Tuesday 31 October 2023

Ballycarbery Castle Co Kerry


                                           Above Image: Approach road to castle

                                                 Above Image: North East tower

                            Above Image: Castle with car parking area in foreground

This impressive castle was constructed during the 16th century on the site of an earlier 13th century structure. It commands a view over the estuary near Cahersiveen.

The castle was thought to be a residence of the McCarthy Mors who were successful traders and the position of this residence to the estuary was intended for more commercial than strategic reasons. It was later acquired by Sir Valentine Browne, a landowner, who lived in Ross Castle near Killarney. In 1652 during the confederate wars Ballycarbery was under siege by parliamentary forces and suffered damage from heavy cannon fire. In the years following it fell into ruin. Today the high wall that surrounded the castle has been diminished by sixty percent and the entire rear of the castle is now non-extant.

Only one chamber remains vaulted and it is located in the North East tower . It contains an awkward stairs leading to the remains of the first floor with another damaged stair on on the exterior. .Up to a few years ago accessibilty to the ruins was possible but of late the landowner has posted several prohibitive signs denying access probably due to the crumbling stonework but also more likely for insurance reasons as people would be apt to climb the stairs. It was therefore a little disappointing on our visit to discover this situation. I'd imagine there is probably still some trespassing done but any movement around the ruins is highly visible. That aside it is still an easy drive to the site and it's in a scenic spot .There is a rudimentary and very sandy car park right in front of the old field entrance and you can also take a walk down to the strand for an alternate view. While there we met an Australian lad who was very interested in this blog and for whom I have to thank for promoting it down under!

To find the ruins take the turn in Cahersiveen town onto Bridge Street (at the architecturally pleasing community resource centre) Once across the estuary bridge drive for approx. 600m until you reach a small crossroads. Turn left at the crossroads and drive approx. 1.4KM until you see a left hand turn signposted for the castle. Drive to the bottom of this lane until you reach the small car park.