Sunday, April 30, 2017

Rocking up to the Rock of Dunamase.

Until yesterday, I had never heard of the Rock of Dunamase. It is a stunning, ruined castle perched on a high outcrop in Co. Laois, which I came across while driving home from Kerry.


From the signs at the entrance, there was a 9th century dĂșn (fort) on the site and the castle was built in the late 12th century.


It came under the possession of the Anglo-Normans when Aoife, daughter of Dermot MacMurrough, was married to Strongbow.


It was a major military and administrative stronghold for at least two hundred years, but was destroyed possibly by the O'Mores and then in Cromwellian times.



There are the ruins of two barbicans, gates, a gatehouse, inner and outer walls and a curtain wall, among other structures and large pieces of masonry.




There is a massive two storey rectangular hall on the top of the hill, which was partially restored in the 18th century.


Otherwise it has barely been restored or even preserved since it was deliberately destroyed centuries ago and then fell into decay. I quite like that locals and people who know it well don't seem to want it to be restored or changed, but enjoy it in its wild, ruined state.

It gives quite spectacular views for miles over the surrounding countryside.



We happened upon the Rock of Dunamase, following our intuition more than the minimal signage from the M7 motorway. It's a beautiful and intriguing place, well worth a visit.

Discover Ireland website for Rock of Dunamase.

Megalithic Ireland page on Dunamase.

Irish Archaeology page on Dunamase.


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