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O`Driscoll Castles



Dun na Sead  Castle of the pearls (Jewels)






Main seat of O`Driscoll Mór, original castle erected 1215,  this been a later fortified house, recently bought by Mr Patrick McCarthy and his wife Bernadette who have made a wonderful job of the restoration.

From an article in the Southern Star written by Jackie Keogh, dated 21st March 2001 I have found a list of previous owners, the article reads; inside

" The list of previous owners of Dun na Sead Castle from 1215 to today makes pretty interesting reading. The first recorded building on the site was owned by Lord Sleynie, a Norman. Ninety years later, in 1305, it came into the possession of Donal Got McCarthy.

From the historical records and title documents, it was established that the O`Driscoll clan acquired the property in 1413. And in 1537, Fineen O`Driscoll was named as owner of the castle.dun na sead

Fineen ODriscoll`s name appears again in 1576, this time it is as "Sir" Fineen O`Driscoll. Don Juan de Aquila took possession of the property in 1601 but it was occupied by the "English" (no names were mentioned) three years later.

Sir Thomas Crooke was named owner in 1605 followed by Thomas Bennett in in 1610, and Sir Walter Coppinger in 1612. Thomas and then Roger Bennett became owners in 1636 and 1641 respectively.inside

There is even mention of Oliver Cromwell owning the property for seven years from 1645 until 1652, but then it reverted back to the Coppinger family, this time James Coppinger`s name appears on the relevant documents.

For less than a year in 1690 it was owned by Edmund Galway, then the Hollow Sword Blade Co. It came into the ownership of Percy Freke in 1703 and stayed in the family for more than twinsideo hundred years. Sir John Evans Freke Bart`s name was listed as the castle owner in 1807.

John Baron Carbery owned the castle for a year in 1919, followed by Edwin Angus Swanton and Jane Harriet St. George Taylor in 1924. The present owners, Patrick and Bernie McCarthy, bought the property from Mrs Eileen Foy`s daughter, Ann Csizmadia in 1997.

Dun na Sead isn't really a castle. It`s a hybrid between a tower, like the one at Kilcoe and the classic "fortified house" or "strong house".

Dun na Sead is rare in that it is one of the very few houses of it`s kind left standing in the country. The archaeological survey confirms it`s uniqueness, in present day terms, and identifies all of it`s fascinating features. Descriptions of the wall-walk and gun-loop really stir the imagination."







Dun  an Oir  Castle of gold

Cape Clear

Situated on western extreme of the island on a small promontory that was joined to the island by a narrow ledge of rock, I was there a few years ago and the ledge has collapsed




dun na long photo jackie ellis

Dun na Long  Fort of the Ships

Sherkin Island

Standing on the east side of the island facing Baltimore harbour. Built by Florence O`Driscoll  about 1460 along with the Franciscan Abbey Destroyed in  1537 by the merchants of Waterford.


Cloghan Stony Place

Lough Hyne

Situated on a small island in Lough Hyne it was the home of Sir Finnen O`Driscoll who died there in about 1630                                                                                              






On the road to Baltimore from Skibereen built on the Llen river now a boatyard, taken by the English forces as they marched south after the Battle of Kinsale.             




Dun na nGall  Fort of the Foreigners

Ringarogy Island

Between Baltimore and Oldcourt, nothing left of it now as most of the stones of the castle were ferried to Skibereen in the 1800s to build the  pro-cathedral


Castlehaven  Gleann Bearchain  St Berchane`s Glen


Between Castletownsend and Tragumna 

One of the most important O`Driscoll castles, once a smuggling depot for ships from France and Spain where it was known as Porto Castillo. Nothing left of it now but well worth a look as it`s in a great location.





Originally called Sloughleigh and then Castletown after the O`Driscoll fortress, nothing remains, the present structure built by the Townsend's. The town is famous as been the home of the cousins Somerville and Ross authors of The Irish R M Complete and Experiences of an Irish R M . The Irish R M and The Real Charlotte were serialised for television in the 1980s.  




Ardagh  High Field

Ardagh South

Between Baltimore and Lough Hyne, nothing left now but thought to have been a significant stronghold, thought to have been destroyed after the Battle of Kinsale in 1601.


whitehallRincollisky  Headland of the Currents


On Skibereen to Ballydehob rd follow signs for Turks Head and Cunnamore, where you can get a ferry for Horse island. Built around 1350 and rebuilt in 1495. The adjoining property was owned by Audley who was a commander of the English forces at the Battle of Kinsale and used stones from the castle to build his estate. Whitehall.  whitehall

whitehall from kilcoe







Sources:    The Story of West Carbery  W J Kingston  The Friendly Press 1985 ISBN: 0-948728-00-0

          The castles and Fortified Houses of West Cork  Michael J Carroll  Bantry Studio Publications         ISBN: 0-9519415-8-5

Ordnance Survey Ireland Discovery Series