Black Castle can be said to be similar to Carrigagunnel Castle (see post http://irelandinruins.blogspot.com/2011/05/carrigogunnell-castle-co-limerick.html ) in as much as there are only a few jagged fragments of it remaining. But what is there is quite dramatic, especially in it's location atop a rock promontory jutting out from the historic town of Wicklow.
History has it that during the Norman invasion around 1169, Earl Strongbow was granted the lands on the eastern coast and he in turn passed these to Maurice Fitzgerald with the intention of Fitzgerald building a number of fortified castles to protect the area. Black Castle was one of these but Fitzgerald died before it's completion.
The castle came under many attacks from the infamous O'Tooles and O'Byrnes of Wicklow and the O'Byrnes finally managed to destroy the fortress in 1301. They in turn were dispossessed of it in 1534 and it returned to the control of the English crown. It was finally razed around 1580.
Full access to the ruins have been made possible by the OPW & Wicklow County Council. The area around the promontory has been landscaped and some ancient cannons have been dotted around the site to lend credence to how strategic a location this was.
You can walk down and then up some worn and slightly steep steps (be careful on a wet day as these could be tricky) and gain access to what was the interior. Very little remains, but the views from this spot are astounding. You can also climb down some hand railed steps to the stony little inlet below the promontory where the view upwards of the Castle is amazing.
To find Black Castle take the N11 from Dublin to Wexford. Take the R750 exit for Rathnew and Wicklow. Follow the R750 through Rathnew and on into Wicklow Town. When you have passed the Market St. Square in Wicklow Town, take the next left turn onto Castle St. Disc parking is available at the end of this street just adjacent to the Castle.