Ballymoon Castle

Ballymoon Castle (1)

Following on to my second ruin of the year, after a rather slow start to the year mainly due to my arch enemy, the Irish weather. It has been a while since I came across a new Castle to explore and despite the lack of available history associated with the site, the ruins of Ballymoon Castle certainly did not disappoint. In fact aside from the Rock of Dunamase, Ballymoon is arguably one of the most impressive castle ruins which I have encountered to date. The Castle remains rest in the middle of a field just of a little country lane and still command a formidable presence across the surrounding countryside. Aside from now being a National Monument, which now means that it is thankfully a protected structure under Irish Law, there is free and open access to the public via what looks like a rickety old wooded bridge. The bridge runs across a rather deep ditch which surrounds the field, but I can assure you that it is quite safe to cross and is very sturdy. It’s a short walk up a slight incline before reaching the ruins.

Ballymoon Castle (2)

Ballymoon Castle (5)

Ballymoon Castle (4)

Ballymoon Castle (3)

For me Ballymoon is an unusual sight, as I am more accustomed to exploring the standard Norman Tower house fortifications which are so commonly found around the eastern part of the country. So I was like a child in a sweetshop when I came across this one. The ruins straight away stood out to me as the type of castle that you would be familiar with as a child. The structure consists of a square courtyard.  Each of the four outer granite curtain walls are about 80ft in length and are about 8ft thick at the base, rising to a height of about 20ft, these may have been much higher as they would have surely supported crenelations & wall-walks, which either sadly have not survived or as some suggest were never finished.

Ballymoon Castle (6)

Ballymoon Castle (9)

Ballymoon Castle (8)

Ballymoon Castle (7)

The North, East and South walls all have protruding towers with a gatehouse on the west wall, all adding to the defensive features of the Castle. I am always amazed by the sheer amount of craftsmanship that went into the construction of these structures. Not only were they fortifications designed to protect strategic tracts of land, but they were also a home for the inhabitants, which had to be able to withstand attack.

Ballymoon Castle (10)

Ballymoon Castle (13)

Ballymoon Castle (12)

Ballymoon Castle (11)

As mentioned there is very little history available on Ballymoon Castle or the people whom lived there, this has sadly been lost in the sands of time. It is believed to have been built sometime between the 13th – 14th centuries  either by Rodger Bigod of the Bigod Family (Earls of Norfolk) whom were wealthy land owners in the area or by the Carew family whom later acquired land from the Bigods. There has been some mention of a connection between the Castle and the Knights Templar. And whilst this would be a fascinating story if true, there is no evidence to back up these claims. Walking through the remains of an arched gateway in the western wall, you can see evidence of Portcullis groves on the right-hand side of the arch. There may also have been a barbican in front of this.

Ballymoon Castle (14)

Ballymoon Castle (17)

Ballymoon Castle (16)

Ballymoon Castle (15)

The north wall shows evidence of a double fireplace which would have been the centrepiece of the great hall. Aside from the many cross shaped gun loops and arrow slits which are part of the castles defensive features. There are also signs of living quarters in the south wall with a number of rooms and garderobe (medieval toilets) which would suggest that the castle was built for comfort as well as defensive purposes. This area of the castle can be explored somewhat and it is possible to ascend to some heights in the south wall. Whilst the stone walls are in good condition, there are a lot of leaks in the rooms which make the stone slippy in parts, so do take due care if you decide to explore this part of the castle.

Ballymoon Castle (18)

Ballymoon Castle (25)

Ballymoon Castle (24)

Ballymoon Castle (23)

Ballymoon Castle (22)

Ballymoon Castle (21)

Ballymoon Castle (20)

Ballymoon Castle (19)

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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, Medieval, Photography, Places of Interest, Ruins and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Ballymoon Castle

  1. Absolutely fascinating, Ed, great photos and thanks for the opportunity to look at this historic place. May the sun keep shining over you so you can undertake many more projects like this!


  2. Wish I had gotten into photography when I lived in Ireland. I got my iPhone 3 from the UK in 2010, and sadly only took a few photos of the local landscape in County Leitrim and Roscommon. My last shots on my iPhone 3 were of the Big Freeze of 2010 on my way from Carrick-on-Shannon to Dublin to catch my flight out of Ireland, headed for Australia.


