Castles in Cavan – A Journey Through Time

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Castles in Cavan (1)

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Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Ireland’s history as we traverse the lush landscapes of County Cavan, where stone fortifications, grand houses, and castle ruins stand as silent testaments to a time of battles, nobility, and cultural evolution. From towering medieval strongholds to grand manor houses, the castles of Cavan offer an intimate glimpse into Ireland’s vibrant past.

This journey transcends mere sightseeing, inviting you to step back in time, walk in the shoes of ancient clans and explore the corners of Cavan that history books seldom capture. To extend your travels outside of Cavan, check out guide to Irish castles.

County Cavan’s Castles

NameLocationBuiltStyleCondition
Cloughoughter CastleLough Oughter13th CenturyNormanRuin
Cabra CastleKingscourt19th CenturyVictorianExcellent, used as a hotel
Ballieborough CastleBallieborough17th CenturyPlantation castleNo longer exists
Castle SaundersonBelturbet1840NeoclassicalPartially restored, part of a Scouting Centre

Old Ruins of Castles in Cavan

The old ruins of castles in Cavan stand as resilient echoes of a vibrant past, holding tales of power, conquest, and heritage. There are lots of castle destroyed in Cavan, whether from fire, war or neglect, often where you have a fort you would have expected a castle stood there at one stage.

The remains of Ballymagauran Castle, locally known as Lissanover Castle, whisper tales of its original constructor, Feidhelm (Felim) Magauran, and its destruction under Cromwell’s siege. Moneygashel Ring Fort, with its circular stone wall, offers a peek into the defensive strategies of the past.

Muff Castle’s ruins speak of its founder, Garrett Fleming, while the rubble of Tullymongen Castle carries memories of the influential O’Reilly family and were anciently called castle hill.

Previous Castles Now Just RuinsPlace
Ballymagauran CastleTullyhaw
Castle HamiltonTullyhunco
Brogan’s CastleLoughtee
Crover castleClanmahon
Derryragh fortTullyhaw
Drumlane Church Round TowerLower Loughtee
Muff CastleClankee

The Castles in County Cavan

Bailieborough Castle

Bailieborough Castle, also known as Castle House, is located in the town of Bailieborough in County Cavan, Ireland. This Palladian-style country house was built in the 19th century as the residence of the Bailie family, who were granted the lands surrounding Bailieborough in the 17th century as part of the Plantation of Ulster.

Bailieborough Castle was designed by architect William Halfpenny and is noted for its unique architecture. It was constructed with a large central block and two detached wings on either side. The central block featured a columned portico entrance, which was unusual in Irish Palladian architecture and thus distinguished Bailieborough Castle.

Despite the loss of the main building, the surrounding grounds of Bailieborough Castle are a testament to its historical and architectural importance. The Bailieborough Castle estate is now a public park, featuring the Bailieborough Demesne, a lush, 16-acre park with woodlands, walking paths, and a small lake. The Demesne is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, offering an escape into nature and a glimpse into the area’s rich history.

Cloughoughter Castle

Cloughoughter Castle, a striking Irish relic, is located in County Cavan, Ireland, on a small island in Lough Oughter. This circular tower castle, dating back to the 13th century, is an impressive example of Irish lake castle architecture.

The castle was initially built by William Gorm de Lacy, son of a Norman knight, as a strategic defense fort. Its location on an island in the lake made it a formidable stronghold, nearly impervious to traditional siege methods.

In the 14th and early 15th centuries, the castle served as a prison for the Irish chieftain Philip O’Reilly. Notable for its stark and robust construction, the castle was composed of three stories with walls up to 15 feet thick.

Throughout the years, the castle underwent multiple sieges and changes in ownership before being abandoned in the 17th century after the Williamite wars. Today, the ruin stands as a testament to the area’s turbulent past.

One of the fascinating aspects of Cloughoughter Castle is its natural surroundings. The island on which it stands is part of the Killykeen Forest Park, a place of outstanding natural beauty, and the waters of Lough Oughter are a designated Special Area of Conservation.

Castle Saunderson

Situated near Belturbet in County Cavan, Ireland, Castle Saunderson is a historic estate that holds significant relevance in the region’s past. Once the family seat of the Saunderson family, the castle today stands in ruins. The Finn River borders the northeastern edge of the Castle Saunderson Demesne, linking it to the broader waters of Upper Lough Erne.

The Castle Saunderson International Scouting Centre, inaugurated in 2012, occupies the castle’s grounds, extending across 34 acres. This center serves as a hub for Scouts and non-Scouts alike throughout the year and is recognized as a World Scouting Centre.

The Saunderson family initially acquired the castle during the Plantation of Ulster, and it was formerly known as Breffni Castle. The existing castle, dating back to 1840, suffered a fire in 1990. Colonel Edward James Saunderson, a founder of the Ulster Unionist Party and a notable family member, was born there.

The last Saunderson owner, Captain Alexander “Sandy” Saunderson, sold the property in 1977. Subsequently, the castle was purchased by Scouting Ireland in 1997. It served as a hotel at one point and suffered three fires.

The Castle Saunderson Demesne, currently spanning 103 acres, includes a church with a crypt and a family graveyard. The estate uniquely has entrances both in Northern Ireland’s County Fermanagh and the Republic of Ireland’s County Cavan.

Cabra Castle

Cabra Castle Hotel Credit Wikipedia

Situated in Kingscourt, County Cavan, Ireland, Cabra Castle is a luxurious and majestic 19th-century castle that embodies romance, grandeur, and charm. This historic gem, built in the Norman-style, is nestled in 100 acres of beautifully manicured gardens and parklands.

Cabra Castle dates back to 1808 and holds a rich history, having been home to the Pratt family for over 140 years. Today, it operates as a prestigious 4-star hotel, offering a blend of old-world elegance and modern comfort to its visitors.

The castle boasts 105 exquisitely designed rooms, each featuring unique, antique furnishings that reflect its illustrious past. Visitors can stay in the castle itself or in the converted courtyard rooms, with each providing a distinct experience.

Moreover, the castle’s location in Ireland’s Ancient East allows guests easy access to a wealth of local attractions, including historical sites, golf courses, and beautiful countryside walks.

Cabra Castle hotel is well regarded as a fabulous Irish Castle Weddings Venue. Its quite close to Darver Castle, part of Louth’s Castle stock, another great wedding venue.

FAQS on Castles & Ruins in Cavan

What is the significance of the round tower in Cavan’s ancient castles?

The round tower, often found in Cavan’s old castles like the Old Round Tower Castle, served a significant purpose. They were typically used as a place of refuge during times of attack and as a bell tower or storage for valuables. They were often built on a castle hill fort. Many ruins hill fort are originall ruins castle long lost. You can see ruin round tower house throughout Cavan.

Can you tell me more about the history of the Cloughoughter Castle?

Cloughoughter Castle, perched on a small island in Lough Oughter, is one of Cavan’s most prominent old ruins. It is a circular tower house with a round headed door that stands as a testament to the county’s medieval history. Its strong structure and flanking towers indicate that it was built for defense.

Cormey Castle or Cormee castle, a superb baronial castellated mansion, is now called Cabra and offers magnificent reception rooms along with a warm and friendly service. Belturbet Castle stoon on turbet island castle.

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