Friday 7 February
At Boards Mill (N764529) a mill building was viewed from the roadside. The building is of stone and in two sections. The lower section is gutted and close inspection was not possible. A tower-house was inspected (N702498). It stands to full height but without crenellations. The doorway is in the west wall and is guarded by a good machicolation at roof level. At the south-west corner is a projecting round tower within which is a spiral stairway. The other corners of the building are rounded. The tower is vaulted above the first floor but close inspection was not possible because of the ruinous nature of the stairway. The remains of a corbelled ceiling above the doorway indicate that there was a small chamber here. There are no large window openings visible.
Saturday 8 February
A motte was viewed from the roadside (N657451). It is sparsely planted with small bushes and a large tree on top. It is surrounded by a ditch and bank. Another motte and a lime-kiln were noted in passing at Mulphedder (N667436). Nearby (N671434) is a large mill with the remains of a turbine on the south side. The building has five storeys including the attic. There are substantial remains of the tailrace but no traces of the headrace.
A tower-house was noted in passing at Newcastle (N756416). It appears to have crenellations and machicolations. A castle consisting of a short section of one wall with a projecting square tower was viewed from the roadside (N711353). Another castle consisting of a few small fragments was viewed in passing (N706372).
Carbury Castle (N687350) was inspected closely. Extensive ruins sit on top of a prominent hill. Originally there seems to have been a rectangular building with vaulted rooms at the lower level. A projecting wing appears to have been added on the west side although the stonework in both sections is similar. An added section on the east side has four 17th century chimney stacks and some large mullioned and transomed windows. The top of the hill may be partly artificial. A short distance south of the castle is a graveyard with the scant remains of a church and an early 18th century mortuary house.
Edenderry Castle (N633325) was viewed from outside a strong fence. Two walls and a small detached fragment remain of a small rectangular building. There is also a small portion of a bawn wall.
Another castle was viewed (N642368). It is a tower-house about four storeys high. About half of the external walls and some internal walls remain. The only feature of note is a small ogee-headed window near the top. The building appears to have been made in two sections since a definite join may be seen in the long wall. The castle stands beside the remains of an old church.
Grange Castle (N622365) appears to have been occupied over a long period. A tower-house is attached to the remains of a Georgian building. Within the tower are the remains of floors and modern fireplaces. A spiral stairway rises in the corner. The original doorway and some inner doorways have pecked decoration. The internal walls are plastered. The tower rises to full height but does not have Irish crenellations. There are rounded Dutch gables. The roof is still in place but damaged. Some of the windows at the upper levels may be later insertions. The tower is four storeys high plus attic and there is a triple Jacobean chimney-stack. In the farmyard beside the castle is a fine English-made pump about 50cm high. It stands over a good stone-lined well.
Kinnafad Castle (N616350) is a rectangular building about half of which remains. It is vaulted above the second floor and has some mural passages. The higher floors were reached by a spiral stairway, remains of which may be seen in the long wall. There are two corner defensive slits and some ogee-headed slits. Although the building is too dangerous to be inspected closely traces of wicker centring may be seen at some of the window recesses and mural passages. There is a latrine chute in the south wall.
At Ballybrittan (579324), Trimblestown Bridge crosses the Grand Canal. It is a typical humpbacked canal bridge with two towpaths beneath. Nearby is the ruin of a stone building which may have canal associations.
On top of Ballykilleen Hill (N602288) is a large earthwork. There appears to be a small motte about 10m across the top and of average height. The detached bailey is of similar height and about 35m diameter. The mounds are surrounded by at least two banks and ditches. The total diameter of the enclosed area is about 70m.
The castle at Cullahill was investigated (S355740). It is a tower-house rising to five storeys. About half of it remains. It is vaulted above the ground floor and has mural passages and chambers. A straight mural stairway rises to the upper levels. There are remains of mullioned windows at the higher floors of the castle. The tower sits at the edge of a polygonal bawn which has two corner towers with small circular chambers. There are remains of a murder-hole above the entrance of the castle leading from the first floor. The top room has three large window recesses one of which is partly blocked by an inserted chimney. Across the road is a lime-kiln and the ruin of a small church.
Glashare Castle (S327708) was viewed from the roadside. It forms part of a modern farm complex and stands to full height with some crenellations. There are mullioned windows above first floor level and some defensive slits including corner slits.
