Ballinafad Castle

Map Reference: G781085 (1781, 3085)

There is some debate as to the date of construction of Ballinafad Castle. The general opinion is that it was built c1610, although some sources suggest 1590 or even 1519 as the date of construction. The builder would appear to be Captain St John Barbe. It is known as the Castle of the Curlews (Curlieus) and was built to protect the pass over the Curlew Hills. It was garrisoned by a Constable and ten wardens from 1610 to 1626 and after a stout resistance had to surrender in 1641 due to lack of water. The plan of the castle is modelled on those of 13th century castles, with a small central square block dwarfed by four massive towers at the corners which are round outside and square inside. The south and east walls of the central block are now missing but the outer walls of the flanking towers are in very good condition. Each tower is protected by a machicolation at roof level. Two of the towers have chimneys and there are fireplaces in the upper two storeys. There is also a large fireplace in the west wall at ground floor. The castle appears to have had at least three storeys plus a basement.

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