In book 3 of my Twins’ Trilogy, entitled Lady Chandler’s Sister, the ruins of an Irish castle play out in the book’s conclusion. Therefore, I spent time looking for the right image before I wrote those final scenes. As with all these little details required to write an historical piece, some plans work. Others do not. This was a do not. Instead of an actual castle we could still see images of with a Google search, I settled on one that no longer existed, for, in that manner, I could imagine it as I wished.
In my mind’s eye, before I began writing the scene, Barnaderg Castle (Irish: Bearna Dhearg, meaning “red gap”) in County Galway (near Tuam) was the perfect image. Five stories high, the castle could supply distance to see one’s enemies approach, but also the element of danger because of its condition. Built by Malachy O’Kelly, Barnaderg Castle was a 16th Century stronghold of the O’Kelly clan. The castle is claimed to have been one of the last castles built in Ireland. Most experts believe it once had a draw bridge, for the area surrounding the castle is saturated throughout much of the year. (Historic Sites of Ireland)
Another possible choice was Carrigogunnell, again because of its location and the condition. A medieval Irish fortification, it is attributed to the to the Irish Gaelic tribe of the Dalcassians, “generally accepted by contemporary scholarship as being a branch of the Déisi Muman, that became a powerful group in Ireland during the 10th century. Their genealogies claimed descent from Cormac Cas, who is said to have lived in the 3rd century AD. Their known ancestors are the subject of The Expulsion of the Déisi tale and one branch of their blood-line went on to rule the petty kingdom of Dyfed in Wales during the 4th century; probably in alliance with Roman emperor, Magnus Maximus.” (Dalcassians)
Carrigogunnell Castle is located near the village of Clarina in County Limerick, on the banks of the River Shannon. The structure dates to at least the early 13th century, and was slighted [Slighting is the deliberate destruction, partial or complete, of a fortification without opposition, to render it unusable as a fortress.] in September 1691 after being captured during the second siege of Limerick. Unfortunately, Clarina was not in the part of Limerick I required for my tale. Close, but not close enough. Moreover, by the time I had spent hours research land routes to both Barnaderg and Carrigogunnell, I decided the time required would not fit the story.
Finally, I decided on a castle that no longer stood, one closer to the city of Limerick. The roads in this part of Ireland at the time were horrendous; therefore, I chose a route from Dublin to Limerick, one supposed more passable that those in other parts of southwest Ireland at the time. Castleconnell is situated on the River Shannon some 11 km (6.8 miles) from Limerick City, near the counties Clare and Tipperary. The actual Castle of Connell was built on a rock outcrop, overlooking the bend of the river. It was the seat of the chief of Hy-Cuilean, a territory south-east of Abbeyfeale, in the barony of Upper Connello near the borders of Cork and Kerry. The castle then came into the possession of the O’Briens of Thomond. The castle was blown up by General Godert de Ginkel during the War of the Two Kings (also called the Williamite War in Ireland or the Jacobite War in Ireland). Ginkel was fighting in support of the Army of William of Orange. A large portion of the castle wall lies some 50 feet from the castle, thrown across the road by siege cannons.
There you have it. I settled for my imagination, rather than an actual place.
Arriving March 25, 2019
Lady Chandler’s Sister: Book 3 of the Twins’ Trilogy