Kilcooly Abbey was investigated closely (S290578). There are remains of a cruciform church with a damaged north transept. In the choir is a fine tomb of Piers Fitz Oge Butler (c1526), complete with effigy and weepers. There are a number of other tombs and tomb fragments. On the wall of the south transept leading to the sacristy are some fine carvings including a crucifixion. The two canopied seats at the top of the nave are for the abbot and his deputy. One of them is finely carved. There is a good vault at the tower-crossing with holes for the bell ropes. There are no traces of the cloister although the site is well defined. A number of vaulted chambers lead from the cloister and a stairway leads to the upper levels. Close to the south-east corner of this range of buildings stands a large separate building. A mural stairway leads above the tower-crossing but the upper levels are not accessible at present. There is a magnificent east window and the transepts are lit by fine traceried windows. In the north transept is a fine font. Near the abbey is a good columbarium. The wall is almost intact but most of the roosts have disappeared.
Sunday 9 February
Fethard Town Walls were inspected (S206348). At the west end of a 100m section is a small tower known as Fethard Castle. This is situated at one of the corners. It has an ogee-headed window near the top as well as some square-headed slits. There is a good squinch between the tower and the wall. At the east end of the wall is a large tower with a good latrine chute. This is Edmund Castle. Beyond this is a larger tower called Court Castle. The upper windows were mullioned but are now blocked. There is one chimney- stack. A shorter section of the wall to the east has a good defensive slit and incorporates a fine sheila-na-gig. Behind the longer wall is Holy Trinity Church which incorporates part of an older church. In the wall of the fire depot beside the entrance to the church are some carved panels including a 17th century crucifixion.
Kiltinan Church (S230319) has a residential tower at the east end. It is four storeys high. In the east wall beside the doorway is a cross-shaped defensive loop. The church is small and rectangular, with doorways in the north and south walls. There is a two-light window in the west wall and some smaller windows in the north and south walls. There are some traces of a building at the east end of the tower, including a gable mark on the wall and a doorway at first floor level in the tower. There are some old gravestones with incised crosses beside the tower. Kiltinan Castle (S233319) may be seen a short distance to the east. It forms part of a modern farm complex and was not closely inspected. It appears to have a large bawn.
A motte was noted in passing (S262269) on the way to Kilcash. Kilcash Castle (S326273) is a very fine tower-house attached to the remains of a lower and more recent building. There are two corner bartizans and a machicolation over the doorway. There are four chimney stacks. At least one of these is a later insertion since it leads from a fireplace now on the outside of the tower and originally in the upper storey of the later house. This house had two storeys plus attic. It has large window openings which have rough wooden lintels.
Kilcash Church (S325373) features a good but much-weathered Romanesque doorway in the south wall. It is of three orders with chevrons and faces on the tops of the capitals of the middle arch. There is a deeply recessed, round-headed window in this wall. The church is of the nave-and-chancel type. The opening of the chancel arch is present but no decorated or worked stones remain. The chancel appears to have been enlarged at some later date. In the west wall, which is now shored up, is a round-headed window. There appears to have been a large east window but this wall is almost totally gone. To the east of the church is a small rectangular building with a steep gable. This may have been another small church. Some of the gravestones in the churchyard are plain and one of them is cross-shaped.
Two standing stones were noted in passing (S361268 & S410268). At Ahenny (S413290) are two richly carved High Crosses. The north cross has a conical cap and the base is carved with humans and animals. The rest of the cross is carved with curvilinear ornamentation and there are a number of bosses. One section of the ring is missing. The south cross has a plain base and a flat cap. The ornamentation on the cross is similar to that on the north cross. A short distance to the east is the plain base of a third cross and to the north is a fragment of a church with a small ogee-headed window.
About 1km south of Ahenny at Kilkeeran (S422273) are some more similar crosses. The largest cross is slightly damaged on the shaft and is greatly weathered. It has a conical cap and a richly carved base. To the east is a smaller, plain cross of similar shape. Beside it is a tall cross with missing arms and ring. It stands in a circular base. A fragment of a cross-shaft stands near the largest cross. To the east beside the graveyard wall are two bullaun stones. Near them is a small pillar stone about 1m high. Further east is St Kieran's Well, a good stone-lined structure. Beside the well is another bullaun-stone, water from which is said to cure headaches.
