Remnants of Sidheán

Sidheán Castle (1)

Continuing on my recent trip around Laois, I happened to pass by an interesting looking structure not to far away from Coolbanagher. It looked like s Castle type fortification or Gatehouse. So I stopped of to have a closer look. Indeed it would appear to have been a Fortified Gatehouse of some kind. Now how old it is I cannot say, it does however guard the entrance to a vast estate. So before we continue, allow me to take you back in time to 1346AD. Sidheán or Shaen Castle as it is known in English was one of eight satellite castles built in the area by Lord Roger Mortimer. These were all outposts of his main fortification at Dunamase. These castles of which Sidheán was one, would have served as an extra layer of defence for Dunamase.

Sidheán Castle (2)

Sidheán Castle (3)

Sidheán Castle (4)

According to local legend The great Gaelic Chieftain Laoiseach O’Moore was said to have attacked and successfully destroyed all nine Castles in one night. Sidheán was eventually rebuilt some time later, only to be destroyed once again in 1650AD by the army of Oliver Cromwell. In the 19th century a certain Dean Coote built what was said to be a fine mansion on the site of Sidheán. This mansion later passed on to the Kemmis family. Eventually it was acquired by Laois County Council. In 1932 it once again opened its doors as a tuberculosis sanatorium. It subsequently closed in 1968 and re-opened as a residential service for older people in 1970.

Sidheán Castle (5)

Sidheán Castle (6)

Sidheán Castle (8)

Now back to our entrance, I don’t believe that this structure would have stood back in the day of the Castle. But I would suspect that it was an addition to the estate at Sidheán either during the construction of the Mansion house or sometime after. This was a popular thing to do as wealthy land owners were able to indulge their whims financially. Another example of this Gatehouse / Entrance can be seen in Carlow at the stunning Ducketts Grove. In fact the more I compare the two the more resemblance I see, Both the Mansion at Sidheán and Ducketts Grove as we know it were constructed around the same time and both have that Castellated Gothic revival appearance. If anyone can shed any further light on Sidheán, please get in touch or leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Sidheán Castle (7)

Sidheán Castle (9)

Sidheán Castle (10)


For these and more of my images, why not visit my Website or join me on Facebook or Twitter.

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, Photography, Ruins and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Remnants of Sidheán

  1. seaangel4444 says:

    Lovely work, Ed! Cher xo


  2. The sun and clouds were really on your side for this shoot – very smooth grey tones – perfect amount of contrast in each.


  3. M T McGuire says:

    If I ever write a gothic novel I will be coming to you for art work. Great shots here. Loved the one of the turret against the sky especially.




  4. Rajiv says:

    Looks like I must visit The Emerald Isles one day!


  5. wildninja says:

    Ed, are you familiar with this blog, Robert showcases a lot of architecture as well. You should compare notes– you have similar interests.

    I adore that first shot. It looks like a gateway to a dream world, like as soon as I walk through the White Rabbit will scurry across my path or one of Tolkien’s Great Eagles will swoop down to discuss the latest happenings in Minas Tirith. It also reminds me of the end of “Gladiator.” Gorgeous.


  6. John says:

    Beautiful place, would love to see this!


  7. Paul Cahill says:

    Beautiful photography.


  8. colonialist says:

    A ‘highly’ impressive structure I wouldn’t mind having as my front gate!


  9. That first image makes it look like the gateway to forever. Nice.


  10. akhattak1000 says:

    This is incredibly stunning. Really good shots,love the work with black and white.looks like a perfect cover for a great novel.Great work!


  11. Ali Isaac says:

    Beautiful images, as always, Ed. It’s amazing what unknown treasures you stumble across. I continue to learn from you…


  12. Gorgeous pictures! Thanks for liking our recent post…am glad to have found your blog!


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

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s