Barntown castle is a well positioned structure standing midway between Forth Mountain and the River Slaney, commanding an excellent view over the latter. It is believed that this five storey tower house was built by the Roche family sometime during the 15th or 16th centuries. The first references to the castle date from 1562 when it was held by Walter Roche. The Roches were a powerful family, owning several tower houses in the local area, two other fine examples stand nearby at Ferrycarrig and also Artramon. During its history Barntown Castle would have stood within what has become know as the ‘Wexford Pale’. This area of Wexford was heavily concentrated with English settlers, the baronies of Forth and Bargy having some of the most dense settlements in Ireland. This area needed to be protected from attack and a patchwork of castles running from Ferrycarrig to Duncormick assisted in doing so. After the death of Walter Roche the castle passed to his heir William Wadding. It seems the castle must have fallen into ruin sometime around the 1641 Rebellion, the Down Survey of the 1650s records the caslte and lands being held by a Robert Roach. Barntown Castle is an attractive ruin but its west side and south side are suffering from some undermining with much rock fallen away and this beautiful five story tower house could fall without remedial work for which fundraising is thankfully being undertaken by a local heritage group.
GPS: 52.33741, -6.53253