Coolsteige Castle

Map Reference: R638639 (1638, 1639)

There is no information about the date of building of this tower-house. In 1580 it was the property of Donald Roe MacNamara.The castle stands on a rocky outcrop on private property. Unfortunately the owner does not permit visitors. The building seems to be about five storeys high. It is lit throughout by small single-light openings. These include at least one corner loop.

Photo by Liam Bennett

If the castle is viewed from the entrance gate to the site it can be seen that it clearly divided into two sections. The narrower section, to the right of the dividing line, probably contains the corner spiral stairway (suggested by the presence of the small corner defensive loop) and a vertical stack of small rectangular chambers. The section to the left of the dividing line may contain a vertical stack of larger chambers. It is thought by some scholars that the narrower section could have been built as a stand-alone structure, within one season. It would have provided shelter and defence for the builders while the castle was being completed during subsequent seasons. There are many tower-houses of this design throughout the region. In some cases, as at Carrickaholt, the broader section is now missing and only the tall narrow section remains. At Leamaneh the castle was started in this fashion but a large mansion was added instead of the usual broad section.

Photo by Liam Bennett

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