Irish Castles in Ruins: Research for My Next Release, “Lady Chandler’s Sister”

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. 

Castles_of_Connacht_-_Barnaderg,_Galway_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1953295

Permission details Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0 ~ Castles of Connacht: Barnaderg, Galway, near to Barnaderg and Castlemoyle, Ireland. A five storey O’Kelly tower house dating from the late C16. ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnaderg#/media/File:Castles_of_Connacht_-_Barnaderg,_Galway_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1953295.jpg

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)

Carrigogunnell

Carrigogunnell Castle is situated 3 km north of Clarina Village, Limerick, Ireland. It was built circa 1450 and was destroyed by gunpowder in 1691. Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0 ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrigogunnell#/media/File:Carrigogunnell.jpg

 

Digital_Eye–2015–Carrigogunnell_Castle,_Co._Limerick

CC BY-SA 4.0 File:Digital Eye–2015–Carrigogunnell Castle, Co. Limerick.jpg Created: 30 September 2015 ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrigogunnell#/media/File:Digital_Eye%E2%80%932015%E2%80%93Carrigogunnell_Castle,_Co._Limerick.jpg

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.

castle connell

Engraved for Ferrar’s History of Limerick 1780, North View of Castle Connell ~ http://www.limerickcity.ie/Library/LocalStudies/BooksJournals/FerrarsHistoryofLimerick/ Castleconnells name in Irish is Caislean Ui gConnaing, which means Gunnings castle. This was because the Dal Cais Gunning family built the riverside castle over a thousand years ago, the name was then anglicised to Castleconnell by which the village and parish are still known as today. For more information log onto: http://www.castleconnell.ie (or) http://visitballyhoura.com/index.php/2012/04/16/castleconnell/

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. 

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Arriving March 25, 2019 

Lady Chandler’s Sister: Book 3 of the Twins’ Trilogy

LCS eBook Cover-01

 

About reginajeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and contemporary novels.
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4 Responses to Irish Castles in Ruins: Research for My Next Release, “Lady Chandler’s Sister”

  1. BeckyC says:

    I think I would fall into a research hole and never make it back to the writing. (Good thing I am the reader) Love these pics. I am always amazed at these castles that used to be. What stories they could tell. So excited for book 3. Love this series. Congratulations!!

    • I do not often fall into a black hole of research, but it is not uncommon for me to search for hours upon hours for some obscure fact that turns the story on its ear.

  2. Fascinating post! All sites that would be well worth visiting! Reminds me of two wonderful cabin-cruiser holidays on the Shannon in 1974 and 1978 – highly recommended!

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