Castles at or near Glanworth

GLANWOKTH PARISH. 139 Miss Green of Air Hill tells me that a village hall, 20 feet and 50 feet, was erected in 1913. * + Castles at or near Glanwor...
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Miss Green of Air Hill tells me that a village hall, 20 feet and 50 feet, was erected in 1913. * +

Castles at or near Glanworth. GLANWORTH CASTLE.

T h e Flemings built a castle at Glanworth on the site of the chief fort of the Hi Caimh, named Dun Maelclaigh. (The Notes ii. 188, Canon J. F . Lynch.) In a re-grant from King James I. to David Lord Roche, Viscount Fermoy, of all his property, for the purpose of securing a Government title, the following is mentioned : — " T h e manor, castle and town and lands of Glannor, containing 9J plowlands and 10 acres of demesne." (See these Notes, ii. 164.) In the Rev. Urban Vigor's account of the Rebellion of 1641-2 he mentions : — " The Lord Roche's Castle of Glannor is a strong place, yet I heare but a weak ward in it, &c." (Journal for 1896, p. 305.) Smith (pub. 1750) states that at Glanworth are " t h e magnificent ruins of a sumptuous castle, built by the Flemings, and afterwards possessed by the Lords Roche, which consisted of several buildings and a large high tower, all strongly erected on arched' vaults, and built of very massy stones. This castle is environed with a strong wall, flanked with turrets; near it is a stone bridge over the Funcheon" (i. 317). Lewis (pub. 1837) gives : — " O n a rocky eminence on the western side of the Funcheon are the extensive and interesting ruins of Glanworth Castle, an ancient seat of the Roche family, and occupied in 1601 by Lord Fermoy, by whose descendant it was forfeited in 1641. They consist of an ancient square tower of considerable strength, supposed to be the keep, and the remains of another building of more recent date and superior construction, apparently containing the state apartments; they are within a quadrilateral area, enclosed by strong walls, nearly six feet in thickness, and defended at each angle by a round tower'' (i. 655, under Glanworth). Windele wrote in 1847 on this c a s t l e : — " T h e castle, in describing which Smith uses the words 'magnificent' and 'sumptuous,' stands in bold decay and relief on a steep and precipitous rock on the western bank of the Funcheon; from its site it must have been a place of great strength. It consists of a considerable area, forming an irregular square, enclosed within ramparts once rejoicing in their strength, but now shattered and crumbling in decay; three of the angles are defended by round towers, containing an arched chamber, lit by narrow slits or shot holes; these arches are at present greatly fallen in. The north-west angle of the enclosure was defended by a square tower. Within the area are two distinct dungeons or keeps, different in their masonry and structure. One stands in the middle; it is a square, built yrin limestone (like all the rest of the buildings), but the stones rudely jointed and strangely intermixed with a small rubbly stone of the same kind, ere is nearly a total absence of windows, and the few openings remaining "Mnce that all ornament was repudiated; one of them is a plain lintel-headed Perforation. W h a t the distinction of this structure was I know not. *



W h a t I would call the keep proper is a ruinous pile of superior workmanship, but greatly delapidated and fallen in hugh masses, which lie scattered about, covered with g r a s s and briars. I t occupied a large part of the breadth of the northern portion of the area, and seems to have consisted of one oblong building, from which projected to the north a slender tower, containing small chambers and offices. (Journal for 1897, p. 169.) In the History of Clidhna, Queen of the Fairies in South Munster, it is stated that " s h e resided in her father's palace, which was situated in a place now called Glanworth, and on the spot where a castle was erected many centuries after by the Roches (? Flemings) over the clear Funcheon, with its pure and healthy springs. The water there is of the purest quality, particularly a copious spring in the cliff under the palace which was erected in the time of the Druid, who was induced to build it near the spring for its very salubrious quality; it is even now admired and much frequented." (Journal for 1897, p. 88.) In an article on the " F u n c h e o n " in the Dublin University Magazine for February, 1847, is the following account of Glanworth C a s t l e : — 4 ' The castle of Glanworth was built by a chieftain named Fleming, to whom, on the invasion by the English, the territory of Fermoy was assigned. In the year 1200 Sir William Fleming was the inheritor, whose daughter, the beauteous Amy, was an only child. She was, of course, an idol with her father; and in contemplating the now crumbling ruin, fancy requires only the prompting of history to call forth from the tomb of oblivion the proud scenes of pomp and pageantry which the castle of the Golden Glen was wont to exhibit when Amy was its mistress and Sir William its lord; when gay silken banners floated from each of these flanking towers, and the pennons of many a knight fluttered in the court-yard below; when steel cap and buckler glanced in the sunlight as the men-at-arms marched to and from ; while a numerous retinue of sylvan attendants invited the noble to g o forth with hawk and hound. W e can imagine the graceful girl riding by her martial sire, enjoying the sports of the field, and her upturned gaze as her favourite merlin struck the quarry, and then swiftly returned to her wrist and received her caress. In due time, or the chroniclers speak false, fair Amy had suitors, and they courted her in ardent guise, for the scene changes, and the castle gates no longer throng with the expected guests, and the halls no longer re-echo the harper's s o n g ; but the drawbridge is raised and well guarded, the walls are lined with yeomen in fighting array. The knights marshal their men-at-arms, and the esquires in full armour, and every moment the assault is expected. A powerful baron of the district, Sir William Condon, enamoured of the heiress of Fleming, had received a most positive refusal to his proposal of marriage, and, enraged at the obstinacy, as he termed it, of the lady, joined the other chieftains, O'Keefe and O'Cosgra, and besieged the castle of Glanworth, resolved to win by force what was denied by love. In this extremity, Sir William had despatched a trusty messenger, and summoned to his aid Sir Richard De la Roche, whose trusty band of knights he expected would suffice to disperse the numerous but undisciplined forces of his foes. " 'Let but De la Roche free my lands from that rabble,' said Sir William, 'and the best reward which knighthood ever won is his.'




