Wednesday 31 October
A tower-house (N551441) was viewed at some distance from the roadside. It is about five storeys high and has a doorway in the northeast wall. There is a possible chimney near the SW corner and an addition at the NE corner. All the window openings appear to be large but it was not closely inspected.
At the Bishop's Grave (N545452) is an upper portion of a High Cross with a broken arm now attached by a metal spike. It is very plain with some moulding and a church-shaped finial but no ring. Beside it is a small carved stone, possibly part of the shaft of a smaller cross, with a small bullaun on top, now full of water and money. Beside this is a good rag-tree. These are all inside an old graveyard with a small fragment of a church. Most of the stones in the graveyard are modern.
The "abbey" at the Pass of Kilbride (N515443) is the low ruin of a church and a number of ring-headed crosses dating mainly from the 19th century. There are some other stones from the 18th century.
Near Rochfortbridge is a castle (N452413) with a doorway opening in the south wall. It is two storeys high and measures about 8m N-S and 14m B-W. A continuous vault runs E-W over the first floor. There is no sign of a stairway or access to the upper levels but a large gap in the vault at the east end may mark the position of the stairs. Window gaps occur in the south and west walls but are now at floor level. There is a large gap in the east wall. A series of earthworks extend northwards from the castle and a short distance to the northwest is a mutilated motte.
The castle at Judgeville (N411330) appears to consist of two ivy-covered fragments, one tall and one short. It was not closely inspected. Another castle near Kiltober (N393326) is a large ivy-covered pile close to a. modern house. A small overgrown motte (N383322) was noted in passing.
A castle and mill were investigated (N387307). At the mill site is a series of roofless buildings including a house beside a stream. The only clue to the former existence of a mill is a fragment of a millstone. The castle site was viewed from the roadside. All that is visible is a wooded rise and a small fragment of a wall.
Another mill (N358290) is a two-storey building with a recent corrugated iron roof. It has the remains of a wooden breast-shot wheel. A short distance away is a double kiln which sits at right angles across the end of a double-gabled building of stone and yellow brick.
At Tullamore (N342252) is the premises of P & H Egan, Maltsters 1852, featuring malt-houses with three ventilators. The extensive range of buildings was viewed from the outside and sits at the end of a short inlet of the Grand Canal. The premises are still in use and apparently still process grain.
A castle was investigated (N326252). It stands to full height but with no crenellations. The doorway in the west wall is damaged. There is a complete wall bartizan at the SW corner and a fragmentary bartizan at the NE corner. The doorway is protected by a machicolation at roof level and there are fragmentary remains of a murder-hole. Extending westward from the tower is a ruin of a two-storey house with a ground-floor fireplace in the west wall. Only fragments of the west and north walls remain. The interior of the tower is almost gutted. There seems to have been a guard-chamber to the right of the doorway and a spiral stairway rose in the NW corner. Very little of this remains and the upper levels of the castle were not accessible. The tower is four storeys high plus attic and there is no trace of a vault. There is a chimney in the north wall with a fireplace at the first floor. The bartizans are at the third floor. The castle is lit mainly by small single-light windows with some ogee heads. There are two-light windows at the ground floor. There is a cross-shaped loop and some round loops and a slopstone at the second floor.
Near Ballycowan Bridge a small church was investigated (N303255). It has a small two-light ogee-headed east window with square hood moulding. The stones in the graveyard date from late 18th century to modern and there are a number of winged angels' heads. Fragments of all the church walls remain but only the gables are intact.
Ballycowan Castle (N294253) appears to be originally a rectangular tower with doorway in the east wall. An addition is attached to the east to give the building a T shape. This addition has a fine series of mullioned windows, some with transoms. There are three chimneys on the north wall with fireplaces at second, third and fourth floors. There is a broad curving extra-mural stairway to the first floor. The older building is vaulted above the ground floor. There are five vaulted rooms. There are traces of mural stairs in the south wall but most of the SW corner is missing. There is a bartizan at the north-east corner and the north gable has a chimney. There is a projecting chimney-breast in the west wall. The present doorway is surmounted by a fine coat of arms and there are remains of a machicolation. The castle stands downstream from a bridge and lock of the Grand Canal and a short distance to the west is an aqueduct.
At Rahan is a small ruined rectangular church with no special features (N258255). It stands at the edge of a modern graveyard. At the north edge of the graveyard is a cruciform church. The nave and chancel are now occupied by the Church of Ireland. It features a very fine round east window with chevron decoration. The large window below this has decoration copied from a church further to the east. The transepts are ruinous. In the north wall is a good single-light window with very fine decoration; a beast swallowing its tail, a bird and another winged beast which appears to have three legs. It has a cross-shaped surround. Further to the east is a ruined church standing to full height with high gables and a Romanesque doorway in the west wall. This is a single- order arch with chevron decoration and a round hood mould with beast label stops. The capitals have foliage decoration. There are two narrow windows in the south wall. One has an ogee head with some decoration and a square hood mould. The east window also has decoration which includes a small mask on the hood mould.
