Donore Castle, Meath, Ireland

Though the history of Donore Castle is not entirely clear there is a distinct possibility that it was one of the ‘£10 Castles’ built in Ireland under the rule of King Henry VI. In 1429, due to the frequent incursions of Gaelic Lords into the ‘Pale’, ten pounds was granted by the English government to any of the Henry’s loyal subjects willing to build and occupy one of these tower houses to protect the boundary from attack. The three story tower house at Donore, is roughly 12 metres in height and measures 6 by 5 metres in width. The south west corner of the castle has a protruding round tower that once housed a spiral staircase, sadly the tower house is inaccessible without a key.

Though it is hard to know definitively who erected the castle, and its history seems destined to remain fragmented, the most chilling moment in its history happened during Cromwell’s conquest in 1650. At some point prior to Cromwell’s arrival the tower house had fallen into the hands of the McGeoghegan Clan, when the castle was seized by Cromwell’s forces over forty of the McGeoghegan clan’s men, women and children were cruelly slaughtered by a troop under the command of a John Reynolds.  It is estimated that during the middle ages over 8,000 of these tower houses dotted the Irish landscape.

GPS: 53.49385, -6.94183

15 thoughts on “Donore Castle, Meath, Ireland

  1. What tight conditions in which to live. Imagine being under siege there.

    Looking forward to more Meath posts, as that’s where I’m from.

  2. Apologies for being 9 years late to this blog post, but thanks for publishing this bit of history. I’ve been researching my ancestry (McGeoghegan eventually became McGuigan) so it’s very helpful that someone has recorded Donore Castle.

    One thing that caught my attention was when you wrote, “Sadly the tower house is inaccessible without a key.” Was the key lost? Are there any records from the time that made mention of who had it?

    Thanks again!

    • Apologies Hannah I hadnt spotted this comment before. In regards access I imagine the key may lie with the local landowner or the OPW (Office of Public Works) but cannot be certain.

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