" ' W h a t reward do you propose to requite his services w i t h / asked Amy. " 'Nay, then, would you guess, my sweet bird.' '' The young maiden blushed, and declared she could not, and while thus parleying a loud shout arose from the lofty watch turret, which gathered strength as it descended, and then was caught up in the courtyard till the tumultous shouts seemed to rock the castle to its foundations. " ' H a ! here comes our foeman; heaven protect my child,' cried the father, clasping his daughter to his breast. " ' F e a r not for me, father; I shall pray for the coming of the brave knight you look for; and while I g o to the chapel do you appear on the walls, for these are our proper places while the foe is at the g a t e . ' So saying she lifted the arras, and opened the door leading to the castle chapel, while Sir William repaired to the ramparts. The sight which there awaited him was an anxious one. The sun shone in a gleam of gold, as a dense squadron of knights in complete armour stream down the hill from Fermoy. Pennons fluttered in the air, and a cloud of dust hid their numbers, but their steel-pointed spears flashed like a forest of fire, and the tread of their steeds was like the rumbling thunder. At the head of this band proudly careered Sir Richard De la Roche, and at his side an esquire bore his banner, with three Roaches naiant. Several of the knights who held command in the castle now thronged round their chieftain, and seemed confident of success, meanwhile the besiegers were busily awaiting the onset. The fierce Sir William Condon was seen driving furiously his coal black steed along the lines of his retainers, marshalling their battalions of foot and squadrons of horse, to impede the approach of the forces of De la Roche. The long lances of the knights now appeared in menacing posture, the riders gave their horses the spur, the brazen trumpets sounded a charge, 'De la Roche to the rescue" was shouted, and the besieging forces reeled at the shock as every lance found a victim. Then the squadrons of Condon advanced to the charge, and a severe struggle ensued; the superior bearing and discipline of D e la Roche's knights, however, prevailed over the undisciplined valour of those who oppose them; the besiegers' cavalry fled after a stubborn conflict, during which every eye in the castle was fixed °n the battle plain in an agony of suspense. The troops of De la Roche round little difficulty in dispersing the infantry of Condon and his associates. These were not able to withstand the repeated and well-sustained charges of the mailed riders, against whose armour and well-defended steeds their arrows and javelins fell powerless. D e la Roche himself, as though conscious he fought in the presence of one who was to lend life every charm, was to be seen wherever the battle raged. His sword forced a passage, through the thickest ranks, dealing death in every blow, until at ast his presence sufficed to make the enemy retire with precipitation. Uo ^ e beneath the castle wall De la Roche encountered Condon. Wile stain to chivalry,' cried De la Roche; 'take now thy deserts; e t no man interfere,' he exclaimed, 'while I give this plunderer his due.' Proud youth, you shall rue your words,' replied Condon; 'let me each this knave how to fly,' he said to his vassals, and at the words of their ^spective leaders both sides mutually refrained fighting, to watch the result "e combat. It was long and desperate; both knights were perfect asters of their weapons, and fought with the resolve of men who staked



