Just two miles from Ballylongford one comes to the
Carrigafoyle Castle, a tower house built in 1490 by Conor Liath O Connor Kerry.
It is in unusually good condition.
It is built of thin pieces of limestone, used almost as
bricks. There are some attractive windows. This is a very fine example of 15th
century building. The illustration in Pacata Hiberna shows the unique features
of this castle. The castle was strongly built and ingeniously situated.
A wide spiral staircase of 104 steps leads to the
battlements and in presentation and size it rivals Blarney Castle. It rises to
26.4 meters and gives an impression of great strength. The view from the tower
is extensive. In the forefront Carrig Island and Scattery Island can be seen
across the broad estuary of the Shannon.
Carrigafoyle Castle was the main stronghold of the O Connor
Kerry, the principal chieftain of this barony named after him. For 400 years
they were an important part of the ever changing political and military jigsaw
of those times. From here O Connor Kerry was able to intercept ships going up
the Shannon to Limerick, board them and take a part of their cargo. This
practice continued until the middle of the 16th century.
In the Desmond wars,in 1580, the castle came under fire
from naval artillery on land and sea, under the command of Sir William
Pelham.Following a two day siege the castle was breached and taken on Palm
Sunday 1580.All the occupants, comprising nineteen Spanish and fifty Irish were
Opposite the castle is the medieval Church of Carrigafoyle
which is in the same style as the castle. Carrigafoyle Castle is one of our
finest national monuments.