At Roscrea the remains of the Franciscan Friary, in Parkmore townland (S135889), consist of a rectangular church with central tower standing to full height. There are indications of a north aisle arcade (now blocked) at the west end. The surroundings of the tower have been castellated and the building now appears as a fortified gateway. A number of stones have been built into the wall including fragments of tracery, possibly from the east window. The tower has mullioned and transomed windows on all four sides. Only the north and east walls of the church remain.
Thursday 1 November
Ballynahow Castle (S083602) is a circular tower with the entrance in the east. There are four machicolations at roof level, including one over the doorway. The tower is vaulted above first floor and again above third floor. A spiral stairway rises to the left of the doorway and the guard-chamber on the right has an ambry at its inner end. The ground floor room has small slit windows set within deep square recesses. This gives the floor plan a cruciform appearance. The stairway rises to roof level. There is at least one slopstone at a window leading off the stairs. The murder-hole above the doorway leads from a small chamber at first floor, which is accessible from the stairs. The second floor room has a very fine fireplace in the west wall with some rope decoration at the edge. The room is lit by two-light windows in the SW and NE. These are flanked by small musket- loops. There is a single-light window in the NW and the stairway is in the SE. There is a garde-robe in the south wall, a chamber in the east wall and an ambry in the north wall. At the third floor there is another garde-robe in the south wall. A small chamber in the east wall does not have a floor. The room above the second vault has a fireplace in the south wall and is lit by three two-light windows. There is an ambry in the east wall. A hole in the floor near the north wall leads down to an apparent secret chamber within the thickness of the wall. The stairway continues to rise to roof level along the east wall. The good roof walk is interrupted by the rise of the stairs at the east side. Traces of gables may be seen at the east and west.
The old church at Ballycahill (S065597) is a rectangular structure with a doorway in the south wall protected by a machicolation. The graveyard contains a mixture of memorials from late 18th century to present day. One stone features a good crucifixion scene including dice (Benane family later to become Bannon).
Kylecrew Watermill (S033619) claims to be in working order but it is in very poor condition. The all-metal overshot wheel has thin spokes and is about 5.5m diameter and less than 1m wide. There is a good stone/concrete channel leading to a fragmentary wooden flume. The mill is three storeys high. The ground floor presumably holds all the gearing but was not accessible at this time. The first floor has the stones and the top floor is a store. This floor can be entered from the upper ground level but there does not appear to be any access from this floor to the lower levels. The stone-floor can be viewed through gaps in the upper floor. The mill is stone-built with some renovations. It is four bays long by one bay deep with an outshot at the back. It was originally built in 1851 and renovated in 1936. It features a metal fox as a weathervane.
Knockagh Castle (S087619) is a round tower-house with the entrance in the west. There are traces of four machicolations at roof level but none exactly above the doorway. The entrance is greatly ruined, only about half the worked stone is in place. It is guarded by a murder-hole. To the right is a large guard-chamber with an ambry at the inner end and a fine corbelled roof. To the left, at the end of a short passage, rises a spiral stairway. The entrance to the ground floor room is at the bottom of the stairs but it is not directly opposite the outer doorway, although there is now a large gap here. This castle differs from Ballynahow in that the ground floor windows do not have the large square recesses. There appears to be only one window at ground floor level. The castle is vaulted above the first floor and the murder-hole leads from a small chamber at the first floor. The stairway is broken above this level and access to the upper floors is difficult. There is only one vault. There are fireplaces at the second, third and fourth floors. There is a chimney stack on the south wall and traces of gables in the east and west walls. At the second floor, in the north wall, is a garderobe and another in the east wall at third floor. The stairway ends at the top floor which is missing, making access to the roof impossible. A number of windows opening off the stairway feature lower hinge-stones.
The castle at Borrisoleigh (S032670) is a rectangular building with a vault over the ground floor running E-W. The east wall of the castle is missing and only the south wall stands to full height. A flanking tower projects from the SW. The castle is cloaked in ivy and stands at the SW corner of a walled enclosure which may be the bawn. The castle marked, at R989675 is a ruin of a substantial house aligned approximately NE-SW. It is two storeys high with a chimney in the SE wall and an oven in the north corner. Only the north and east sections stand to full height and the walls are less than lm thick. To the south-east are traces of other rectangular buildings.
