Saturday 14 May 2011

Carrigafoyle Castle Co Kerry

Carrigafoyle Castle was built by Conor Liath O'Connor in 1490 using Limestone from the nearby Shannon estuary. The castle was breached by forces of the English crown in 1580 and it's occupants slaughtered. The large gaping hole in the land-facing side is a result of the battle. The tower sits on a sandy spit in the estuary. We visited Carrigafoyle first a number of years ago and found it more abandoned than it is today. It was also prone to tidal waters. The public works dept has recently built a short causeway and has made safe the ruin for public access.
As you enter the castle your eyes are immediately drawn upwards. All of the wooden floors within are missing so you can literally see up to the roof. At the back of the large entrance hall there is a wide stone spiral staircase in good repair which takes you up through the levels and on each one you can enter a chamber or look back down into the entrance hall. In one of the upper corridors there are small stalactites forming from the limestone ceiling, so unusual to see outside of caves. Finally when you reach the top you can see fine views over the estuary and can see exactly how strategically placed this tower was.
To find Carrigafoyle, take the N69 from Limerick towards Listowel. At Tarbert take the R551 to Ballylongford. In the town take a right turn at Bridge St and continue on until you see a sign pointing right for the Castle. You will find it down a country road on your right. Ample car parking has been made just outside the castle wall. There is a visitor's book for you to sign if you wish in the entrance hall.

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