Ferns Castle

Map Reference: T018499 (3018, 1499)

Ferns Castle seems to have been built in the first half of the 13th century, possibly by William, Earl Marshall, the Justiciar.

It fell to the Kavanaghs in 1360 and they held it for two centuries. In 1641 it was held for the Confederate Catholics but it surrendered to Cromwellian forces under Coote in 1649.

Originally the castle formed a square with large round towers at each corner. Only the SE corner tower survives intact along with a portion of the SW tower and and large portions of the south and east wall. The intact tower is four storeys high and is vaulted at three levels. The lowest vault is round, the middle vault is ribbed and the vault over the top floor is a groined vault. There is also a fireplace at this level. The tower contains a circular chapel. The main keep was three storeys high with cross-shaped loops at the ground floor and trefoil-headed windows at the upper levels. Many of the larger windows have seats and there is a good fireplace at first floor in the east wall. Not enough remains to indicate whether the complete area bounded by the walls was built over or whether the keep had a central light-well. The keep is surrounded by a deep rock-cut ditch.

The fireplace in the east wall at first floor

A window with seats

A gargoyle near the top of the SW tower

A window recess at the ground floor

The round vault over the ground floor

The ribbed vault over the chapel

The piscina in the chapel

The fireplace at the top floor

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