Donegal Castle

Map Reference: G930786 (1930, 3786)

Hugh Roe O’Donnell may have erected a castle at Donegal in the 15th century. During the following century it was burned and partly demolished before falling into the possession of the English in 1601. Captain Basil Brooke was granted the castle in 1611 and he converted what was basically a rectangular tower-house into a gabled Jacobean manor-house with an additional wing. It sits at the north corner of a four-sided bawn with a small square tower at the south corner and remains of a gatehouse at the west corner. The added wing is positioned between the original tower and the gatehouse. The tower-house is three storeys high with a gabled attic and the later building is two storeys high plus attic. Alterations to the old castle include the insertion of mullioned and transomed windows and a first floor oriel window carried on a three-sided projection in the SE wall. On the top of this wall there are two square bartizan towers. In recent years this part of the castle has been re-roofed and the oriel window and one of the bartizans have been rebuilt. There are plans to re-roof the manor house section of the castle.

The main chamber in the tower is at first floor level and is entered from the stairs through a decorated doorway with a tudor-arched head. This room has a magnificent fireplace in the east wall. It is richly carve with an overmantel rising to full room height. The carvings include garlands, festoons, human masks, strapwork panels and coats of arms.

The manor house is a T-shaped building with the cross-piece of the T attached to the SW face of the tower-house and projecting slightly beyond the NW edge of the bawn. It was entered at first floor level by an ornate doorway in the SE wall. There is also a small decorated window frame.

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