Carbury Castle

Carbury Castle

Carbury Castle (25)

As mentioned in a previous post, I finally got the chance to explore Carbury Castle. This has been on my bucket list for almost a year now. I had attempted to locate it unsuccessfully, so I with a little help from satellite imagery I was delighted to finally track the location and spend some time here. Located on Carbury Hill, which is also sometimes referred to as Fairy Hill, is situated in Kildare close to the Offaly border. The hill was at the center of the ancient territory known as Cairbre Uí Chiardha and is believed to have been a site of human occupation and activity dating back several millennia andsteeped in Irish history from the Bronze age right through to the 1798 rebellion. The O’Ciarda where a sept of the Uí Néill clan and were believed to be direct descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages, a 5th century King of Ireland. Carbury was named from Cairbre, Son of Niall.

Carbury Castle (1)

Carbury Castle (2)

The motte on the hill was more than likely built by Meiler FitzHenry who was granted lands in the area by Strongbow after the Norman conquest of Ireland. It was later acquired by the de Berminghams in the 14th century, before being taken back by the native Irish in the 15th century. The lands then reverted back into Crown hands.

Carbury Castle (3)

Carbury Castle (4)

The current Queen of England, Elizabeth, has a strong personal connection to county Kildare, as some of her ancestors were from the county. One of the most noteworthy of her Kildare ancestors was Richard Colley-Wellesley who was born in Carbury Castle circa 1690. Six generations of the Queen’s Colley ancestors lived in Carbury Castle, beginning with Sir Henry Colley. He had acquired the leasehold of Carbury in 1538 during the reign of King Henry VIII. Then in 1569 he was granted the Manor of Carbury by Queen Elizabeth I. It was Henry who remodeled the Castle in the style of the Elizabethan period, and today the striking ruins of Carbury Castle can be seen on an elevated site,the extension to the east of the building included the four prominent chimney stacks and large mullioned windows.. Henry also built the Colley mortuary chapel close to his residence, and it is here where he rests with several other Colley ancestors of the Queen.

Carbury Castle (5)

Carbury Castle (6)

Carbury Castle (7)

The large stronghouse they built on the hilltop in the 17th century now lies in crumbling ruin.The ruins now lie in pastoral land and the gate which leads to Carbury hill has a warning sign, ‘By Invitation Only’, so please seek permission before proceeding. On the walk up the will you can see a stunning little L shaped ruin and graveyard to the left. This is the family plot of the Colley family and contains the ruins of a small chapel and Mausoleum.

Carbury Castle (8)

Carbury Castle (9)

Carbury Castle (10)

Carbury Castle (11)

The ruins have to be seen close up to truly appreciated the actual size of the structure. Although some walls have collapsed over time, this ruin still commands a great presence over the surrounding countryside. Inside the structure the lower levels appear to have been barrel vaulted. There are no stairs remaining in the rectangle structure but it is possible to reach higher ground in areas. Pay close attention when exploring the lower level as it the vaulted roof was crumbling and may give way at any stage.

Carbury Castle (12)

Carbury Castle (15)

Carbury Castle (14)

Carbury Castle (13)

After spending a while here soaking in the history and taking some images I began to get that all to familiar feeling that I get from time to time. Sometimes it is pleasant but on this occasion it was not. I call this my spidey sense and whilst I do not always understand what it means, I will always listen to it. So I packed up my kit and said farewell. Which was probably a good idea as it was now getting late. I have heard that close by their lies a well-known as the Trinity well which is said to be the source of the river Boyne. Yet again, though I had spent most of the evening on Carbury Hill, so I was unable to locate the well. So Mausoleum.It will have to go on my ever increasing bucket list. If anyone has any information on the trinity well or knows how to get there, I would love to hear from you.

Carbury Castle (16)

Carbury Castle (19)

Carbury Castle (18)

Carbury Castle (17)

Carbury Castle (20)

Carbury Castle (21)

Carbury Castle (22)

Carbury Castle (23)

Carbury Castle (24)

Carbury Castle (26)

Carbury Castle (27)

Carbury Castle (28)

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About edmooneyphotography

Photographer, Blogger, Ruinhunter, with an unhealthy obsession for history, mythology and the arcane.
This entry was posted in Castles, Diary of a Ruinhunter, Historical, Landscape, Places of Interest, Ruins and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

74 Responses to Carbury Castle

  1. chirose says:

    gorgeous..!! just gorgeous..!!


  2. John says:

    Great shots!


  3. Great series, Ed!


  4. The castle is definitely a ‘must see’ next time I’m in Ireland =)


  5. Melanee says:

    Your photos are gorgeous and inspiring. I look forward to seeing more…Thank you for visiting my blog.


  6. Anny says:

    Well, those pictures are a gift for any gothic fiction writers out there! I love that style, mildly menacing (have you seen the paperback covers for Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins books – perhaps you should do the next one) . Most of the ruins with public access around here, have been stripped of the overgrowth, but seeing walls covered in ivy certainly lends an extra frisson.


  7. eliamor says:

    Your pictures evoke a time of myth, fairies, and the possibility of dragons. Love them!


  8. I love castles and all the secrets which comes with them 🙂 Great way of showing them!!!


  9. Know-All says:

    fantastic!!! loved the photographs!


  10. Rustic yet eye-grabbing! Fantastic work!


  11. Jo Woolf says:

    Fascinating! Another ruin that looks in a dangerous state, and the photos seem to do justice to the long history. I know how some ancient places have a welcoming ‘feel’, while others don’t – and some don’t have any atmosphere at all.


  12. Nice series – on the tech side, do you shoot in color and convert to B&W? If you, do you do the conversion in Photoshop>Adjustments>Black and White or just convert to greyscale? I use the former, but everyone has a different approach. I shoot in RAW and then do layer masking in P/S.


    • Thanks Rob, Yes I normally shoot in color because I ust never know what way a photo will end up, and I always shoot RAW. I think this is only my second proper mono set, prior to that I was using alot of sepia toning, but I just wanted to try something different. still trying to perfect it. And yes I convert from B&W Adjustments in PS6. I really love your IR shots. Do you use an IR camera or are they conversions. That and HDR are something im still a bit nervous about.


  13. restlessjo says:

    What a fabulous old place! Love the way the foliage hugs the walls. 🙂


  14. If these walls could talk … I love these old places. Thanks for visiting my blog so I could find yours. Be well, Dorothy 🙂


  15. swabby429 says:

    It’s always fascinating to see how Mother Nature reclaims her domain over mankind’s great works.


  16. Caleb Gee says:

    These are amazing! It almost looks as if ppl should still be living there lol


  17. StillWalks says:

    The b&w is very well suited to the ruins – great shots 🙂


  18. Thank you for checking out my blog, and this post was a very good read with gorgeous photos


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  28. Ali Isaac says:

    I was hoping you’d have some pics of the well, it’s also called Tobar Segais, Connla’s Well and the Well of Wisdom… it’s the source of the Boyne, and where the salmon of Knowledge ate the hazel nuts in mythology…

    Liked by 1 person

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  31. Do you have a contact for the people who own Carbury Castle please? Most grateful if you could let me know.
    Many thanks in advance…


  32. Wonderful photos. Can i ask where and from whom does one ask permission to access the castle ? Many thanks and best regards


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