OBJECTID: 67005 Monument Identifier: KE10523 Classification: TOHO Irish Grid Easting: 54914 Irish Grid Northing: 58865 RMP_PROP: 1 County ID: 12 WebNotes: Ballycarnahan Castle / Baile Uí Chearnacháin: This small castle was reputedly built by a branch of the O'Sullivans, known as the O'Sullivans of Formoyle and Ballycarna, in the early seventeenth century (RIA MS 24 K 43). It stands on a rocky knoll a short distance S of Caherdaniel village, and overlooks Darrynane Bay to SW. A recently restored nineteenth-century building stands close to the castle at S.
The ruins consist of a rectangular structure, 11m x 8.44m externally, which rises to an average height of 5.1m from a battered base. The walls are built of coursed rubble set in a strong gravel and lime mortar. The quoins are of undressed sandstone and the NE corner has been greatly undermined. Two storeys of the building survive, but a third appears to have existed. The internal planning of the surviving floors consists of a main chamber, 6.15m x 5.35m, separated by a cross-wall from a smaller chamber and the communicating stairwell at E. The principal floors were of beam wall-plate construction, supported on rough corbels which project from the N and S side-walls.
A broad ragged gap in the E wall marks the site of the ground floor entrance. A portion of the head and N jamb of the doorway, formed of roughly dressed sandstone blocks, survives; it is rebated internally for a door, one of the drawbar sockets for which is preserved, and externally for a hinged iron grille which was probably secured through the now missing S jamb. Three housings for the hinges of the grille survive in the N jamb. Through the doorway access was gained to a lobby which communicated with the main ground floor chamber to W, a small chamber to S, and the stairwell to N; most of the cross-wall which separated the lobby from the main chamber is missing, but it probably was originally fitted with a central doorway. The chamber at S had a vaulted roof, the inner section alone of which survives, and was lit by a poorly preserved, lintelled loop in the E wall. The roof of the entrance lobby does not survive, but it appears to have been flagged; a rebate in the E wall of the first floor chamber directly above suggests that it featured a murder-hole. The main ground floor chamber was lit by narrow loops with widely splayed ingoings and lintelled rear arches in the N, S and W walls; most retain pivot-holes and drawbar sockets for wooden shutters. Wall-cupboards occur at the N end of the W wall and the E end of the S wall.
Communication between the ground and first floor levels of the building was by means of the circular stair in its NE angle. The small stair lobby features a low, asymmetrically disposed, splayed ope on its E side, above which is a small wall-cupboard. A three-quarter turn ascent, lit by two loops with splayed ingoings, led to the first floor level. The main chamber here was lit by splayed loops in the N, S and W walls which were set in rectangular embrasures with segmented rear vaults, of which only that at N now survives. Wall-cupboards occur at the N and S ends of the W wall, and the remains of what appears to have been a set-back fireplace occur at the E end of the S wall. A small chamber at E, separated from the main chamber by the now collapsed cross-wall, was lit by a loop with splayed ingoings in the E wall; the murder-hole was served from the N end of this chamber.
No section of the castle is preserved above the upper level of the first floor, but the continuing ascent of the stair in the NE angle, combined with the presence of corbels above the level of the first floor window embrasures, suggest the former existence of a second storey. A jews' harp, found in an interstice in the E wall, is now in KCM (1992:32).
The above description is derived from A. O'Sullivan and J. Sheehan (compilers), 'The Iveragh peninsula: an archaeological survey of South Kerry'. Cork University Press (1996), no. 1102. In certain instances the entries have been revised and updated in the light of recent research. Date of upload: 31 July 2013 Zone Code: R101146 ITM Easting: 454895 ITM Northing: 558930 SHAPE: Point Att.: 1 Class: Castle - tower house SMR No.: KE106-078---- Townland: BALLYCARNAHAN Point: X: 454895.0 Y: 558930.0 Spatial Reference: 2157