Carrigaholt Castle (Carraig an Chabhaltaigh or "Rock of the Fleet")

Carrigaholt Castle



Location: Munster Map

Constructed: 1480 by the McMahons

360 degrees view


Description of Carrigaholt Castle

Carrigaholt Castle was constructed in 1480 by McMahons, chiefs of the Corcabascin Peninsula. In September 1588 seven ships of Spanish Armada that was largely destroyed by weather tried to lay siege to the citadel's defences. It didn't work out too well so the Spanish retreated. Shortly thereafter however it was taken by fourth Earl of Thomond (Donagh O'Brien). After four day siege Carrigaholt Castle opened its doors after agreement was made. Earl did not bother keeping his word and hanged all the defenders. His brother Donal O'Brien inherited Carrigaholt Castle and turned more into mansion rather than a military fortification. He cut windows through the thick castle walls and constructed a fire place on a fifth floor that bears a date of 1603. Today Carrigaholt Castle is under protection of Office of Public Works.


The McMahons (Mac Mathghamhna), ruler of the Corcabascin Peninsula (Corca Bhaiscinn), built the castle around 1480. It is located at the end of the Pier above the estuary of Shannon and the fishing port. It is a well-preserved Tower House with five storeys.

In September 1588 Tadhg Caech "the shortsighted" Mac Mathghamhna (Teige MacMahon) lived there. At that time, seven ships of the Spanish Armada docked in Carrigaholt. Although the McMahons refused to help the ships, the troops of Sir Conyer's Clifford, the then governor of Connaught, besieged the Castle shortly afterwards, albeit without success. In the following year, the 4. Earl of Thomond, Danagh O'brien, took over after a four-day siege and, contrary to the surrender contract, all defenders were suspended.

Then the castle fell to the brother of the Earl, Donal O'brien, who had many of the windows visible today installed in the Tower House, as well as the open fireplace on the 5th floor, in which the year 1603 is carved. Donal O'brien's grandson was the 3. Viscount Clare who resided at Carrigaholt Castle, and the English king James II from the house of Stuart Reiter regiment fielded the "Yellow Dragons" (dt. Yellow Dragon). After the Williamites had forfeited their vast lands of 230 km2 to the crown, the Burton family acquired the castle. The members of the Burton family were the last inhabitants and left the castle at the end of the 19th century. Century.