We have a number of Castles in Castlegar, County Galway, Ireland.

These Castles are located at;

  1. Castlegar Village Castle
  2. Ballybrit Castle
  3. Ballindooley Castle - Burke / De Burgo -15th Century. Later, Lord Clanmorris.
  4. Killeen Castle - Robert Blake - (aka Kellyn)
  5. Cloonacauneen Castle
  6. Menlo Castle
  7. Merlin Park Castle
  8. Terryland Castle (Tyrellan, Thír Oileáin ).
  9. Carrowbrowne - Hardly even recognisable as such. Private property. 53.317268° , -9.025531° .
  10. Roscam - Round Tower at 53.264610 , -8.984765 and elevation of 32 feet.
  11. Kiltullagh Castle

*Clanricarde = Family of Richard - Burke - De Burgo - de Burgh.

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Without exception, they are built with Limestone; a native and sedimentary rock (formed in sequential layers of dust and sand, and compressed - usually from the weight of water and other layers above it).

Relatively easy to cut and form, and long-lasting relative to our life spans, limestone was and still is easily sourced; and also the primary reason that we still have a number of limestone quarries today.

To cut a large corner-stone could take a week, and another week perhaps, to roll, drag or carry it to the site. To raise it to heights of many stories, was another "days work".

The binding agent we know of today as cement, was typically lime-based and mixed with the gravel and sand of the area.

Emphasis was on sound and historical structural design, rather than adhesives. A corner-stone or keystones for arches, were cut to carry weight by their depth. Today, such stones could be and often are, relieved for clearance- allowing faster assembly times but requiring better bonding agent as well as structural steel compliments.Gravity along with joint-breaking techniques and foundations built on known solid areas, ensured that our great Castles can even be seen today.

Marry cheap and forced labour if you will, ample supply of physical resources to great crafts persons, and homes of stone can be built. We mustn't forget another resource; wood - used for bracing, ramps, furnishings and ceilings, etc..

Some survived battles with the English establishment; while others were damaged by tribal fueds - a more local aggressor.

Natural or accidental fire, as well as deliberate arson, could change the future of a Castle; as well as its occupants.

Chimney were wide in width and narrow in breath, often tapering as they ascended.

Toilets or the "commodes of the Castles", could be holes to the ground floor, and without flushing facilities. Servants would tend to this matter, thereafter!

Castle stairs were usually spiral or helical in nature, physically keyed into partition and external walls, easier to climb and descend on their outer-most side, and dangerous on their narrow side. Local ales and poor lighting, brought their own injuries.

Heating, was almost always solid fuel in fireplaces; cooling wasn't necessary in our temperate climate. The depth or thickness of the walls provided structural strength, rather than any significant insulation value.

Likewise from any damp-proofing, though a good stone mason would try to slant a stone downwards and outwards offering a minor chance for rain to favour the outside of a structure. This is more true for smaller dwellings.

Castles were usually built in strategic geographical positions; usually with a view towards aggressors (if not in all directions), or in commercially strategic positions (primary route at the time, confluence of rivers, etc.).

"Power belongs to those that hold it - and those that seize it" . While this even applies today, it certainly had a place back then. Castles could change hands, pretty quickly, depending on what the notion of civilisation held at the time.


Above; Photograph of Killeen Castle (E.S.B. power line and all):

The original castlegar castle