Sunday, 9 October 2011

Dunmoe Castle Co Meath

                           Image Below: Contrasting light within the old Church

                    Above 2 Images: Views of The Tranquil Boyne River from the Ruins

                               Above Image: One of the Turrets exposed

                              Above Image: The old Church & D'Arcy Memorial

                                  Above 2 Images: Within the Old Church

Dunmoe Castle presents a very striking image especially when viewed from the old canal path below on the banks of the River Boyne. The Castle was built in the 15th Century and was home to the D'arcy family. The Castle, originally a four turreted structure, is now, through years of ruin, reduced to just two. During the Cromwellian invasion in 1649 the Castle was fired upon from the South bank by passing troops on their way from Drogheda to Athboy, but avoided any real damage even during the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. It remained intact until it was destroyed by fire during the 1798 rebellion.
During their occupation of the Castle the D'Arcy's had their own Church and cemetery built adjacent to the Castle and this is where the D'Arcys were interred. There is , curiously on one gravestone the Skull and Crossbones which we had seen previously in the area in Old Athlumney Church. It is thought to symbolize Freemasonry.
Finding Dunmoe was relatively easy. It lies in meadowland at the end of a country lane. There are a couple of houses at the end of the lane and we parked and attempted to get an answer from the house which appeared to own the land on which the ruins stand. But we got no answer. Not wanting to blatantly trespass we walked around the lane to see if there was any other access, but the area was well fenced off. Just then a local couple crossed over the field from the ruins and climbed over the locked gate. They told us that it should be okay to enter once we were just looking and not attempting to fish as it is banned here without a licence. So enter we did.
The meadow crossing was a bit rough and with plenty of cow pats but on the other side there was a gate which you could open. There were signs within that the area was being used by a Farmer and we hoped that we would get to see the ruins without being challenged. This gate led us to the ruin of the D'Arcy family Church. It's a very eerie place and has a definite vibe about it. It lies in the shadow of the great Castle ruin which can be accessed by a stone stile in the surrounding wall. There is no point in trying to enter the Castle as it is but two walls and the undergrowth inside has completely taken over.One of the Turrets has been exposed and you can see the remains of the spiral stairwell. The views of the Boyne area from up here especially on a bright day are amazing. The meadow runs steeply down a hill to the River and makes for imposing views of the ruin above.
Opposite the Castle on the far banks are the fine architecture of the Ardmulchan Estate with steps running down the riverside.We took some time to take in what was once a majestic home and no doubt a strong fortress before deciding it was time to leave as we had managed to do what we came to do without interfering with any body's property.
To find Dunmoe, take the N3 from Dublin into Navan. On the edge of Town turn right onto the N51 (Slane Road). After about 2.5 Kilometres you will see Donoghmore Round Tower on your left. Continue on for about 1.5 Kilometres and take the next right hand turn onto Dunmoe Lane. At he bottom of this Lane you can park and will see the Castle in the meadow.


  1. There is a footpath that takes you to the site. The stile into the field is accessed from a track going down the side of a house at the bend in the road before you see the ruins. Not signposted from the road but a well maintained stile into the field for the public footpath. There was a "no access" barrier on the track that initially made us cautious but it was placed after the stile and public footpath.

    Lovely place to visit.

    1. Thanks Michelle for that valuable information. I hope to get back to Dunmoe soon and I'll follow your directions

  2. This castle is open to the public and the right of way is situated to the far right of the field with a stone stile, it's a public right of way which is used by fisherman and the public are not trespassing when using it.

    1. Thanks Artycrafty, this is good news as it is a great ruin to visit

  3. Hi Castlehunter - I happened to see this castle from the road and drove down to have a closer look. A helpful local fisherman showed my family and I how best to access the graveyard via a side gate. What I enjoyed most about this particular ruin was the ability to actually explore it. If you jump the wall between the castle and graveyard and continue onwards there's another wall you can scale. Entering through a hole you find yourself in an area overgrown with thorn bushes and stinging nettle. You can make your way through that and then with a climb, enter the remains of the far tower. It's a bit precarious but the views from here are great. The tower nearest the graveyard is the true gem though - if you duck low and enter the small hole down the bottom you'll find an intact staircase that runs both upwards and down. Using a flash light I explored upwards until I reached a platform. Above me was a hole - hoisting myself into it I gained access to the top floor. The room is covered in pigeon excrement but the views are great and you can tell no one's been there in a very long time. As for the stairs down - it's a very claustrophobic crawl but it actually leads to a room from which you can exit into the graveyard further down. Hope that helps - a beautiful ruin. I took great care not to damage anything in my exploration. Cheers, Brendan.

    1. I like your sense of adventure Brendan! Many would think that you were putting yourself in danger but not I! Sometimes you just have to make an effort to reap the rewards. I haven't been to Dunmoe in a while but this makes me want to take a trip soon. Thanks for sharing your experience here.