Ballybur Castle

Map Reference: S475492 (2475, 1492)

I visited Ballybur Castle in February 1986 when the following notes were made:

"A tower-house was inspected at Ballybur. It is about five storeys high and has a machicolation over the doorway. There are two mullioned windows at the top floor and another at second floor level. There are many narrow slits including corner slits and some slopstones. There are remains of a bartizan. A large fireplace on the ground floor may be a later insertion. The first floor is in place and there are fragments of the other floors. To the right of the entrance is a guard chamber and a mural stairway rises to the left. This changes to a spiral above the first floor. The tower is vaulted above the third floor. Many mural chambers lead off the stairway. A mural passage at the third floor leads to a garderobe with a latrine chute. Above the vault is a large chamber with deep recessed windows and a good fireplace. There is a good slopstone at this level. A small turret rises in one corner above roof level."

The photographs which I took that day are of poor quality. I recently received an excellent photograph taken by Stella Power.

Photo by Stella Power

The castle was built by Richard Comerford about 1588. It was occupied by the family during the Confederation of Kilkenny in 1641. It is recorded that the Papal Nuncio, Cardinal Rinnuncini, vistied Ballybur when he presented an ornate rosary to Richard and Mary Comerford. Richard's son, John, was the last Comerford to live at Ballybur. He was banished to Connaught in 1654 and the castle and lands were granted to Brian Manseragh. Little is known about the next two centuries but in 1841 the castle was occupied by Thomas Deigan. The Deigans remained at Ballybur until 1970 when the castle was bought by the Grays. They began a programme of restoration and the castle is now a luxury self-catering holiday home.

I returned to Ballybur Castle in July 2008 and took the following photos. I was taken on a guided tour of the building by Pat who is in charge of bookings and housekeeping for her brother Frank who restored the castle. Very little structural alterations have been made with the exception of an inserted back doorway in place of a window at the ground floor. This level has been kitted out as a kitchen and dining room. All original beams have been retained as much as possible. At the first floor there is a bedroom containing three double beds. The large window recesses at this level are capable of each holding a double bed. There is also a very fine bathroom. The next two floors are also furnished as bedrooms and have bathrooms. The castle is capable of accommodating eight people comfortably or twelve people who don't mind sharing. The top floor, above the vault, is the living room and, since it incorporates the attic space, it has a very high ceiling. The two-light windows at this level are the largest in the castle and give good views of the surrounding countryside. They are set within large recesses which can be blocked off by heavy curtains at night.

The original entrance

Detail of the machicolation

Detail of one of the bartizans

The interior of the top room

For details of some other Tower Houses click on the following links

Ballynalacken, Co Clare Ballyportry, Co Clare Cratloemoyle, Co Clare Gleninagh, Co Clare Smithstown, Co Clare Ballinacarriga, Co Cork Carrickadroichid, Co Cork Dunmanus, Co Cork Buncrana, Co Donegal Audley’s Castle, Co Down Jordan’s Castle, Co Down Kilclief, Co Down Narrow Water, Co Down Dunsoghly, Co Dublin Ardamullivan, Co Galway Drumharsna, Co Galway Feartagar, Co Galway Lydacan, Co Galway Ballymalis, Co Kerry Burnchurch, Co Kilkenny Foulksrath, Co Kilkenny Rockstown, Co Limerick Castlerea,, Co Longford Ardee, Co Louth Killincoole, Co Louth Dunmahon, Co Louth Roodstown, Co Louth Termonfeckin, Co Louth Kildavnet, Co Mayo Kinlough, Co Mayo Rockfleet, Co Mayo Donore, Co Meath Lynch’s Castle, Co Meath Clonony, Co Offaly Shrah, Co Offaly Ballyfinboy, Co Tipperary Ballyvada, Co Tipperary Grallagh, Co Tipperary Graystown, Co Tipperary Lisronagh, Co Tipperary Moycarkey, Co Tipperary Tombrickane, Co Tipperary Syonan, Co Westmeath Tyrrelspass, Co Westmeath Kilcloggan, Co Wexford Rathmacknee, Co Wexford Taghmon, Co Wexford Threecastles, Co Wicklow

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