Parke's Castle

Parke's Castle


Location: banks of Lough Gill Map

Constructed: 1610 by Roger Parke


Parke's Castle stand on the banks of Lough Gill. Parke's Castle was constructed in 1610 by Roger Parke. Parks Castle was built on the site of an older castle that belonged to the Irish clan O'Rourke (Wi Ruirk), dating from the beginning of the 15th century. These lands were captured by the English colonist Robert Park in 1610 after the completion of the conquest of Ireland by England and built a new castle here. The ancient walls were basically preserved - pentagonal in plan. But the ancient tower was destroyed and a new one was built. A new three-story manor was built on the eastern side of the castle, new pipes and windows were built.

One of the two round flanks guards the north wall. The other protects the gate leading to the main building. In the courtyard there are stone buildings, a covered well. At the back of the Parke's castle there is a gate leading to the lake. In the XVII century, the water level in the lake was 3 m higher than the current one and the water approached the very walls of the castle. The lake was connected to a moat surrounding the castle.


Excavations in 1972 - 1973 opened the base of the ancient castle and tower of the O'Rourke clan under the cobblestones of the castle courtyard. Now these foundations are available for inspection. It was in this tower that Francisco de Quellar, an officer of the Invincible Armada of the Spanish fleet, whose ship crashed off the coast of Ireland, was located. Here he communicated with the owner of the castle - Sir Brian O'Rourke. Later, Francisco de Queliard, returning to his homeland, wrote: "Although this leader is a savage, he is a good Christian and an enemy of heretics, and is waging a constant war with them." O'Rourke was captured in English, accused of "high treason" and executed in London in 1591. Robert Park, who subsequently acquired these confiscated lands, remained living in Newtown, Parks Castle mostly stood empty.

Not far south-east from Parke's Castle are the ruins of Durai Castle (from the Irish Dubshreich) - another former fortress of the O'Ruirk clan. The ruins of Durai Castle are located on a small peninsula on Loch Gill Lake. Most of the foundations and ruins of this castle are now underground. Duruy Castle Ruins is located on the north coast of Loch Hill, not far from the main Sligo – Dromgeyer road (R286).

At the end of the 20th century, a large-scale restoration of Parke's Castle took place. The restoration was carried out by the Public Works Office of Ireland. Windows, wooden constructions of the castle, and a roof using the technique of the 17th century were restored.

Park Castle is located 5 km (3 miles) northwest of the village of Dromahire near the road to Sligo (R286), 12 km (7 miles) from Sligo. The castle is open for tourists from late March to late September.