Cullahill Castle

Cullahill Castle (1)

Cullahill Castle (2)

Another impressive ruin that my little Ruinhunters visited recently was the impressive Keep of Cullahill Castle in Co. Laois. Having never been here before I was not sure of its suitability for the little ones, and as luck would have it, Cullahill was not the best  of ruins to explore with kids. So I kept the exploring at a safe distance, due the amount of rubble and will come back at a later stage to have a good look around.

Cullahill Castle (3)


Cullahill Castle (4)

The Keep which stands on the south-western corner of a large seven-sided Bawn was built around 1425 by Finghin Mac Giolla Phádraig, stands at approx 90 feet in height. This five storey Tower with a wall-walk was built upon solid rock and  constructed using roughly coursed Limestone. Most of the north portion of the tower is missing, as is the doorway. Their looks to have been a mural stairway in what is left of the north east corner. Then there is a barrel vault running north to south over the ground floor with evidence of a loft which was accessed from an opening in what was once the north wall. On the first and second floors there is a mural passage along the south wall with chambers to the east and west. Up on the second floor there is what looks to be a large cut limestone fireplace in the east wall. The third floor would seem to have been supported by the thickness of the walls at this height, including the top floor. Up  top there is a wall walk and pitched gable on the south wall, with a chimney stack on the east wall. The majority of the opes are plain rectangular.

Cullahill Castle (5)


Cullahill Castle (6)

I had heard that there is a Sheela-na-gig somewhere on the external part of the east wall, but unfortunately I could not find any trace of it. So this will be a high priority to find on my return visit. Looking to the top of the keep you can only imagine what a commanding presence this fortification would have had on the surrounding countryside. The castle came under attack on several occasions by raiders from Kilkenny with the support of the English crown under Henry VI whom sought to destroy this massive keep. Major attacks were recorded in 1441 and 1517, but it was not until the arrival of Cromwell’s forces around 1650 that the castle was finally defeated and reduced to rubble under heavy cannon fire from Parliamentarian forces.  By 1657 Cullahill was said to have been uninhabitable. Across the road lies the ruins of a chapel which was once the private chapel of the Catholic lords of Upper Ossory. Do stop by and have a look around this impressive sight if you are in the area, it really is quite stunning despite its ruinous state.

Cullahill Castle (7)

Cullahill Castle (8)

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About edmooneyphotography

Photographer, Blogger, Ruinhunter, with an unhealthy obsession for history, mythology and the arcane.
This entry was posted in Diary of a Ruinhunter, Medieval, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Cullahill Castle

  1. simon682 says:

    Your photographs are wonderfully distinctive. They can have a timeless beauty. Then you add in children in modern clothing and they still have a timeless beauty. I can’t achieve the first and can’t imagine how you achieve the second. Enchanting pictures. As ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. superbe ambiance ! les enfants n’ont pas eu peur ? 😉
    great atmosphere! children were not scared ? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fine set, Ed; the kids are a nice contrast.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very dramatic! And through the children, you’ve made a connection between past and present. Nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kilted1 says:

    Wonderful series Ed. I love the second in the series here. Wonderful and rich.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ali Isaac says:

    Love these Ed! The drama and malevolance of the ruinous structure and brooding sky is heightened by the presence of your cute children! A wonderful contrast! I always think you can’t do better… and then you do!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rajiv says:

    I love the drama of the shots

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rajiv says:

    I like that pub… Too many men!


  9. Jenni says:

    Utterly breathtaking pictures that conveyed a deeps sense of time and an eerie feeling of mystery. I could almost imagine the mist rolling in and then suddenly time flowing backwards until the stones were newly laid. Really wonderful – you have an amazing talent.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dominique says:

    Black and white is superb for the ruins. Great photos, thank you so much for your visit 🙂


  11. These images have a bit of spookiness about them. Nice work.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. wonderful and more wonderful with the little sweet things in the foreground!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. SherriS. says:

    Moody, gorgeous, haunting and powerful. Great work Ed.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. alexjrankin says:

    This reminds me of explores my dad used to take me on; not all of them strictly allowed! Must be great to do things like this with the kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wonderful! I have got to get to Ireland!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: A Big Thank You | EdMooneyPhotography

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  18. steviegill says:

    Very dramatic shots, nice work.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. mary3atkins says:

    Beautiful work. Thank you also for liking my blog Mindfulness in Ho Chi Minh.


  20. Stunning photos – love them! Forgive my ignorance, but what’s a Sheela-na-gig? I’m intrigued.

    Liked by 1 person

    • HI Wayne, The Sheela-na-gig is a Medieval exhibitionist figure that is generally female. The figure is usually depicted holding open the vagina and are generally found at church sites but others have been found at castles. Their meaning is debated but may be a warning of sin to people or some form of fertility charm. 🙂


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  22. Pingback: Castles of County Laois | | Laois People

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