Ballymote Castle

Map Reference: G661155 (1661, 3155)

Ballymote Castle is a large rectangular keepless castle. The interior measures about 30m square. The entrance is in the north wall and had twin D-shaped towers. The outer portions of these are mostly reduced to ground level. There are round flanking towers at all four corners and in the middle of the cast and west walls. There is a blocked postern gate in the south wall. This had been protected by a small square tower. The castle was built c1300 by Richard de Burgo, 'Red' Earl of Ulster. By 1338 it had fallen to the O'Conors and by 1380 to the MacDonaghs, who held it for two centuries. However the O'Conors were still contesting this claim in 1567. The great Red Hugh O Donnell made it his headquarters and assembled his forces there en route to Kinsale in 1601. The castle changed hands many times during the succeeding century and was finally slighted and the moat filled in after it was surrendered to the Williamite forces in 1690. Even though the massive gatehouse has been greatly damaged the castle remains an impressive monument.

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