Towns & Villages

Towns & Villages › Ballintubber


Ballintubber became the principal seat of the O’Connors after the Anglo-Norman invasion at the end of the 12th century. It is first mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters in 1311 and in 1315 when the leader of the rebellious sect of the seized the castle.

Ballintubber Castle is the only surviving early medieval castle of an Irish ruler.

It is nearly square in plan with immense polygonal towers at the corners. The whole castle was surrounded by a water-filled moat.

From 1315 to 1500 the castle was besieged and burnt a number of times. All the towers had residential apartments in the upper storeys. They are linked by a high and massive wall which enclosed the spacious courtyard, 170 ft. By 237 ft.

In 1627 the north-eastern tower was partially rebuilt, as an inscription on a fireplace on the second floor shows. The castle was held by the O’Connor Don until 1652 when it was taken by the Cromwellians.

The next O’Connor Don, who was Hugh, never officially retrieved the castle under Charles ² but his son, another Hugh, had castle and lands restored to him in 1677. After a lengthy wrangle to hold onto the castle, Alexander O’Connor of Clonalis took possession of the castle and collected the rents. The Government was alerted and O’Connor was forcibly ejected.

In 1789 the castle and lands were sold to Maurice Mahon of Strokestown, later the first Baron Hartland.

The castle is now a national Monument.