The ruins of Glanworth Castle are situated on a limestone outcrop overlooking the River Funcheon. An earlier fortification once stood where the castle is but the earliest visible structures date from the 13th century and were built by the Norman family de Caunteton (Condon), it was at this time that the central keep and the north and west walls were constructed. In the early 1300s it passed by marriage into the hands of the Roche family. Fifteen generations of the Roche family occupied the castle until it was taken by force during the 17th century Cromwellian Conquest of Ireland, during which it was damaged badly by General Ireton’s artillery in 1649.
During the centuries of the Roche’s occupation the castle layout was developed and extended to suit the needs at the time and can appear very much a hodgepodge of different buildings and styles. Excavations in the 1980s established four main phases of construction and adaptation. The first phase was the rectangular tower and castle wall with a gatehouse on its west side, during the second phase the gatehouse was later expanded and converted into a residence. In the 15th century the gatehouse was adapted into the towering tower house that overshadows the whole site, also the castle wall was extended to the west. In the 17th century a kitchen and a free standing bread oven were built inside a wall. During the excavations a Sheela-na-Gig was found which may have once been inserted into the tower house wall. It should be noted that the twelve arch, one lane bridge of Glanworth was constructed in 1446 and is described as ‘the narrowest and oldest working bridge in Europe!’.
GPS: 52.1881, -8.35465