Barryscourt Castle, County Cork is perhaps the best restored castle in Ireland. Situated 10 miles east of Cork City at Carraigtwohill,  the towerhouse has been renovated to what it looked like in the late 16th century. Below are a series of pictures from the castle.


East Cork was conquerored by the De Barry family in the years after the Norman conquest of 1169 . Nothing remains on the site of the earliest castle built around 1200. The tower house that stands at Barryscourt today dates from around 1550. Despite being intentionally damaged by David Barry in the 16th century during the supression of Desmond revolt in 1579 the castle was rebuilt in the following decades when Barry was pardoned.  The castle is surrounded by a bawn and the structure itself built around a central tower with protruding  taller towers. The central tower contains three large halls while the ancillary towers contain rooms such as kitchens, bedrooms and garderobes. The castle is open during the summer. The renovation work is outstanding and better still its free to visit.

Barryscourt castle.

The Door (note the gun loops at each side of and above the door)

Inside the door there is a staircase to the left. The first few steps are not used today. The builders included a double step (the 6th one up). This double sized step was incorporated to make it difficult for an attacker to run up the stairs. Without knowing it was there they were almost certain to trip.

The ground floors is now an exibition space

The second floor was the main hall. Today it contains great reconstuctions of early modern household items

The kitchen is located in the northern ancillary tower on the first floor

The kitchen fireplace.

This floor also contains a large garderobe in the Southern ancilliary tower. This garderobe (toilet) with room for two users is a good illustration of how much the concept of privacy has changed.

On entering the second floor the room is partially hidden from view by two wooden screens. This second floor was the private rooms of the Barry’s where they could entertain guests. The floor below would have functioned as a court or where business was conducted.

The renovation of this room is exceptional

The room is centred around this imposing fireplace

The roof was reconstructed true to 16th century building practices using no nails.

The table set with pewter.

The third floor facing south.

The restored bedroom (of which there were several) lies at the highest point of the castle up this narrow stone staircase.

The room itself is bright although slightly cramped.

The en suite!

During the restoration the parapets were in need of work. You can make out the recently added stone due to its lighter colour. This due to its limited weathering  – it was taken from the same source as the original stone.

0 comments on “Barryscourt Castle, Co Cork.

  1. fp on

    It would be nice to acknowledge the Office of Public Works which carried out the works and manage the site.

  2. Diarmuid O Keeffe on

    Don’t think that they are gun loops in your picture of the front door. Could be wrong but they look like chain holes for a yett – an iron grid that was pulled in front of the door for security.