Tipperary, Cork and Kilkenny

Wednesday 27 July

A castle in Ballagh td (N346393) stands to about three storeys high but only in the south-west corner. There are good sections of the west wall. The castle appears to have been built in two sections; a shorter southern section and a longer northern section. It is very ruinous and what little remains is covered with ivy and there are few features to be seen. There are a couple of small square-headed windows and a good base batter. This is a Mageoghegan castle. The mill at Ballynagore (N355395) is five storeys high, six bays long and two bays deep, with projections on the west and south. This latter projection has remains of a cock-a-nanny and possibly houses a corn-kiln. The wheel appears to have been on the east wall where there are some remains which could not be closely inspected. There are good traces of the millrace.

Another mill was examined to the north-east of Horseleap (N300414). It is three storeys high and two bays long. There is small single storey section on the west side and a two-storey kiln on the north side. It has an internal wooden breast-shot wheel. There are two sets of stones. It also has a crusher built in 1902 and installed in 1928, made by Bamford, Uttoxeter. The mill was worked until about 1966. The townland is possibly Ballymill.

A castle was investigated (N280402). It stands four-square and possibly four storeys high, with a blocked doorway in the east wall and a latrine chute in west wall. The interior was not accessible but it appears to have a half vault over the ground floor in the east end. The mill noted at this location is possibly a small building close to the road but it could not be closely inspected. The site is close to a disused railway line, the Midland & Great Western Railway, the bridge of which spans the roadway.
A fragment of a castle (N264414) stands at the north edge of a polygonal mound. There is a south wall with a fragment of the south-east corner three storeys high. A rubble mound lies to the north but it is cut by the roadway.
The 'Abbey' to the north-east of Clara (N270337) consists of a number of very low ruins in a cemetery. The stones are mainly 19th century with a few 18th century examples. A number of collected fragments indicate the former presence of a decorated window.
Thursday 28 July

Ballynahow Castle (S083602) is a circular tower five storeys high with four machicolations at roof level. One of these is over the doorway which is also guarded by a murder-hole which leads from first floor level. To the right of the doorway is a curved guard chamber and a broad stairway rises to the left. There are vaults above the first floor and the third floor levels. The large ground floor room is lit by three narrow slits set within deep recesses. Each window is flanked by two small round musket-loops. Each of these loops has a narrow horizontal slit. The large room above the first vault has a fireplace. A garderobe leads from this room to a latrine chute. Above this a second garderobe is accessible from the stairs. The room above the second vault has large two-light windows with seats. There is a hidden chamber or oubliette accessible from this level.

Close to Laffan's Bridge is a castle (S192458) with a doorway in the north wall. The north end stands to full height but the south wall is missing. There are traces of a machicolation over the doorway. A spiral stairway rose in the north-east corner but only fragments remain. The small chambers at north end would have been accessible from the stairs. A large gap directly opposite the doorway is probably not original. The entrance to ground floor room was probably through the gap at the base of the stairs. There are very fine slit windows including a good corner slit. The small windows in the east and west walls are set in large recesses at ground and first floor level. There are no signs of any large window openings. There are traces of a vault above the third floor. To the north-east stands a fragment of another building which has a bartizan in the corner. This building appears to have had large windows and a fireplace. It is two storeys high with rooms in the gable.
Laffan's Bridge railway station (S190467) was examined. It is fairly intact with traces of two platforms. The small goods shed is still in use as a roadmenders'store. The main building is a three-bay single storey structure with a small canopy. Attached to this is a two-storey section at right angles to the platform. It has a bow window. It was part of the Great Southern & Western Railway on the Clonmel to Thurles section.

Grallagh Castle (S153491) has a doorway in the west wall and bartizans in the SW and NE corners. The doorway is protected by a possible murder-hole leading from the first floor however damage in this area makes the situation unclear. The exact nature of the inner doorway cannot be determined since there are two large gaps in the wall at the base of the stairs. There is a single vaulted room at the ground floor. It is lit by narrow slits set within deep recesses. A straight mural stairway rises to the right of the entrance along the west wall and turns along the south wall at first floor level. There is a single large room above the first vault. There is another vault above the second floor. There is a fireplace at the first floor in the north wall. There are some two-light windows at his level. The stairway continues along the east wall to above the second vault. A short flight of stairs in the north wall leads from the third floor to a garderobe. There is possibly a hidden chamber or oubliette under the stairs in this wall. A small hole in the wall at second floor indicates a space under the stairs. No entrance to this space can be found. A gap in the stairs (now blocked) at third floor level is the possible entrance. The large room above the second vault has a blind arcade along one wall. There are also some fine two-light windows with window-seats. There are a number of good slopstones throughout the building. There was a room above this large room which had a fireplace but access to this is not now possible.
During an enforced stop at Cahir a number of monuments were noted for future reference. These include a railway viaduct, railway station, a large isolated water-wheel and a ruined church with a traceried east window.
Friday 29 July
The Light Station at Mizen Head (V735233) now houses a museum and exhibition. The main theme is the Fastnet Lighthouse and its neighbouring stations. There is also a display of wildlife associated with the rocky shore and small islets. The Station sits on a small rocky islet connected to the mainland by a magnificent bridge. The cliffs display much evidence of a turbulent geological past.

