There is nothing dainty about this square Norman castle. Throughout the centuries, it was meant to keep agressors out and so it did: by its surrounding moat (now no longer in existence), by its drawbridge, by the heavy wrought iron drop gate, by the impenetrable slit window opening meant to hold a shooting bow and arrow or, later, firearms, by the murder-hole over the main door, battlements and many other daunting features.

Inside, it was meant to house and feed whole families in times of need and war – of which there were many since the original castle was built in 1251 (today’s stone structure is the fourth, dating back to the middle of the 15th century). It is said to have housed up to 1000 villagers.

Fast forward to the 20th century, when Viscount Gort bought the castle in ruins in 1956. In its present restored state, it has been opened to the public since 1960. Thanks to donations from the Gort Collection, the main rooms have been decorated with antiques, tapestries and works of art arranged in the style it would have been around 1600.

Note: A big thank you goes to Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland for making this trip possible. All views expressed above are mine, and mine only.

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