The castle near Sallypark (R974727) has little of interest. An archway in the south wall may be a postern gate but it does not appear to lead anywhere. Nearby is an uninteresting church ruin and graveyard.
At Ballynakill Castle (S099855) a gutted tower-house and remains of a later house sit inside a large rectangular bawn. The tower may be four storeys high and the original entrance is in the east wall. It is guarded by a wall machicolation. All worked stone has been removed but the murder-hole is clearly visible. It would appear that the inner and outer doors were staggered as at Knockagh Castle. There is a guard chamber to the right of the doorway and a spiral stairway rose on the left. This stairway would appear to have been quite broad but only the stairwell now remains. There is a chimney in the north wall and traces of fireplaces can be seen. The large later house is also gutted and has little of note. The bawn wall has some large gaps but there are traces of the wall walk and some defensive loops. There is an arched gateway in the south and another in the north. In the middle of the east wall is a small projecting tower and there are traces of a bartizan at the southeast corner.
Cranagh Castle (S162696) is a circular tower-house attached to a large 18th century mansion. It has a pointed doorway in the south. Although the door was open the interior could not be fully explored owing to the absence of the owner. The stair rises to the left of the doorway but was not investigated above first floor.
Friday 2 November
Castle Fogarty (S054594) is a large Victorian mansion, three storeys high by five bays deep and eight bays long. It was burnt in the 1920s. It is aligned approximately N-S. The entrance is in the south wall near the SE corner where there is a fairly large square tower. There is a smaller tower at the SW corner and a larger rectangular tower at the NW corner. There is a fine series of crenellations some of which are carried on corbels. There are a number of attached outbuildings including, to the NW, a stable/farmyard which may be Georgian. Farney Castle (S067578) was briefly glimpsed in passing. It appears to be an old round castle attached to a later two-storey house.
Holycross Abbey (S088543) was visited. The church has been fully restored and part of the cloister has been reconstructed. Some buildings to the east and west of the cloister are now in use as offices and shops. The church has a magnificent tower with good crenellations. There is a very fine reticulated east window and a good variety of traceried windows in the east wall of the transepts. Just under the eaves, particularly on the north side, is a fine string course featuring masks, beasts and foliage. Inside are many features of note. On the west wall of the north transept are traces of a mural painting featuring a hunting scene. There are a number of fine piscinas in the church which feature a shelf above the basin. To the right of the altar is a magnificent triple sedilia with a large carved canopy. To the right of the tower-crossing is a structure resembling a box-tomb but surmounted by a double row of pillars giving the suggestion of a rather chunky display case. It is thought that this structure may be associated with the display of the fragment of the True Cross after which the abbey is named. There is a fine owl carved high on the wall at the junction of the nave and north transept. There are a number of carved masks. The most common carvings are masons' marks which are concentrated on the pillars supporting the tower. Several different marks can be found:- a broad, shallowly carved L; a small knot like a figure-of-eight; a three-pronged device like a fleur-de-lys; a rosette. Some of these are highlighted by rubbing but many can only be found by careful searching.
Castle Otway (R945697), near Templederry, is a mid-18th century house with two storeys plus basement. It is seven bays wide and four bays deep with a pedimented breakfront centre. Behind it is an old rectangular tower. In the 19th century the space between the structures was built up and the tower remodelled. Both sections are castellated and have pointed windows. There are extensive outbuildings.
A rath was investigated (R923723). The entrance is in the east and it is surrounded by a ditch with enclosing banks. The defences are heavily planted with whin and thorn making close examination difficult. There is some low thorn in the southern section of the platform but otherwise only long grass.
At Ballynaclogh (R892750) is a ruined nave-and-chancel church with a south doorway and a small mask on the chancel arch. There is a two-light east window and a bell-cot on the west gable. It stands beside a derelict church with a west tower. This church is oval or elongated octagonal. Across the road is a portion of a Tudor house attached to a Norman house. Some portions of a castle wall can be seen as well as a low motte.
At Raththurles is an extensive earthwork (R907805) with a small roofless rectangular church with a north doorway. The earthwork appears to have a large low central platform surrounded by a very wide ditch and an outer bank. It is greatly overgrown and the size and true nature of the structure could not be determined.
Two raths were briefly inspected (R893809). The one closer to the road has an outer bank, a ditch, an inner platform and a central mound. It is planted with mature trees. There appears to be a banked connection with the other rath which was not closely inspected.
Tyone Abbey (R878782) is very overgrown and ruinous. The church has traces of some two light windows set within deep round-headed recesses but the west end is almost totally gone. If the cloister existed it would have been south of the church but there is no trace. There are extensive ruins to the south and west.