life on the issue. Their horses fell dead under blows intended for the life's blood of the riders, and the riders fought on foot; their spears were cast aside, and they fought with swords until the blades were broken to the hilts. Devoid of weapons still they fought, striking each other with their gauntletted hands; then grapplinig each other in their arms, they strove to crush each other in fierce embrace. Condon, by placing his foot behind De la Roche, and taking advantage of the inequality of ground, flung him headlong a considerable distance, and a loud cheer burst from his men, while the hearts of the knights who thronged the walls sunk within their breasts. In falling De la Roche grasped at a weapon which lay beside a dead man-atarms. It was a cross-bow, with an arrow fitted to the string. He hastily turned the point towards Condon, whose armour was unloosed in their violent struggle, and discharged the weapon. It passed through his body, 9 and with a loud shriek, he fell to the ground a dead m a n . " 1 ' Need we recount the scene that ensued—the joy of the victors, the retreat of the vanquished. The festivities on the occasion of the wedding between the fair Amy Fleming and Sir Richard De la Roche, who, on the death of Sir William Fleming, succeeded to his barony of six thousand nine hundred* Irish acres, and the magnificent Castle of Glanworth" (p. 184). Two cannon balls of unequal size and a portion of another was found at the foot of the N . W . tower of the castle. One weighing 5^ lbs. is now (1914) in possession of Lieut.-Colonel J. S. Green at Air Hll. BALLYHINDON CASTLE.

Is situated on the right bank of the Funcheon, about 5^ miles S.E. of Glanworth village (by road), and stands boldly on an elevation above the river. This was a castle of the Roches. The 4th son of Lord Roche, in reign of Ed. IV. and Hen. VII., was Theobald of Ballyhindon and Clash. (These " N o t e s , " ii. 161, and ii. 164.) In Fiants of Eliz., 2243, David fitz Jas. Redmond Roch, of Ballihenden, gent., A.D. 1573, is mentioned, as well as " R o c h e s " in other Fiants of Eliz. In 1662 William Brooks lived here, and also in 1665. (Subsidy Rolls, P . R . O . , Irld.) In 1899 this castle was visited by Windele. At that time the greater part of the castle had fallen. The remains were about 40 feet in height, and well ivied. Near it was the remains of a strong house of the 17*" century. Windele was told it belonged to a person named Cooper, and was dismantled about 1809. This Cooper was killed by riding his horse when drunk down the castle hill towards the river. Windele also mentions some caves or crypts of Ballyhindon fort, which figured in the Dublin Penny Journal, and the plan is given by O'Flanagan in his Blackwater, page 101. -


This old castle is now in ruins, and lies about two miles by road N.N. W. of Glanworth village. It was one of the Roches' castles, and with the townland of the same name formed part of the property which Lord Rocne, 9

Also see Smith, I., 21.








Miss Bridget and Miss K a t e Gowing in foreground. {Photo by Col. Grove 11kite} xjik Aug..




{Photo by Col. Grove White,

• •



Qgth A/arch.





{Photo by Col. Grove White,

17th Aug.,


Lord Castletown. K . P . , in foreground.

BALLYDEROWN {Photo by Mrs. Geraldine


Colli son. ilth August,




Viscount Fermoy, surrendered to King James I. for tfie purpose of obtaining a re-grant, with a Government title (16 D e c , 9 James I., A.D. 161 I , p. 209, folio, Patent Rolls, P . R . O . , Irld.). Ballylegan Castle is shown in the map of the Down Survey, circa A.D. 1656-9 (P.R.O., Irld.). In the Decrees of Innocence granted after the Restoration of Chas. I I . , Harl. MSS., Roll 4, fol. 206, or Roll 5, fol. 245, we find mentioned Catherine Roche alias Donovan, widow of W m . Roche of Ballyanlegan and KHleennayanelle, in Par. of Glanor, &c. Windele writes, circa 1849:—"At Ballylegan is a very small round fort in a field near the road, which looks very like a follock." (Windele's MSS., 12 i. 4, p. 134, R.I.A.) In 1662 Maria Sicklemore lived here. In 1665-1667, Thomas Allen. (Subsidy Rolls, P . R . O . , Irld.) In the year 1907 I found in the next field to the west of the old castle a red stone glacial boulder, with curious lines cut on it. They are not in any sense like Ogham marks. They may have been caused' by ice action. Through the courtesy of Mr. J. Reynolds, of Ballylegan, this stone was sent to me, and is now at Kilbyrne. It measures 18 inches by 14 inches by 12 inches I have come across similar stones in South of Ireland. BALLYNAHOW CASTLE.

