Barryscourt Castle, Co. Cork

Barryscourt Castle, Co. Cork

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The site on which Barryscourt castle now stands has been occupied for over a thousand years- there is evidence of a wooden watermill having been built next to a stream at the site sometime in the 7th century, long before any fortification existed there. Barryscourt fell into the hands of the Anglo-Norman de Barry family in the 12th century, and masonry from this period found at the site may be the remains of another watermill or possibly an early fortification built by the Barrys.

While the de Barry's lands in various parts of County Cork were divided amongst various branches of the family, Barryscourt remained in the possession of the most powerful branch, the Barrymores (Barra mór or "Great Barry" in Irish). The Barrymore line later went extinct, Barryscourt thus passing to a distant cousin, James FitzRichard of the Barryroes (Barra rua, "Red Barry"), in 1556. The present Tower house at Barryscourt was probably built late in the reign of the Barrymores, either in the 15th or 16th century, with a tentative date of about 1550 based on the architectural style, and became the family seat of the Barrys.

Barryscourt castle is the 16th century seat of the Barry family. The present castle, with its largely intact bawn wall and corner towers, is a fine example of an Irish tower house. Both the First floor Main Hall and the Second Floor Great Hall have been extensively restored with fittings and furnishings reinstated. The Orchard has been restored to an original 16th century design and an herb garden has been reinstated in the bawn.

The castle has daily guided tours available free of charge.

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