Saturday 3 November
Annagh Castle (R833896) stands to full height in the south and west. There are traces of a vault above the third floor and possibly one storey above that. A spiral stairway rises in the southeast corner. The window openings from first floor upwards are now large holes within deep recesses. The position of the doorway is not clear since most of the walls in the north and east are removed. The stairway leads to a passage running along the south wall at first floor level and round the corner to a garde-robe. There are indications that there is another garde-robe above this. A similar passage occurs at third floor level but damage about halfway along prevented close examination. There seems to be a chamber leading off one of the window recesses in the west wall at second floor level but this was not accessible. There are traces of wicker centering in many places and some slopstones under the narrow slits leading off the stairway. A three-light mullioned window at the fourth floor has a square hood-mould and some lozenge decoration.
Annagh Abbey, near Coolbaun, has an overgrown church ruin of little interest. The graveyard has a fine collection of stones, the main feature of which is a large IHS flanking a cross. This occupies most of the upper half of the stone. They date from the late 18th to early 19th century. Other motifs include angels heads, sun and moon, and an open hand. One stone has two cockerels, sun and moon, a little face, ladder, instruments of the passion and an open hand. Another features a face inside a sunburst surrounded by Gloria in Excelcis Deo. On the other side are cockerels, a dove, angels, sun and moon. Inside the church at the east end is a mortuary-house with a stone (not contemporary) dated 1682.
A castle near Borrisokane, on the Ballyfinboy River (R898935), has a large gap in the west wall and at least one of the upper storeys is missing. It is vaulted above the third floor. The entrance in the east wall is by a fine pointed doorway. There is a large guard chamber to the right and a stairway rises to the left. Evidence of any murder-hole is now gone. Straight ahead is a large ground floor room with windows set within deep recesses. There is a fireplace at the first floor in the south wall. The straight stairway soon becomes a spiral. At the first floor a passage in the south wall leads to a garde-robe in the southwest corner. There is a good corner-slit here with a fine splay an the inside. There are traces of a slopstone at the east end of this passage. The stairway above first floor level is fragmentary and access to the higher levels was not possible. On the outside south wall near the east end, at about first floor level, is a very fine sheila-na-gig.
The castle near Kyle Park (R885957) has a partial covering of ivy. The entrance is again in the east wall and the arrangement of guard chamber and stairway was as in the previous two castles. However the stair and most of the stairwell is now missing. A passage may be seen in the south wall as before and there are traces of a latrine-chute in the west wall. There is a vault above the third floor and possibly two storeys above that. There are good hinge-stones (top and bottom) at the entrance to the passage at first floor level. There was a possible bartizan at the NW corner where there are some corbels in place.
The Dominican Priory at Lorrha (M9l6O44) is a long rectangular church. There is a west doorway with a two-light window and bell-cot above. At the west end there are lancet windows in the north and south walls. At the east end there are six two-light windows in the south wall and traces of a five-light east window. The box-tomb against the north wall at the east end has some fine decoration including the instruments of the passion. Opposite this is a double piscina and beside it a tomb-niche featuring fragments of a traceried hood. At the west end in the north wall is another double piscina and a plain tomb-niche. A wall partly divides east from west and there is another tomb-niche here. A short distance to the north of the church is a small tower. The series of gravestones noted at Annagh Abbey are well represented here. There is one trapezoidal coffin lid featuring a floreated cross and some early memorials including one of 1689. The Catholic church nearby features a holy-water stoup with a very fine carved angel and three masks an the outside wall.
Lorrha Augustinian Priory (M920046) has a fine doorway in the west wall featuring a female head as keystone. It is richly decorated with flowers, birds, interlacing and a pelican giving blood. There are angels at the ends of the arch. It is surmounted by a two-light traceried window with a hood mould. The rectangular church has a two-light window in the east and north walls and an ambry in the east wall. The south doorway leads to a vaulted room. Inside the church is a plain trapezoidal coffin-lid with a large plain cross. The nearby parish church has a decorated south doorway which also features a pelican. The Church of Ireland, occupies most of the eastern portion of the parish church. At the west end is a ruined residential tower. Just outside the church is a portion of a High Cross. It is very weathered and features some interlaced panels. Further west near the edge of the graveyard is the base of a High Cross and a fragment of a shaft. It has greatly weathered decoration.
