The Barrow. Our River Your Journey

Ballymoon Castle 1












A: Ballymoon
Bagenalstown
Co Carlow

Discovery Map 61: S 740 615.

Longitude: 6° 54' 18.85" W

Latitude: 52° 41' 58.71" N


Opening Hours:

Daily, daylight hours

Free admission

Ballymoon Castle

Ballymoon Castle is a national monument, situated 3km from the town of Bagenalstown. Starting with the walk up from the road across a small footbridge, you will be full of anticipation and the castle will not disappoint. The square outer wall, 8 feet thick and now only 20 feet high, completely encloses a courtyard. The walls are believed to have once supported crenelations and wall-walks, but these have not survived. Square towers project from three sides while the fourth side contains a gatehouse with a pointed arch and a groove for the portcullis and which may have had a barbican in front. The inside of the castle is now bare but the walls show where the doors and fireplaces were positioned. A number of cross shaped gun loops and arrow slits can be seen in the castle walls.

Ballymoon Castle

Ballymoon Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is most unique is that built into the outer wall is evidence of a continuous, 2 and 3 storey, range of rooms. These rooms contain multiple fireplaces, doors and garderobes (toilets), suggesting they were built for comfort, even with the abundant cross-shaped arrow loops built for defense. But the courtyard-facing walls of those rooms were either destroyed or, some argue, left unfinished. Although there is no recorded history for this castle, it is possible that it was built around 1300 by the Bigod Family or by the Anglo-Norman Carew family who acquired the lands from the Bigod family. At that time the Normans had little control of this area, and the castle may have been built to defend the Barrow Valley from Irish raids.

The large double fireplace on the north side was part of the great hall. There are no traces of the interior structure of the castle apart from the foundations, and this has led to speculation that the castle was never completed. The wall on the western side has an arched gateway.

Visitors can explore the castle walls at ground level.