OBJECTID: 57834 Monument Identifier: KE00117 Classification: TOHO Irish Grid Easting: 98748 Irish Grid Northing: 147514 RMP_PROP: 1 County ID: 12 WebNotes: Carrigafoyle Castle was built in the late 15th, early 16th century by Connor Liath O'Connor Kerry, the son of John O'Connor Kerry who built the nearby Lislaughtin Abbey [KE003-016----]. It consists of a single tower of five storeys, which rises to a height of over 24.4m and is constructed of small stones neatly laid. It measures 9.5m x 17.8m externally and the walls are over 2m thick. The second and fourth storeys were covered by vaults, and with the breach in the wall on the landward side the fourth storey's high-pointed vault can be clearly seen. In order to reduce the weight of this part of the structure, small chambers were constructed in the haunches of the vault. The door, which was at the E end, was situated high above the ground so that the tide could not reach it. It is now disfigured, but was constructed of cut limestone in the pointed style. Access to the upper floors was gained by a spiral staircase in the SE angle. The doors which lead from the spiral staircase were situated near the corners of the rooms and there would have been a recess in the room wall beside them into which the wooden door would have fitted when it was opened inwards. On the N, S, and E side 4 windows remain, all of which were formed of cut limestone. Some were pointed, others rectangular or round-headed.
Originally the castle formed an island and was fortified by two curtain walls. The inner one, which enclosed the castle, had rounded turrets, while the outer wall, which enclosed three sides to the N, S, and W had square towers at the corners. The area between the bawns was used as a dock for boats. The inner wall has completely disappeared, but the landward side of the outer wall can still be seen. It measures 21m long and 2m thick before extending into the square turret measuring 16m x 4m, which would appear to have been used as a dovecot. The illustration in Pacata Hibernia (1633) shows this unique defence system of Carrigafoyle. In 1580 John O'Connor fortified his castle against the Elizabethan forces under Sir William Pelham, with a garrison of 50 Irish and 19 Spaniards under the command of an Italian engineer named Julio. However, it was during this period that the castle saw the first effective use of artillery fire-power in Kerry. Pelham set up cannons on the mainland and on ships on the Shannon, and so bombarded the castle that it was stormed after only two days. All survivors were hanged or put to the sword. O'Connor surrendered it in 1600 to Lord President Carew, after which it was granted by the Crown to Sir Charles Wilmot. O'Connor Kerry was given land in Clare by the Earl of Thomond but in 1601, about the time of the Kinsale landing, he retook the castle, slaying the English garrison. O'Connor reoccupied the castle during the Cromwellian war and it was one of the last castles to fall. By 1649 the castle was finally destroyed by the Cromwellians. Carrigafoyle and much of the barony of Iraghticonnor were confirmed to the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin, by letters patent dated 14 September 1666. Carrigafoyle Castle is a national monument in State care (no. 349).
The above description is derived from C. Toal, ‘North Kerry Archaeological Survey’. Dingle. Brandon in association with FAS Training and Employment Authority (1995), no. 989. In certain instances the entries have been revised and updated in the light of recent research.
Date of upload: 3 August 2013 Zone Code: R118847 ITM Easting: 498720 ITM Northing: 647560 SHAPE: Point Att.: 3 Class: Castle - tower house SMR No.: KE002-045---- Townland: CARRIGAFOYLE Point: X: 498720.0 Y: 647560.0 Spatial Reference: 2157