Just south of Kinsale is Charles Fort (W655404), a large artillery fort with least five projecting towers. There are many cannon ports along the top of the towers and connecting walls. The two seaward towers have lower cannon ports as well. The fort is surrounded by a massive stone-faced defensive bank and there are a number of buildings inside.
Desmond Castle (W637508) or the ‘‘French Prison’’, Kinsale is a small tower-house with a decorated doorway and some decorated windows. There are two unusual corner windows. St Multose’s Church (W637504) has a Norman tower with a round-headed doorway. Inside are the old town stocks and a carved stone, possibly a sheila-na-gig. There are a number of 17th century memorial stones on display.
James Fort (W645497), on the other side of the harbour from Charles’ Fort, is a five-pointed artillery fort. It is very much overgrown with little of the stonework visible. In the middle of the fort is a stone castle with two towers and connecting buildings inside a rectangular bawn. The corner towers of the bawn project beyond the line of the curtain wall on the left. Close by at sea level is a small hexagonal fort. The remains of a castle (W636508) were noted in passing. Only one corner remains.
A trivallate rath (W581461) was visited. The inner platform is about 60m diameter and the total diameter is about 100m. A small depression near the centre may indicate a collapsed souterrain. The ditches are about 3m deep and the entrance is at the south-east. A small rath (W568466) about 30m diameter was inspected. There are traces of an outer bank on the north side.
Kilbrittan Castle (W531472) is relatively modern but it may be built on an older structure. There is a grand double entrance stairway, incorporating a dove-cot. The gateway has a folding portcullis. Attached to the main house is another house with a circular corner tower.
Timoleague Franciscan Friary (W472436) is an extensive range of buildings. There are a number of good transomed windows one with a mullion and a good head. There is little decoration in the church, a little at the door and a much-weathered carved head on the outer wall. The four pillars of the aisle arcade are all different; one is square, two are round with different capitals and one is elongated polygonal. The tall slender tower is typical of Franciscan Friaries. Some fragments of the cloister remain and there are two tomb niches with a little decoration. There is a bullaun-stone, the bullaun being about 20cm wide and 18cm deep. The remains of Timoleague Castle (W470440) were noted from the roadside. A Mass Rock was visited (W469463) and a large derelict mill noted (W473530).
Sunday 22 April
The first visit was to Blarney Castle (W606750). It is a large rectangular keep with a bartizan on three sides and a corner-tower, also with a bartizan. It sits on a rock and has substantial remains of a bawn with three turrets (one separate). At the base of the rock is a larger turret, known as the Dungeon. It has a rock-cut passage. Just inside the entrance to the castle is a murder-hole. The ceiling of the first-floor room is vaulted and there is an early 18th century fireplace. The vaulting supports a large room with three mullioned windows and a fireplace. Above this is the banqueting hall and above that is the Chapel. There are two spiral stairways from which may be entered a number of small rooms. These include a garderobe, the Earl’s room (with oriel window) and the kitchen (with two large fireplaces). There is a good uninterrupted roof-walk.
A large tapered standing-stone (W580776) was photographed. It is about 300cm high by 200cm wide at the base and 50cm thick. A large rath was inspected (W573783). It is about 60m diameter and has a massive bank and ditch. The bank is about 12m wide and the base and about 4m high. The ditch is about 6m wide and 4m deep. Another standing-stone was photographed (W538834). It is about 200cm high by 150cm wide and 40cm thick.
Mallow Castle (W563983) is an early 17th century fortified manor-house. There are two projecting towers at the corners of one long wall. Between them is a third tower and a fourth one projects from the middle of the opposite long wall. There are a number of good mullioned windows, some with transoms and a few fireplaces.
The ruins of Mourne Abbey (W570923) were inspected. These comprise a rectangular ivy-covered church ruin and some boundary walls and the remains of a square tower.
After some searching Island wedge-grave (W603908) was located.
It is a typical wedge-grave with double walls and a kerb. There are a number of lintel stones and a lot of cairn material in place. The portal-stones are about 1.5m high and the chamber is about 6m long and 1.3m wide at the front.
A lime-kiln was noted (W568901). A small rath (W582835), about 30m diameter, was visited. It is heavily planted with trees and the bank is broken in several places. There are no traces of an outer bank or ditch.
A large cylindrical detached belfry at Waterloo (W605782) was viewed. It has an 1836 Romanesque doorway and an 1845 date on the wall higher up. There is also a Greek inscription.
Carrickadroichid Castle (W413723) was visited. It is built beside a bridge and has a rectangular projection on the long wall on the landward side. Half of this is circular within and may have contained the staircase. In the other half is a large fireplace.
The remains of Macroom Castle (W337728) were viewed from the outside. These include substantial portions of the bawn wall and a corner tower with some good windows, possible Tudor.
Monday 23 April
The ruins of a castle were spotted at Inishannon (W535575). At Templebryan, a circle of five stones was examined (W388437).
The circle is incomplete and there is a central stone capped with quartz. Nearby (W387438) are the remains of a small church inside a stone enclosure. Near the church is a tall thin standing-stone with a faint cross inscribed. At the foot of the stone is a bullaun-stone.