A castle of the Condons, situated about three miles by road from Glanworth village on the right bank of the Funcheon river. It probably guarded a ford where the bridge is now built. BALLYDEROWN CASTLE.

The ruins of this castle He about 2 miles S.S.W. of Kilworth village, on the road from Fermoy to Lismore, and is situated on the townland of Ballyderown, Parish of Kilcrumper. The townland is recorded in the Fiants of Eliz. as follows :— Ballenahowe alias Ballenderawyn, 1 plow, is included in a large grant (see Cloghleigh Castle) of i2,oooacres t o Thomas Fleetewood, Esq. (Fiant of Eliz. 5033). 3 Sept. xxix., A.D. 1587. Under Fiant 5567 (4543) it passed on 7 March, 1591, to Sir Rich. Greynevile, Knt. Fiant 6486 (5310). Pardon to W m . buoy nr'Gerrott Condon, of Ballychrraown, Patr. m T e i r s Condon, Jas. m'Peter Condon, of same. 28 March, xliii., A.D. 1601. In the article of " T h e Condons of Cloghleigh," by P . Raymond (Journal for 1896, p. 5 I 5 ) j j t i s stated that ''after the Conquest the surrounding lands gTanted to the D e *M& Cauntons (Condons), who were called " T h e Barons « Ballyderawne." The ruin is opposite Ballymacpatrick or Careysville. covers a large quantity of ground, and is overgrown with ivy. CAHIRDRINNY CASTLE.

*t Hes about 6 miles N . E . of Glanworth village by road.



I was informed locally in 1908 that the castle was on the Kingston property, and on Mrs. Ray's farm. Windele writes, circa 1852 :—"Somewhat more than midway up the hill to the castle we met with a great stone wall, which encircles the hill; it is of considerable thickness, and formed a part of the ancient defence of the Cathair crowning the summit platform. The space between the two walls, upper and lower, is about 400 paces. When I determined on visiting this hill I had not dreamt that there still remained on it any vestige of the ancient " c a h i r " which g a v e its name. Such a structure, I conceived, had long since disappeared, perhaps before either O'KeefFe or Roche (whichever it was) had changed the aspect of the place by the erection of the castle, whose ruin now formed such a remarkable land-mark to all the country around. W h a t then was my surprise and pleasure to find, on gaining the summit, that the veritable old " C a h i r " still retained its place in very considerable perfection, and that the chieftains of later ages, whether Melician or AngloNorman, had, in selecting this elevated and commanding site (the hill is 694 feet above the sea level in height), chosen in a military sense one of the finest situations in the country for their stronghold. The constructor of the Castle found nothing necessary for him to execute to increase the strength of the position. The wall of the Cathair enclosed an area which formed the bawn of this castle and formed the level summit of the hill. If there were any buildings on this area appurtenant to the Cathair, as no doubt there were, they were all removed and substituted by the castle and its lesser buildings. The Cathair or surrounding rampart consists of a great irregular circle formed of loose uncemented stones of an ordinary size. The exterior is in tolerable condition, but the interior face has much fallen in wherever it retains its perpendicularity. I examined it for those flights of steps or stairs found in the Kerry Cahirs, but observed no vestiges, nor of a projecting ledge or set off. The wall is 15 feet thick and 8 feet high. I could not ascertain where the original entrance was. N o doubt it must have been in some one of these dilapidated breaches which occur in several parts of the wall. The castle, which forms so conspicuous an object, stands not exactly in the centre of the enclosed area. The distance between it and the western side of the Cathair is 36 paces (100 feet). The N . E . angle of it now (in 1852) only stands. The interior had been doubly arched; the basement area measures 2$ ft. x 13J ft. ; the wall here is 7 ft. thick. The other walls, E., S., W . and part of N., have fallen in great masses, which now strew the ground about. The ruin was probably caused by the violence of storm and wind, which must rage on this exposed elevation with enormous force. From an ancient shepherd, w^ho tended a flock of sheep within this Cahir, I learned that this castle is called Caislean Cathair Cinntslea, i.e., the Castle of the Cahir of the mountain summit or head. That it was built by the O'Keeffes (Smith says the Roches), and in modern times inhabited by the Hydes of Castle Hyde, to whom the property still belongs. Sir Arthur Hyde, Smith says, lived in it, and was often attacked here by the Ins 1. He could not have chosen a more secure fastness, or one better torn vn between Castle and Cathair, and its great concentric enclosure lower