Carrigafoyle sits on the estuary to the river Shannon

It had been raining from first light and while it had eased to a drizzle it was not long before we rounded the corner that the mist lifted, and the weather cleared, giving us an amazing first view…

The stronghold of Connor O’Connor was built in the late 15th century. I don’t know who first said it was our castle, or whether it was just because it had the O’Connor name, but our family have been visiting it for years and now I know a heap about castles, I know it was a damn fine castle in its day. It has been said recently it’s not our family castle at all, but it was for me today!

If the attackers hadn’t had cannons to throw at Carrigafoyle it would’ve been ok, and even with that breach it is in pretty good condition. The wooden parts of course have been replaced but a lot of the stone work is original which is amazing. It is five stories high, and apart from what was probably the great hall and the main sleeping area above it, there are lots of side rooms off the spiral staircase all still in tact.

Some interesting facts for me learnt today was the spiral staircases always had what they called trip stairs. A few millimetres difference here and there meant it was harder to run up and down if you were attacking.

Something you can’t see in this photo is a hole in the floor to allow boiling oil or fat to be poured down onto heads of intruders. Nice!

The slit windows you probably know allowed the defenders to shoot arrows out, while it was extremely difficult to shoot anything in, but you might also see that while the windows allowed driving rain to come in, the sills sloped back to a small opening to allow the rain to run back down into a channel, so rain could be collected. Just like our spouting today.


You can see in this pic the two missing levels and probably pick out the fireplaces etc in the walls.

One would have been the vaulted ceiling of the ground floor creating a stone floor above. This first floor would be the great hall for banquets and would’ve had a wooden ceiling. This created a wooden floor above which would have most likely been used by the main family as a sleeping room. No beds usually just piles of rushes laid out about a foot deep for cushioning.

I knew you’d ask so here’s the toilets where the wees and pooh slid down the outside wall into a pile. The ammonia smell would have been blown back in and fiercely strong, it helped to fumigate the lice and other vermin from their clothes as they hung here overnight.

I’d say the whole place would have been eye wateringly smelly!
Are these the only pictures I have taken? Ahhhh no.

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