Carriganass Castle (Caisleán Charraig an Easa)

Carriganass Castle



Location: village of Kealkill, West Cork, 8 km Northeast of Bantry Map

Constructed: 1540 by Dermot O'Sullivan

Open: Summer months 9am- 5pm daily


Description of Carriganass Castle


Carriganass Castle is situated near a village of Kealkill, West Cork County in Ireland.  Carriganass Castle was constructed in 1540 by Dermot O'Sullivan to protect eastern borders of the O'Sullivan Clan. The name of Carriganass Castle is an anglicized version of the Irish name Caisle├ín Charraig an Easa which means "The Castle on the Rock of the Waterfall". The clan was defeated and had to leave the castle as well as their homeland. It became known as the "Flight of the Earls". Carriganass Castle eventually fell in disrepair and was used by the local farmers for their purposes. In the late nineteenth century former military citadel was used as a quarry for stones for near by Bantry House. Only in the 20th century restoration of the Carriganass Castle began preserving remaining structure.


Carriganass Castle probably built around 1540, Dermont O'sullivan, a member of the O'sullivan Bear Clan, who had considerable power in West Cork in the 16th and early 17th century. The castle passed through the hands of various members of the O'sullivan family when it was in a period of internal fighting until 1601. Then they joined together to support Hugh O'neill in the Battle of Kinsale. After the British victory in Kinsale, one of the commanders, Sir George Carew, traced the O'sullivan forces back to their base on the Beara Peninsula. A small garrison was left on Carriganass Castle, while the main O'sullivan force returned to Dunboy Castle. Carev's army took Carriganass Castle with ease before returning to the siege of Dunboy Castle. The O'sullivans were later expropriated and the castle became the property of the Barretts, which they kept until the 1930s. In the period when the Barrets owned the castle, a house was built next to it, but the castle fell to its present state.

Carriganass Castle was a typical Irish Tower House of the 16th century with a four-storey tower surrounded by a 4.2-Meter-high Kurtine or enclosure. The main tower is perched on an overhanging rock over the Ouvane River and has four corner towers. The main entrance to the castle was through a gate on the North side of the enclosure, which in turn had four corner towers. The main tower was located in the Western Wall. Today, the castle is in ruins; parts of the main tower collapsed.