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In 1417 Sir John Talbot, Viceroy of Ireland, built a castle over the River Barrow at Athy. It was one of many such fortifications built to protect both the bridge over the River Barrow but also the inhabitants of the Pale from invading Gaelic tribes.
Built into the wall on either side of the original entrance doorway are two sculptured slabs. The Fitzgerald’s were one of the most powerful houses in Ireland and ruled as the Earls of Kildare and Dukes of Leinster. They were landlords in Athy Town and owned both Woodstock Castle and Whites Castle. On the right of the former doorway is the Earl of Kildare’s coat of arms. On the left the slab bears the date 1573 and the name of Richard Cossen, Sovereign of Athy. It is believed to have been taken from a mill which once stood on the site of the present Castle Inn.
Nearby is Crom-a-boo bridge, from which you can look across the River Barrow to Woodstock Castle. “Crom-a-boo” was the war cry of the Geraldine family, and the inscribed stone in the bridge shows that it was built in 1796 by “Sir James Delahunty, Knight of the Trowel”.
In its time White’s Castle has been a garrison for troops, a prison, a constabulary barracks and recently a private residence. It may have originally been named after James “White” Earl of Desmond and Lieutenant of the English King who slew many of the O’ More Irish at Athy in 1420.
In 1791 the marriage of the River Barrow with the Barrow Line of the Grand Canal was completed and occurs near here.