A small circular explosives magazine was examined at Crookhaven (V807256). It is about 3m high and has an entrance in the east. There are traces of crenellations. It dates from the early 19th century and is associated with the nearby copper mines.
Dunmanus Castle in Dunmanus West (V846331) is a rectangular tower with a square projecting tower at the south-west corner. It sits on a rocky outcrop. The pointed doorway is in the east wall and above this is a large gap which may be a first-floor doorway or possibly a large damaged window opening. The large single ground-floor room is vaulted and there are no stairs. Access to the upper storeys was through a hole in the vault. There is a stairway rising through the east wall from first-floor level but this was not accessible. The bottom storey of the projecting tower can now be entered through a hole in the outer wall. The only other access to this room is through a rectangular hole in the vaulted ceiling. This arrangement suggests that this is a dungeon, hidden room or oubliette. The main tower is about four storeys high.
A rath in Dunmanus East (V858333) was investigated. It is about 40m diameter with an internal bank. There is a very fine outer ditch. The platform is quite clear but the ditch is greatly overgrown.

Cooradarrigan Mill (V940320) was viewed from the roadside. It has been renovated and features a very fine wooden overshot wheel. The interior could not be investigated.
Very poor weather curtailed the viewing of monuments. Rossbrin Castle (V979314) was viewed from a distance. It is greatly ruined although part of it stands to about four storeys high. Closer inspection was not possible and no details could be seen.
Saturday 30 July

The castle at Oldcourt (W083320) consists of a tower-house and remains of a bawn. The pointed doorway leads into a large vaulted room lit by a small slit. There are no stairs but an irregular hole in the vault probably marks the access point to the upper storeys. The building is in general poor condition and is situated at the water�s edge on a rocky promontory. There are good remains of the bawn but much of it is hidden by modern buildings.
The castle at Baltimore (W047265) is a two-storey hall, four bays long with room in the attic. There is a bartizan at the south-west corner. There are a mixture of single double and triple light windows. The castle walls rise from a steep rocky face on all sides except the east where there is a level space enclosed by a wall. The gateway in this wall is locked and the interior of the castle could not be inspected.

Rincolisky Castle in Whitehall td (W017304) was inspected. It is two storeys high with the entrance in the doorway in the east wall. There is another large opening at first floor level above the doorway. The large ground floor room is lit by one narrow window set within a deep splayed recess. The castle is vaulted above the first floor. There are no stairs leading from the ground floor but remains of stairs can be seen rising within the east wall to above the vault. There is a latrine-chute exit in the north wall at first floor level. The building is in quite good condition but half-covered with ivy.

Kilcoe Church (W022332) is a simple rectangular ruin with a pointed south doorway. The narrow east window has a very fine cusped ogee head and an exterior square hood mould. There is a similar but smaller window in the south wall. It is in less perfect condition.
Kilcoe Castle (W019328) appears to be a larger version of the castle in Dunmanus West. The main tower is about four storeys high and the flanking tower at the north-east corner is possibly six storeys high. The entrance to the castle is in the south wall and once again there is a large opening at first floor level above this. There is a single large rectangular room at the ground floor level and the castle is vaulted above the first floor level. There are no stairs leading from the ground floor but stairs rise within the south wall to above the vault. Access to the upper storeys was not possible. There is no access to the flanking tower from the ground floor of the main building and the interior of this section of the castle could not be explored. The castle sits on a small rocky island which is connected to the mainland by a bridge.
A rath in Corravoley (W025361) was investigated. It has a very high platform planted with hazel and other shrubs. The interior is greatly overgrown with bracken and bramble and could not be explored. There is a good surrounding ditch and outer bank except on the south side. St Barrahane�s Church, in Castletownsend, was visited. There are three very fine stained glass windows by Harry Clarke. On one wall is a large and detailed memorial to the Townsend Family which gives a complete family history. In the graveyard are the graves of Somerville and Ross.
In Farrandau td is Knockdrum Fort (W172310). This is a very fine cashel with walls over 1m high and over 2m thick. Just outside the entrance is a large boulder with many cupmarks. The entrance to the cashel is guarded by a sentry chamber on the right and just inside the fort on the left is a pillar-stone with a deeply incised cross with expanded terminals on the north face. The cross is about 20cm high. On the south face of the stone is a cruder faintly incised cross. Just off centre of the cashel is the foundation of a rectangular structure and within this is the entrance to a souterrain. A heavy grill prevented further exploration of the souterrain but from the outside it can be seen that the passage is partly stone-lined and partly rock-cut.

