OBJECTID: 58010 Monument Identifier: KE00656 Classification: TOHO Irish Grid Easting: 101732 Irish Grid Northing: 133537 RMP_PROP: 1 County ID: 12 WebNotes: The castle ruins consist of the entire E wall, about 6m of the N wall, and 5.2m of the S wall. The N and E walls stand to a height of c. 15.4m, but the W wall has entirely disappeared. In fact, it is not possible to see where the W wall stood and therefore it is not possible to estimate either the internal or the external dimensions of the castle. The remaining walls are about 2.13m thick at ground level. None of the four levels survive and it is not at all clear how many floors were in the castle, but it would have had either four or five. It is also impossible to say where the door or the stairs were, though the stairs were possibly in the SW or the NW angle, and the door possibly in the W wall.
This is a typical example of a tower house of the type built in the 15th-16th centuries. Three unusual features suggest that Ballinruddery was built in the early to mid-16th century:
1. The presence of two and possibly three fireplaces. Fireplaces are not a feature usual in early tower houses, and even when found it is usual to have one or at most two. It is probable that the fireplaces in Ballinruddery are later additions to the tower house. The presence of three fireplaces, especially the one on what could be the second floor, is unusual, but it is impossible to speculate further.
2. One possible and two definite rectangular windows, with stone mullions and transoms. There is one rectangular window on the E wall and one on the third floor level. This type of window is from the last century of tower house building, but their presence cannot definitely date a tower house to the 16th or 17th century because they could be later additions. This would appear to be the case in Ballinruddery. The two definite rectangular windows each has an outside upper sill which was a distinctive, label mound of the 15th-l7th centuries. These sills, which prevented water running down into the windows, were more usual, and useful, over loop and slit windows which had no glass, but on this tower house none of the window loops has this sill feature and the third window with this sill is, therefore, probably a rectangular window also.
3. A corner bartizan at the NE corner. It is found about three-quarters way up the wall. It is a small, roofed machicolation, with slots for musket and slits underneath for throwing missiles down on attackers. In the internal NE corner is what appears to be an S-shaped arched opening which gives access to the bartizan. This feature would date Ballinruddery to the 16th century. It must have been built sometime before 1580, as the castle was granted to Sir William Herbert by Elizabeth I in 1588.
The S wall has a square recess on the ground floor. Above it to the right on what could be the second floor are the probable remains of what could be a square-headed window with stone mullions and transoms, set in a deep, square recess and slightly splayed. On the fourth floor are the remains of what could be a 3rd rectangular window with the distinctive sill, like those visible on the exteriors of the other rectangular windows.
On the ground floor there are the remains of a square recess in the N wall, and a window loop (square headed) on a large, deep, slightly arched recess. There is evidence of wicker centering and some remains of plaster on this arch. To the left of the window loop is what seems to be a fireplace. It is in a very ruinous condition. No features typical of a fireplace are left, but there is a chimney flue leading from it to the top of the N wall. On the top of the loop is a second square-headed window loop, again with a slightly arched, deep recess, with evidence of wicker centering. To the left are the remains of what may be another window. On the top of the third loop is another square-headed loop, set in a smaller slightly arched recess. To the left of this arch are the remains of three well-cut smooth limestone blocks, which could be part of a fireplace, but it is impossible to be certain as it is in a very ruinous condition. It is not above the first fireplace, so does not share its flue. In the NE corner is an S-shaped arched opening leading into a chamber, possibly to provide access to the bartizan. On the inside there is no visible remains of any flooring except for stone corbels on the N and S walls. Also there is no evidence for a vault at any floor level. Because this seems to be a late tower house, it is possible it never had a vault.
On the outside, the walls all have a slight batter. There is no visible evidence for a bawn wall. There is a wall built very roughly of unmortared stones set into the castle mound some distance W of the castle. This could have been to strengthen the mound, on it could have been the foundations of a bawn, but this is unlikely because the wall does not seem strong enough to support any weight. There are earthworks W of the castle which could be earthen ramparts, but this is unlikely as they are very irregular.
The above description is derived from C. Toal, ‘North Kerry Archaeological Survey’. Dingle. Brandon in association with FAS Training and Employment Authority (1995), no. 1004. In certain instances the entries have been revised and updated in the light of recent research.
Date of upload: 3 August 2013 Zone Code: R118021 ITM Easting: 501704 ITM Northing: 633586 SHAPE: Point Att.: 0 Class: Castle - tower house SMR No.: KE011-015---- Townland: BALLINRUDDERY Point: X: 501704.0 Y: 633586.0 Spatial Reference: 2157