The Anglo-Norman town of Thomastown was founded in the early 13th century by Thomas FitzAnthony, the Seneschal of Leinster. It is possible that a pre-Norman settlement existed at the site of this important ford over the Nore. There are at least two castles within the town boundaries. On the north bank of the river, just upstream from the bridge, is a small tower-house known as Mullin's Castle (S586417).
It is possible that this may have been built in the 15th century as a defence tower for the bridge. It seems to have been at least four storeys high but the top storey is now fragmentary.
On the other side of the river, a short distance downstream are the remains of another small tower-house. Only the two lower storeys remain. It has been converted into a restaurant and guest house. However it is covered in ornamental creeper and what little can be seen suggests that all the walls have been rendered.
It is almost impossible to see any arctitectural features. Further downstream (S593414), about 1km from the bridge, are the remains of a larger castle which can be viewed, across the river, from the R700. This is a large rectangular keep possibly four storeys high. It appears to have had a good base batter but much of this has been removed. This may be the remains of the Anglo-Norman fortress of Grianan, built by Thomas FitzAnthony. The name suggests that it may have had pre-Norman origins. This fortress has given its name to two townlands here; Grenan and Dangan (i.e. fortress).
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