A mill in Russagh (W134322) was inspected. It is a double-gabled three-storeyed structure three bays long and aligned E-W. There are traces of a wheel on the east wall but close inspection was not possible. The building is being renovated and remodelled and the interior could not be closely viewed. However is possible to see that one set of stones is still in place. To the south-west is the miller's house which is also being renovated.
Sunday 31 July

At Leap, in Drom td (W207369), is a very fine mill, now restored as a dwelling. It is a two-storey building four bays long, with room in the attic. The present wheel is a lightweight structure. Beside the mill is a millstone and a pump.
Elizabeth Fort, in Cork City (W670713), now surrounds the local Garda station. It was built and rebuilt a number of times in the 17th century and two of the bastions can be explored. The major portion of the fort is hidden by ivy and the Garda building. On the wall outside the gate is a postbox from the reign of Edward VII (1901-10) with an Irish Free State {SE} door (1922-).
Labbacallee (R772026) is a magnificent wedge-tomb. The burial chamber is very complete with a number of large capstones and good orthostats. The antechamber is less complete and confused. At the back of the burial are some projecting stones which form a series of small stalls. There are good traces of a double wall and an outer kerb, especially on the south side. There is a small amount of cairn material.
To the north of Glanworth is a long rectangular church with a central tower (R756045). There is a five-light traceried east window and three two-light windows with ogee heads in the south wall. They are set within pointed recesses. There is a credence table and piscina in the south wall and a small doorway in the north wall. There are three small windows in the south wall at the west end and a large gap marks the position of the west window. The are good roof weepers along the top of the north and south walls at the east end of the church.
Athassel Augustinian Priory (S010362) is an extensive collection of buildings. It is reckoned to be the largest medieval priory in Ireland and was founded at the end of the 12th century. It is entered over a small four-arched bridge through the remains of a gatehouse. This is flanked by the substantial remains of the perimeter wall. The church was very long with a small three-light east window and five thin lancets in the south wall. Only four lancets survive in the north wall. There is a tomb-niche in the north wall and two piscinas in the south wall. There are remains of an effigy of a large figure and a small figure and attached to the east wall is an incised slab with two figures holding a cross between them. Only the south-west corner of the tower stands to full height but it was vaulted above the second floor. There is a very fine pointed doorway at the base of the west wall of the tower. This is probably the original west doorway of the church which has been re-erected in its present position. The nave shows traces of a north and south aisle. The south transept of the church had two east chapels. Some portions of the south and west cloister arcades have been reconstructed. There are ranges of buildings along the south and east of the cloister garth. The east buildings have good vaults above the ground floor. The upper levels are fragmentary.
Thomastown has a number of mills and remains of two tower-houses. There is also a ruined church.
Monday 1 August

Jerpoint Abbey (S573402) was explored. There are extensive remains of a cruciform church, cloister and east range. The 15th century cloister arcade has been reconstructed on the south and west. The arches of the arcade are round and are in groups of three. The pillars of the arches are dumbell-shaped in cross-section. The flat faces of many of these pillars have high relief carvings featuring clerics, knights and grotesques. Many of the capitals and bases of the pillars are also carved. At the north-east corner of the cloister is a carving of St Christopher. The cruciform church has two east chapels in each of the transepts and the crenellated tower stands to full height. There is a large traceried three-light east window which has replaced some narrow lancets. Traces of these may be seen. The north aisle of the nave has an arcade of six arches, the pillars of which have all different designs. The capitals of the pillars are richly decorated. The wall above the pillars is pierced by large round-headed windows. Only the bases of the pillars of the south aisle arcade still exist. There are three round-headed lancets in the west wall. There are a number of tomb chests within the church. These are richly decorated with saintly weepers and there are some high relief effigies. There are also some slabs with incised effigies and other decoration. In the south wall of the chancel is a triple sedilia and a double piscina. In the north wall there are three tomb niches.

Kells Augustinian Priory (S499433) was visited. This huge fortified priory is divided into two wards. The north ward contains the church and priory buildings. The larger south ward has a strong curtain wall with five towers. The three towers in the south wall have garderobe projections. The curtain wall has many defensive loops. The entrance in the east wall is protected by a very fine machicolation and there is a second machicolation over a small gap to the north of the gateway. There is a fifth tower in the middle of the dividing wall between the wards and a sixth tower at the end of an extension of the east wall. The priory remains in the north ward are generally low but there is a large residential tower near the east end of the church. The church had a north transept and there was a north aisle in the nave. There was also a west aisle in the transept.

Kilree Round Tower (S496412) has a round-headed doorway and probably stands to full height. However it does not have a conical top. It stands beside a large church with antae at the west end. The eastern portion of the church appears to be of a later date and there are indications that there were antae at east end of the earlier church. The two sections are separated by an arch. There are some small square-headed windows in the east wall. In the field to the west is a very fine High Cross with five bosses on the west face and one boss on the east face. The cross is covered with spirals and other ornamentation. There is some figure carving but this is very faint.