Clonony Castle (N052265) sits an a rocky outcrop near the southeast corner of a bawn. The gateway to the bawn is in the west wall and is protected by a machicolation. There are remains of flanking towers at the NW, SW and SE corners. All the flankers are well provided with defensive loops. The north wall is missing. Single- storey additions have been made to the west and south of the tower-house. The entrance to the tower is in the west wall and there are traces of a machicolation at roof level. A spiral stairway rises to the right of the entrance. The ground floor room has a small window in the north wall and a large window in the south wall set within a deep recess. There are possibly fireplaces in the east wall at ground floor and first floor levels. There was a vault above second floor and the walls are plastered. There appears to be a small chamber at the first floor in the south wall near the east end. The windows at the first floor in the east and south walls and the NW corner are set within large recesses. There is a passage along the west wall at first floor and a murder-hole leading from this guards the doorway. The stairway is broken above first floor level and appears not to continue beyond the vault.
A rath was investigated (N158528). It is about 40m diameter with a possible entrance in the west where there are a couple of large stones. The bank incorporates at lot of stone, some of which may be field clearance. There is no ditch or outer bank. On the other side of the road is another rath which was not closely inspected. It appears to be a simple platform with a bank and has been encroached on by farm buildings.
The remains of Ardnacrany Carmelite Monastery (N164526) consist of one wall at the edge of a graveyard. A commemorative plaque of 1985 states that the monastery existed from 1350 to 1650 and that the Carmelites returned in 1735 and were re- established in Moate in 1770. The burials are mainly modern.
Sunday 4 November
The castle near Kilshee (N093707) consists of a small fragment which is partly covered with ivy and of little significance. It was viewed from the roadside. Killeeny Abbey (N049720) has no remains of a church but five fragments of early gravestones are built into a wall. Nearby is a very fine bullaun-stone. The gravestones in the churchyard are generally late 19th century and modern.
At Richmond Harbour (N062758) the Royal Canal basin locks down into the river which goes under a fine five-arched bridge. Beside this is an extensive four-storey mill with an internal wheel. This is about 6m diameter and over lm wide. It has an iron rim and wooden spokes and paddles, some of which are damaged. The canal basin features a lock, a single-storey lock-keeper's house and a dry-dock. There is also a fine canal bridge. Beyond the mill is a ruined church (N060758). It is a rectangular building with a doorway in the north wall. The vaulted room at the west end has a fireplace and a stairway rises in the north and west walls to an upper storey. The single-light east window is set within a deep recess and there is a south window and an ambry in the north wall near the east end. The memorials in the churchyard are mainly 19th century and later with a few late 18th century stones. Near the road is a large bullaun-stone and some early stones, some featuring skull and crossbones, and one with key pattern and other carvings. The church beside the ruin was built in 1835. A short distance to the north is a fine Thomas Omer canal house.
Just outside Drumlish (N155860) is a small two-storey stone mill with remains of a breast-shot wheel. This is metal-rimmed with wooden spokes and buckets. It is less than lm wide and about 4m diameter. Although the interior of the mill is greatly worm- eaten two sets of stones are still in place and possibly three grain elevators. Another stone lies nearby. The building beside the mill houses a corn-kiln. The fireplace is visible but the drying-floor is not accessible. The portal dolmen in Melkagh (N161879) was not located.
Dromod Station (N055900) is a two-storey grey stone building built for the Midland & Great Western Railway. It has a passing-loop, goods-shed, water-tank, signal cabin and iron footbridge. Beside it is another station building of red brick trimmed with black and yellow. This is the terminus of the Cavan & Leitrim Railway.
Cannings Mill, Gorvagh (H081048) is a two-storey structure which is being repaired. It has a wooden and metal wheel. The separate corn-kiln has a complete drying- floor but the fireplace is not easily accessible.
The large church at Feenagh has a fine traceried east window. It has three masks on the inside and outside. There is a possible double sedilia in the south wall with masks as label stops. The west end of the church is vaulted with steps leading to above. A barley sugar twist moulding runs under the east window on the outside and there are corbel- stones at the four corners with masks. Outside the church is a good crucifixion slab of 1662. Otherwise the memorials are late 19th century and modern. A short distance to the north-east is a smaller ruined church. This seems to have had a south aisle. The west end is again vaulted but access to the vaulted room and above was not possible. There are some carved fragments on display.
The dolmen at Feenagh (H108080) has a broken capstone, a backstone, two sidestones, one portal-stone and one broken portal-stone. The intact portal-stone is about 2m high and the capstone is about 3m long by 50cm thick. A short distance to the south is a low cairn which has some kerbstones and appears to have a polygonal chamber. There is also a large standing-stone near the village (H107078).
Ballinamore Railway Station (H132115) was viewed. It is red brick with black and yellow trim and there is a goods-shed and platform. This is a station of the Cavan & Leitrim Railway.