The Restoration of Carriganass Castle

Dan O’Sullivan remembers cows being milked, and grain being stored, in the grounds of Carriganass Castle. His father even made baskets in one of the remaining corner bastions.

That was before Dan’s brother, Joe, and his wife Anne, donated the castle to the community in the year 2000, so that it could be restored and made safe for visitors.
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‘The biggest initial challenge’, says local historian Dan O’Sullivan, ‘was to harness local energy and imagination.’

The community in the local village of Kealkill and the three surrounding valleys rose to that challenge magnificently. The castle was restored to its current state thanks to the contributions of a huge number of skilled local people who donated their time and labour over many years to contribute to this landmark project.

Generous Support

The project could not have been completed without the generous provision of support from a number of bodies. The Ireland Funds provided $37,000 in the initial stages, and further support was provided by the West Cork Leader programme which supports rural development.

The work also depended on help from private individuals who donated funds towards the costs of restoring the castle, and of developing amenity areas and parking facilities that would encourage visitors to spend time at this historic site.

A Living Monument

Carriganass Castle is once again part of the life of the community. Each year at Halloween, the castle hosts what must be one of Ireland’s most atmospheric celebrations of a feast that links the present with the past. In the summer, the castle is a popular spot for picnics and paddling in the River Ouvane which passes below its walls.

Carriganass Castle is the most significant remaining monument to the O’Sullivan Beare clan. It’s also an important landmark on the map of one of Ireland’s most significant historical journeys, ‘The Flight of the Earls’. It is a tribute to the community – and the commitment of the Carriganass Development Association in particular – that, after many years out of the spotlight, this historic monument is once again a striking presence on the West Cork landscape.