On the road to Killamery some fragments of Castle John (S395321) were noted in passing. At Killamery (S375360) there is a very fine High Cross with curvilinear ornamentation and a finial. Beside it is a large bullaun-stone and a boulder with a 20cm wide perforation. There is also a small perforated stone and a good cross-inscribed slab. In the field beside the graveyard is a holy well with a stone cap about 1.2m high. The cap is carved to form a triangular hood with a recess at the bottom. The ruin of a late 18th century church stands in another section of the graveyard. An overgrown motte was noted near the village (S376362).
St Mary's Church, Callan (S414436) was investigated. It has a strong tower at the west end. It is a cruciform church with the north transept now missing. The chancel and choir are roofed and not accessible. The choir has a fine east window and inside is a good square font. There are broad north and south aisles, the aisle arcades having four arches. There are a number of box-tombs and coffin lids in the church but no effigies. The south doorway is pointed and the hood ends in angels and foliage. There is some foliage on the hood mouldings of the smaller windows. The north doorway has a fine hood ending in angels. Above it is a panel featuring the head of a woman in medieval head-dress. There is a holy water stoup inside both the north and south doorways and a number of fine traceried windows throughout the church.
Callan Motte (S410441) was noted on the way to the Augustinian Friary. The ruins of the friary (S415438) consist of a rectangular building with a central tower. A spiral stairway leads above the tower crossing. Above this there are three storeys. In the north wall of the church at the west end is a large arch which may have led to a transept. There is also evidence outside the wall of a section of building now missing. There is a good window above the west doorway and some carving on the outside of the doorway. The details of the large east window are now missing. Some of the smaller windows are similar to those in St Mary's Church. In the east end of the church in the south wall is a fine triple sedilia. The decorated hood features birds, dogs and dragons as well as foliage. Beside the sedilia is a good piscina with a quatrefoil basin. There is one box tomb at the east end of the church but it is very plain. There are two small doorways in the south wall, one under the tower. In the opposite wall is a blocked doorway which apparently led to the transept.
Burnchurch Castle (S476474) is a fine tower-house complete with machicolation and crenellations. A straight mural stairway leads to fourth floor level which has a fireplace and a number of window recesses. There are mullioned and transomed windows in the south wall. A small room below fourth floor may be reached by a steep flight of steps. A spiral stairway leads to roof level and another steep stairway goes down from the spiral stairway to another small room. A garderobe at fourth floor features the entrance to a secret room. This is a rectangular hole in the floor which could be closed by a slab. The secret room below has no steps leading to it and there are no windows. There is a good slopstone leading off the main room. The roof walk is intact although the roof is missing. The walls rise on two sides above the level of the allure to form another storey. There are a number of hinge stones at the doorways and evidence of wicker centring. The tower is vaulted above the third storey. There is a double latrine chute exit at ground floor level and the tower is well provided with narrow square-headed slits, including some corner slits. A short distance from the tower is a small round turret which may be all that remains of a bawn.
At Kells there is a large mill (S495435) with remains of an undershot wheel about 7m diameter and 2m wide. Only the iron rim and a few wooden paddles remain. A wheel mark on the outside of the mill wall indicates a second wheel of similar size and type. The mill is five storeys high and twelve bays long. Upstream is a smaller mill of three storeys and five bays (S494436) with an intact wooden undershot wheel. It was viewed from a distance. The bridge across the King's River has eight arches upstream and five arches downstream.
Kells Augustinian Priory (S499434) was investigated. It is a fine example of a fortified priory. It is divided into two wards, the upper ward having four towers with connecting walls. The walls are well provided with defensive loops and there is a fine gateway with a machicolation. There is a moat inside this ward along the dividing wall. A strong tower stands at the bridge over the moat which goes through the wall of the upper ward, at which opening there is another machicolation. There is another tower in the wall of the lower ward. Within this ward are the remains of a church and other buildings including a residential tower of about four storeys. The church is greatly ruined. To the north of the choir is a chapel featuring a double piscina at two levels. There is an aisle between the north transept and the nave. In the upper ward the two corner towers have machicolations over the doorways. The tower at the east end has two fireplaces and a mural stairway.
Monday 10 February
Two raths close together were inspected (S110400). The one to the east is very clean and has a low bank and an outer ditch which is deep in places. The diameter of the platform is about 35m and the ditch is up to 4m wide. The other rath also has a bank and ditch. The ditch and rath platform are both marshy and the bank and ditch are overgrown with whin and thorn. The platform is about 25m diameter. Both raths have the entrance in the east and may be set within a larger enclosure. There are traces of a third rath to the east.
