Ardmayle Castles





At Ardmayle there are remains of two ancient buildings. Close to the bridge is the ruin of a large house (S053461 [2053, 1461]). It is three storeys high by four bays long. There is an attic and a basement. Only the north wall stands complete but there are some fragments of the east and west walls. There is a good base batter evident on these fragmentary walls. Many of the mullions and transoms are still in place in the windows at the upper levels but the windows at the ground floor are now represented by large gaps. The windows at the basement level are almost buried and details are hard to see. There is an intact square bartizan at the top of the NW corner and a similar fragmentary bartizan at the NE corner.



There is a fireplace in the east wall at ground floor level and evidence of a pitched roof. There may be another small fireplace in the NE corner at first floor level. The building has the appearance of a large 17th century mansion, built for comfort with minimal fortification. It stands in the middle of a large rectangular walled enclosure. Much of this is overgrown with ivy and it is not possible to determine if the enclosure and the house are of the same date.



A short distance ESE of this building, almost opposite the church, is a small tower-house (S057458 [2057, 1458]). It is about four storeys high but the upper levels are not easily accessible. The tower has a vaulted loft above the first floor. This could be reached from the stairs.



There is a double doorway in the north wall near the NW corner. a mural stairway rises on the right.



The lobby is protected by a murder-hole but this is now blocked at the upper end. The ground floor room has two slit windows set within a round headed arcade in the east wall. There are similar windows at the first floor set within smaller recesses. A double latrine chute exits in the south wall near the east end.



Liam Bennett is a more intrepid adventurer than I, and climbed to the top of this castle. He provided the following information and photographs.

To the right of the main entrance a mural stairway rises to the third floor. Here there is an elevated window seat facing SE.

Photo

There is a passage leading to the latrine chute. The original stone seat at the top of this chute is still intact.

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The top of the latrine chute

Outside this passage there is a small hole in the floor which leads to the secret chamber. It was designed in such a way so that it could be covered by a flagstone.

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The entrance to the secret chamber

The secret chamber is a short passage which ends in another latrine chute.

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Inside the secret chamber

This probably makes it the only ‘en suite’ secret chamber in an Irish tower-house. There is also a set of stairs leading down to a 2nd floor passage within the walls.

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The second floor passage and stairs

A short spiral stairway leads to a small portion of the 4th floor.

The following photos were taken by Doug Foxvog. They show the top floor of Ardmayle tower-house

Photo by Doug Foxvog

Photo by Doug Foxvog

Photo by Doug Foxvog



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