Ballyvada Castle

Map Reference :S004352 (2004, 1352)

In 1636 part of the townland of Ballyvada was purchased by John Cantwell of Moycarkey, from John Bourke, as the wedding portion of his daughter who married Colonel Kennedy. It was noted that the old castle which stands on the land was in need of repair.

The castle appears to be a rectangular building about 4 storeys high. It has a good base batter. The front door is in the west wall. Most of the worked stone appears to have been removed. It is just a rectangular gap, although the inner doorways are fine pointed arches.

The doorway leads to a small vestibule. On the left is a guard chamber, straight ahead is a large room and a mural stairway rises on the right. The vestibule is guarded by a murder-hole which seems to lead from first floor level.

The tower is vaulted, possibly above the third floor. There is another doorway in the east wall. This exits just above the base batter, possibly at first floor level. On the outside there is a masonry platform with a ramp leading up to the doorway. Inside there is a drop of about 3m. This doorway seems to be a later insertion leading to the first floor which is now missing. There may have been a wooden floor just inside this doorway.

There is evidence of substantial burning on the jambs of the doorway but there is no indication of when this occurred. The stairway at the front of the castle rises within the west wall and continues within the south wall.

A mural passage from the stairway, possibly at second floor level goes along the west wall and turns into the north wall, where there is a possible garderobe. A latrine chute exit can be seen in the north wall just above the base batter.

There is another mural passage at higher level, possibly in the south wall. At the higher levels the mural stairway becomes a spiral but the original spiral stone stairway has now been replaced by a wooden spiral which is fragmentary and unsafe.

It is not possible to explore the castle above the level of the vault.

There are remains of a round bartizan at the SW corner and a square bartizan at the NE corner. A small square turret rises above the general roof level at the SE corner. This is possibly the caphouse for the spiral stairway. The castle is lit throughout mainly by small defensive loops although there is at least one two-light window in the room above the vault.

View from the NE

The south wall

The west wall

I know nothing about the history of this castle apart from the 1636 reference. The presence of wooden structures within the building and the inserted rear door would seem to indicate that the building had a later use, possibly within the last two centuries. If any of my readers have any information I would be glad to receive it.

I am grateful to John Devlin, a legal eagle and keen angler from Cork, who came across this castle while fishing in the nearby Suir. He returned to photograph the building and provided me with enough information for this report. All the photographs used on this page are his property.

For some more photos of Ballyvada Castle click HERE

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 Ballybur, Co Kilkenny 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 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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