Liscarroll Castle


 liscarrol castle

Lios Cearuill - Carroll's Fort. The village of Liscarroll lies ten miles to the north-west of Mallow.

If all the castles in Ireland attributed to King John were really built by that monarch, there would be more of them than there are beds in England which were supposed to have been slept in by Queen Elizabeth II. Liscarroll is one such attribution although it is likely to date from considerably after his time. It was probably constructed by one of the Norman De Barrys who established themselves at nearby Buttevant. They descended from Philip De Barry, whose grant was confirmed to his son William by King John in 1206. William's grandson, David, was the builder in Buttevant and at Ballybeg, and it was likely to have been David's immediate descendants who built Liscarroll.

Liscarroll consists of enormous curtain wails in the form of a rectangle which is over 200ft. north-south, and about 140ft. east-north. The walls are parapeted the entire way around, although the castellation which undoubtedly defended them has gone. It has six towers - a round one of about 9ft. internal diameter at each corner, and one at the middle part of each short wall, north and south. That at the north is square, and with a rectangular space which became known locally as "The Hangman's Hole". That at the south is the largest and most important, and contained the entry gate, with an entry passage of 8.5 ft. in width surmounted by a splendid arch, with heavy doors and portcullis and "murdering holes". There are other chambers above it, and at one time other buildings existed immediately inside this gate, and to both sides of it; but these have now gone. They are thought to have been added by the Percevals in the 17th century.

The whole structure is built on an enormous limestone rock, is irregular in shape and its curtain walls have a batter of up to two feet. The round towers contained circular stairs to the battlements in each case and these are in variable condition: that at the south-west is said to have been the "bower" or ladies chamber. All of these four towers had upper chambers, and were of three storeys. Those at the north-west and north-east corners are shells only but as such in good condition. That on the south-east corner is in poor shape. The south-west castle could, with a little climbing, be ascended, and from there it was relatively easy to get to the parapet and walk along it, although it was not to be recommended for anyone with a fear of heights or unsteady on the feet, as there is an open fall on either side. It was also possible, but considerably more dangerous, to climb from the parapet to the north-west tower and from there to the castle in the north wall. It is not possible to gain entry to the south tower

The tower stands to about 60ft., is 23ft. in width and would appear to be at least 40ft. in depth. The portcullis was set inward about two and a half feet from the exterior and there was a drawbridge between it and the gates over which were the two “murdering holes”. There are two storeys over the entry to this tower, some parts of which may be of later construction. The opening made in the west wall, not far from the north end, by the guns of Sir Hardress Wailer in 1650 is still there although other parts were repaired in 1936, and it was possible to gain entry in this way. The repairs took place when the building became a national monument, under the guardianship of the Commissioners of Public Works, in the person of Harold S Leask, whose interest in castles was well known and widely informed.

N.B. Please note that there is no public access to the castle.