The Rock of Cashel (S074408) was viewed from a distance. St Dominic's Priory, Cashel (S075406) was viewed from the outside. It has a very fine east window and a good west window. It seems to be a rectangular church with a narrow central tower. There are some remains of buildings to the south. A castle was noted beside the bridge at Golden (S011384). It is a round tower about half of which remains. It features a round musket loop.
Athassel Augustinian Priory (S010362) is approached over a fine four-arched bridge leading to the remains of a gatehouse. This building originally had two round arches but the inner one has been rebuilt as pointed. There may have been three storeys and a high-pitched attic. The building is set in a fragment of a perimeter wall. The church and other buildings lie about 100m to the east. The original west doorway of the church is now situated at the west end of the choir. It is a fine pointed arch. Little remains of the nave of the church. Within the choir is a double effigy. The taller figure is apparently female. The smaller figure is headless and is possibly a male cleric. On the east wall of the choir is a slab with two incised figures, a male and a female, holding a cross between them. There are some coffin lids with floreated crosses. The choir is lit on the north and south by lancet windows and there is a three-light east window. There are remains of two piscinas in the south wall and a sedilia in the north wall. Fragments of the tower rise above the west end of the choir. Above the second storey there was a vault and there were two storeys above this. The south transept of the church rises to about three storeys and a spiral stairway rises to roof level. A partially blocked doorway leads from the roof of the transept into the tower. High on the outside of the tower is a crude carved face. Only fragments of the cloister remain. There are ogee-headed arches within deep round-headed recesses. A number of vaults lead off the cloister. The building to the south of the cloister has two good vaults. This building originally had two storeys plus attic, the west end of which is lit by three lancet windows.
There is another castle in Golden (S007385).Very little remains of a rectangular tower about four storeys high. There is a vault above the second storey and remains of a mural stairway. It is greatly overgrown with ivy.
A round castle (R983406) is intact to second floor level. About half the original doorway remains and it is protected by a murder-hole. There is a large rectangular room at each level and a mural stairway rises to the upper levels. No smaller chambers were noted. There are fireplaces at the first and second floors and the first floor is lit by two windows, the smaller one having an ogee head. At the roadside nearby is a boulder with a possible bullaun.
A large rath was inspected (R965408). The platform is about 5m high and 40m diameter. The entrance is in the east where there are some traces of an outer bank and ditch. The edges of the platform are overgrown but the centre is clear. A low mound in the centre may be a house platform. A tree-stump grows out of this mound.
About 1km south is an excellent tower-house (R968397). It stands to full height but without crenellations. There is a good doorway with a murder-hole. To the right is a guard chamber and a mural stairway rises to the left. The ground floor chamber has three large recesses. There is a vault above the second floor and the stairway becomes spiral above this. Here the original stairway has been replaced by replaced by a skeleton-like metal spiral stairway which seems firm but was not tested. It seems to rise to roof level. There seems to be a small mural chamber at second floor level but close inspection was not possible. The rooms are lit by small slits at the lower levels and there is a two-light window about third floor level. There are no corner slits or bartizans and the total height is about six storeys.
A castle was approached over a causeway across a stream and marsh (R953386). It sits on a small rocky outcrop. It is about four storeys high and about half of the building remains. It is vaulted above the second storey and lit by single-light windows. The corners are rounded.
The motte at Kilfeakle (R958372) was inspected. It is a steep motte with a good bailey to the north. It appears to be bisected by an old wall, a fragment of which remains. Two standing stones were noted in passing (R890390). A third stone was noted about 1km north of the previous sites. A rath was investigated (R902417). It has a good ditch and outer bank. Both are overgrown but the rath platform is clear. The diameter is about 30m. The castle at Donohill (R905432) is a motte surmounted by a statue and a small fragment of wall. There is a small bailey to the north.
A large round castle was investigated (R925468). There is a large rectangular room at each floor. About half the doorway remains. To the right is a large guard chamber and a broad mural stairway rises on the left. A murder-hole guards the entrance to the ground floor chamber at the bottom of the stairs. The tower is vaulted above the first floor. The stairway changes to a spiral above the first floor and disappears above the second floor. There are a number of mural chambers at the various levels. A fireplace at the third floor leads to a chimney which rises above the roof level. There are mullioned windows with square hoods at the top floor and at least one slopstone. The tower is five storeys high plus attic and is guarded by four machicolations at roof level. At the roadside beside the castle is a good well.