    • Ah remember that well, I was only after getting started back then. 🙂


      • The mobile photography movement didn’t really start til the iPhone 3 came out, and the Apps Store grew huge. That would have been around 2009/2010. I only started taking photos with my iPhone 3 as a bored housewife in Australia with a bicycle and too much time on her hands lol. Then work took over and things took a backseat, but the iPhoneography/Androidography slowly crept back in until I realised that in order to give it my full attention, I’d be better off quitting my job. (That, and having the boss from hell helped make the decision easier!)


        • LOL, Wish I could do the same, but bills still need to be payed, so im stuck holding down a day job for the moment. I love the camera on the iPhone but refuse to get one as I have a severe dislike for iTunes.
          On the very rare occasion that I don’t have my camera bag with me, I rely on my HTC 1, it does a great job. 🙂


          • Do you know Paul Moore, he takes amazing photos of Irish landscapes with his iPhone. Yes, bills have to be paid, but luckily I have a supportive hubby, and in the past I bailed him out several times so now it’s his turn ;-)!


  3. Grannymar says:

    That is still on my ‘To visit & explore’ list. I enjoyed the virtual tour.


  4. Preeti says:

    Another great post! I admire how much effort you put into each and every shot. I’m happy that this compelling monument is protected as a National monument. In India too we have scores of historical structures, every region has some with a claim to history. Some are protected but many are alas! neglected despite being protected…restoration is not on a scale one could wish for…I am now hunting the web for some similar initiative like yours on Indian ruins. Keep up the good work!


    • Thanks, it does be a shame that countries with such a rich history neglect their heritage. I would love to visit India one day and visit these places, 🙂


      • Preeti says:

        I am sure you’ll find many places to interest you. The majority of restoration & protection work goes into the major tourist destinations…the hinterlands contain so much rich history… but the new generations are more interested in the ‘tech’ world than the one that’s past!


  5. seaangel4444 says:

    These pictures are absolutely incredible, Ed! The top shot of Ballymoon Castle leaves me with two striking thoughts. The first is a brooding sense, while, on the other hand, there is light in the background, almost as if the darkness is falling by the wayside, and the light is now filling the space. That’s how I see it. 🙂 I love all of these pictures! amazing.


  6. iosatel says:

    Great series, beautiful and interesting places, I like your project!


  7. lyonsroarforgod says:

    These pictures capture the age, the history, the hardships of that time in history. I would love to visit this castle ruin sometime; it looks like a great place to explore.


  8. Ah, the foe of all natural-light photographers…the weather! Certainly this place has the layout of a model castle I had as a child – mostly just a large square area with high walls – so your assessment was indeed spot on. Another good post Ed, hope the weather cooperates for you, but with winter still here, it is anyone’s guess as to what we will encounter ‘:-)


  9. sueslaght says:

    I send appreciation for you battling enemy winter to get these shots!


  10. Maggie Beck says:

    Ed, these are really stunning. You give your viewer a sense of the history of the place while maintaining its contemporary mystery.


  11. Kim Goldberg says:

    I love these images! The are so haunting in their beauty.


  12. jamoroki says:

    Another great post Ed. I’d be interested to know how many of these historic ruins there are in Ireland? We don’t want you running out of material for a while. James


  13. archecotech says:

    Love it, was talking to one of my students the other day and we were talking about all the castles in the Isles. Mentioned your blog and thought to myself, how many castles are there? It seems like there are hundreds, is this possible? Anyway love the post.


  14. Ray Catcher says:

    Much athmosphere, so dark and partly reduced.


  15. DG MARYOGA says:

    Absolutely fabulous photo parade and captions.Looks gorgeous in B/W !!! I’ve already added it to my bucket list.


  16. colonialist says:

    Most impressive, but it is quite tricky to get a proper perspective of scale. The doorway in the seventh one does give some idea.


  17. enmanscamera says:

    I enjoyed the history on a part of the world so unfamiliar and also you documentary photo style.


  18. Love your castles journeys! They keep bringing this “just another surprise around the corner” feeling 🙂


  19. kalabalu says:

    stones built castles
    and time removed thee
    No more can anyone feel easy 😉
    Small maybe holes
    Yet, opens the fortress to invasion privacy


  20. megdekorne says:

    Hauntingly gorgeous ! I can’t stop looking ! Thankyou !

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Pingback: My Photoblog Adventure 2014, A year in review Part 1 | EdMooneyPhotography

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