, and the stairs are usable, although there is a bar on the lower stairs to prevent cows climbing. The tower is about 70 ft in height (the battlements have been removed) and at ground level measures 49 by 36 ft. Walls are 5 ft. in thickness.