Two fragments of a castle were noted in passing (S036519). There is no sign of the castle marked on the other side of the road. Another castle fragment was noted in passing (S038527). A fragment of a round castle was inspected (S021562). Most of the doorway is missing. There is a vaulted rectangular room with a mural stairway leading above the vault. Only a few fragments of the upper storeys remain and the rubble around the entrance indicates that the rest of the tower may soon fall. There are traces of a murder-hole over the doorway.
The wedge-tomb at Loughbrack (R906592) was inspected. It is in fairly ruinous condition but most of the major orthostats are there. It is about 8m long by 3.5m wide and there is some evidence of double walls. A slipped capstone lies inside the chamber and there is a small antechamber about 1m deep. The stones are less than 1m high.
The standing stone at Baurnadomeeny (R846605) was viewed. It is about 3m high and 50cm square. The wedge-tomb (R846603) on the hillside nearby is a fine example. Although a large portion of the cairn has disappeared most of the structure of the monument remains. All the lintels are in place and cover a chamber about 7m long by 3.5m wide at the front. The antechamber appears to be divided by some standing stones. An inner kerb bounds a cairn about 9m diameter and an outer circular kerb is about 14m diameter. This outer kerb consists of stones less than half a metre high.
South of Rear Cross is Shanballyedmond Court Tomb (R844588). A two- chambered gallery about 5m long runs off a narrow court about 3m deep. There are remains of a cairn and a double kerb. The width at the front is about 10m and the length is about 12m. There is about 1m between the inner and outer kerbs. This presents a horseshoe-shaped structure similar to some wedge-tombs, but with the addition of the deep narrow court. The tallest stones form the portal and are about 1.5m high. Most of the stones in the kerbs are small.
Tuesday 11 February
Beside the Augustinian Priory in Fethard (S211350) is a large mill, five storeys high and four bays long. A stone in the wall indicates that the Abbey Mill was built by Patrick O'Connell in 1795. Over the doorway is a crane similar to a fireplace crane. There is no wheel but judging by the appearance of the millrace it was undershot. Two French burr stones lie outside the mill. The nave and south aisle of the priory church are now in use. The north transept is ruinous. The aisle arcade has three arches and is unusual in that one of the pillars is traceried like a window. There are a number of carved masks throughout the church and a mid-17th century memorial.
A fragment of a castle was noted in passing (S218355). It is at least four storeys high and has a vault above the first floor. At the top floor is a mullioned and transomed window. A small tower was noted at Mullinahone (S336396).It is about four storeys high and only three walls remain.
A tower-house was inspected at Ballybur (S475492).It is about five storeys high and has a machicolation over the doorway. There are two mullioned windows at the top floor and another at second floor level. There are many narrow slits including corner slits and some slopstones. There are remains of a bartizan. A large fireplace on the ground floor may be a later insertion. The first floor is in place and there are fragments of the other floors. To the right of the entrance is a guard chamber and a mural stairway rises to the left. This changes to a spiral above the first floor. The tower is vaulted above the third floor. Many mural chambers lead off the stairway. A mural passage at the third floor leads to a garderobe with a latrine chute. Above the vault is a large chamber with deep recessed windows and a good fireplace. There is a good slopstone at this level. A small turret rises in one corner above roof level. In the yard beside the castle is a good pump.
St Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny was viewed from the outside. It is a large cruciform church. Beside it is a Round Tower standing to full height but with a modified top. Above a small gateway close to the main churchyard entrance is a good carved head.
Timahoe Round Tower (S537902) stands to full height. It is lit at the top by four pointed windows and two windows further down. One of these has a fine moulded hood. The doorway is a magnificently carved structure in the Irish Romanesque style. Close inspection was not possible because of the position but included in the decoration are the usual devices such as chevrons and masks, human and animal. Close to the tower are the remains of a church which was later fortified.
The Grand Canal basin at Vicarstown is complete with bridge and small warehouse (N615005). A motte was noted in passing (N661153). At Rathangan (N670190) canal locks were noted, also a mill (N675193) which may have an internal waterwheel. Another motte was noted in passing (N868301). The remains of locks at Kilcock were noted (N885395). Another small motte was noted (N810534) between Summerhill and Trim.