Tuesday 6 September 2011

Burgage Castle Co Wicklow

                             Above Image: The view of the Lake from the Castle ruin

                          Above Image: The memorial Cross to the right of the Castle

Just about a half mile from the West Wicklow Village of Blessington lie the ruins of Burgage Castle.The scant remains crumbling away are now fenced in for safety reasons.The Castle, a Tower House, is thought to have been built around Norman times and sits adjacent to a very ancient ecclesiastical site called Burgage More which was abandoned in the 1400's. Fragments of an old Church now remain beside the Tower ruins.
In 1940 the area was flooded to create a reservoir for Dublin water supply and as a means to aid the Hydro Electric power station at Poulaphuca. At the time graves on the site were transported across to the other side of Blessington, and a tall cross now remains as a memorial to the site..
The Castle ruin now only consists of one wall and although not much to see, is in a very picturesque and photogenic spot. I believe that ruins such as Burgage should be documented as much as possible as they may soon disappear forever.
Access to where the Castle ruin is situated  through two iron gates which have pedestrian gaps to the side.A quick 6-8 minute walk along a well worn trail will bring you down to the lakeside. There are marvellous panoramas of the Lake and Mountains to be seen and although close to the Lake now, the Castle must once have stood in meadowland overlooking only the River Liffey.
To find the ruin, take the N81 from Dublin to Blessington. Just past the main street in Blessington, there is a left hand turn onto Troopersfield. This leads directly onto Burgage road which narrows to a lane way near it's end.
There are private houses here and parking is restricted for local access, so you will need to park a little away from the entry gate that leads to the shore.

Many Thanks to Max Chevers for his very informative comment. See Below.


  1. Burgage Castle came into the possession of the Earl of Kildare, after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1546. He gave it to James Boys, when it became known as Baltiboys. A sept of the MacDonnells were employed by the Earl as part of his militia, and were well known Irish Gallowglasses, later the King's Gallowglasses, employed by the Dublin government. Burgage came into the possession of the Cheevers family of Monkstown Castle, Co. Dublin, and it is thought the MacDonnells were their tenants. A document of 1550 mentions that the daughter of Alexander McTirrelagh McDonnell of Baltiboys was the wife of Shane McRedmond O’Byrne of Ballinacor, the grandfather of the famous Feagh McHugh O’Byrne. In 1606 their chief, Walter McEdmund Donnell, was granted a life pension by the Government. With the arrival of Cromwell,the property was forfeit and following the restoration of Monkstown, and Three Castles, in November 1660, it is not known if they held Burgage until the sale of Three Castles to Michael Boyle,Archbishop of Armagh, and Lord Chancellor in 1667, for £1000, and it was he who established the town of Blessington.

  2. Max Chevers. I’m trying to learn what I can about Faints Elizabeth 4747..
    and more specifically about the people there within. I wonder if the Walter McEdmund Donnell in your comment could be one and the same as the one mentioned in 4747. Do you know outright or would you at least share where you found your information? Any help and/or direction would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Hi,
    I have only just found your query posted last December. Whilst I obviously found quite an amount to be able to post onto this site I have no idea from whence k obtained it. I can not access the Irish Fiants of Elizabeth I at present. If I can trace my own reference which I posted on the Burgage site I will of course let you know. Burgage was included in my own book The House of Chevers, published on December 2016.
    With best regards,
    Max Chevers

  4. Hello!
    I am trying to research Burgage Castle.
    I live around the corner from it, but unfortunately I am having difficulty finding reliable information.
    The historical viewer on archaeology.ie has virtually no infomation on it, and so far every book, map and website I have looded up just mentions that there is a castle in ruins and that it was partially blown up by Cromwell!
    Any help or advice would be fantastic!
    Kind regards,

    1. Sarah
      If you live round there, do you know where the old Burgage Church was before Boyle founded Blessington? (My forbear Philip Walsh who was Boyle's Chaplain was the second (Protestant) vicar in Blessington, having previously been rector of Ballymore Eustace. I have some notes inherited from my great-grandfather's brother which suggest that he may have been local and descended from the Walshes of Three Castles (of which Burgage was one); but although we know that Philip's father was called Walter we do not know which branch of the Walshes of what was called in Elizabethan times 'The Walshmans Country' spread over the Southern Pale and Kildare they belonged to. I can tell you a little more about Burgage if you are willing to share your email with me.
      Michael Walsh
      (I now live in South Wales)

  5. Sarah,
    If it of any interest to you, I found an old notebook entry, (dated 1938) on the net which states that there was (is?) an old tunnel running underground from Burgage Castle to Three Castles over near Kilbride. It is on page 18 of the entry and the web address is: https//www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/50 The site gives contact info also. As the address appears to be a secure site it might not appear for you so just do a Google search "Burgage Castle" and find the site "Local Ruins/duchas.ie" I found it on the first serch page.