A rath at the roadside (W333353) was examined. It is about 35m diameter with a well-preserved bank. There is no trace of an outer bank or ditch. Rathbarry Church (W327352) is possibly early 19th century and has some mosaics, including two Chi Rho’s and alpha and omega. Close by is an earlier ivy-covered rectangular church with a piscina and a good three-light window. Rathbarry Castle (W323352) is incorporated in mid-19th century buildings. Only the ruins of a vaulted tower remain. Castle Freke (W322358) is a large ruined mansion.
A killeen (W320370) was explored. It has the remains of a small church and there is a cross-base hidden under a gorse bush. Nearby is a spring, water from which is said not to boil. A rath was spotted in the next field (W318370).
After some searching a stone circle was located (W309370). It is about 7m diameter and has 13 stones. Some more stones lie just outside the circle. Nearby is a small single-chambered grave with several cupmarks on the capstone.
Coppinger’s Court (W261359) was visited. It is a large early 17th century fortified manor-house with a bartizan around most of the top. There are some good transoms windows and a number of chimney-stacks. It is a rectangular building with projecting wings at the corners of one long wall and a third projecting wing in the middle of the opposite wall. At the rear are the remains of an oven.
A search was made for Drombeg Stone Circle and a well-cover was discovered (W247355). It is cylindrical with a conical roof, about 2m high and 2m diameter. The stone circle was finally located (W247352).
It is about 8m diameter and has 17 stones, one of them recumbent. Near the centre is a stone slab. The maximum height of the stones is about 2m. The recumbent stone is about 2m long by 90cm wide and 50cm thick. Nearby is a circular stone wall surrounding a rectangular stone-lined pit and a circular stone-lined pit. They are both flooded and this may be an ancient cooking place. Beside this are two conjoined hut-circles. The entrance is in the larger one and the smaller one has a hearth.
Knockdrum Cashel (W170308) is a hill-top circular stone fort. Just at the entrance is a mural guard chamber. In the middle of the fort are the foundations of a rectangular house with a souterrain leading from one edge. The souterrain is stone-lined at the start and rock-cut further in. It is closed by a heavy iron grid.
Just inside the entrance of the fort is a pillar stone, 140cm high, with two inscribed crosses. Just outside is a flat boulder with a large number of cupmarks.
On the edge of a hill at the other side of the road (W173325) is an alignment of three stones with a fourth one lying down. The alignment is about 10m long and the tallest stone is more than 4m high. The shortest is more than 2m high. The recumbent stone is about 4m long.
South of Castletownsend the ruins of Castle Haven (W176300) were inspected. There are scant remains of a tower, very much overgrown. Nearby is the gable of an old church.
Ballinacarriga Castle (W288508) was visited. It is a tower-house set high on a rock with the remains of the corner turret of a bawn close by. There are two wall bartizans entered from the second floor room which has a vaulted ceiling. The first floor has a fireplace and a decorated window. A spiral stairway rises to the top room and a straight mural stairway goes to roof level. The top room has two windows decorated with scriptural subjects. There is a sheila-na-gig set high on the outside wall.
Tuesday 24 April
Rapid progress was made northwards from Cork and two castles were noted in passing. One is a fine tower-house (R823013) standing four-square and the other (R799078) has only one wall standing.
A stop was made at the bottom of the Rock of Dunamase (S530981). Dunamase Castle is set on a large rocky outcrop. A number of defensive earthworks lead to a D-shaped gatehouse with the remains of a curtain wall. Beyond this is an inner rectangular gatehouse also in a curtain wall with a corner tower. The rectangular keep on top of the rock is greatly ruined but has a good doorway and some good windows.
Near Kilberry, the ivy-covered ruin of a church and a fragment of a castle (S655985) were investigated. There is little of interest. Kildare Cathedral (N725127) was visited. It houses a collection of carved stones including four effigy tombs. Beside the cathedral is a ring-headed plain High cross with a broken top. The Round Tower close by has a crenellated top and a Romanesque doorway over which is a triangular hood.
Lynch’s Castle, Summerhill (N848480) was investigated. It is a tower-house with later additions.
There are the remains of a vaulted ceiling on the first floor and a double latrine-chute, half of which leads from a garderobe on the first floor. A spiral stairway rises in the corner. About halfway up the first section of the stairs a deep recess leads to a defensive loop. There is another good loop to the left of the doorway, running diagonally through the wall to open just at the door jamb. There is a double chimney-stack. On the village green (N850485) is the shaft of a mid-16th century cross with carvings of vines and beasts on both sides. One narrow edge depicts a stag hunt.
At Newtown Trim, the Friary and Hospital of St John the Baptist (N818568) is an extensive ruin with a residential tower at one end. The tower is vaulted above the ground floor. The church has a good three-light window and there are remains of a number of vaulted rooms. There are some remains of a curtain wall with a small corner turret.
On the other side of the river are more ecclesiastical remains.
Cathedral of SS Peter & Paul (N815568). A small church, separate from the main buildings, contains a double effigy tomb. The panels depict coats of arms and one short panel has kneeling weepers. Scattered on the tomb are a number of rusty pins and small pebbles which may indicate a local cure or good luck custom. On the outside wall of the church is a tomb niche with a decorated hood featuring a head with long plaited hair. The cathedral is a large rectangular church with some good lancet windows. There is a large double piscina (or small sedilia). Opposite this is a much-worn effigy set in a recess behind a grid. There is some decoration at the windows and on the doorway which is blocked. A corbel stone on the wall has a carved angel. There are some traces of mural passages. The domestic buildings nearby are extensive. There is one good decorated window and some of the small windows have pecked decoration.