Castle View House Carrig Island, Ballylongford, Co Kerry, Ireland - Hosts: Patricia & Garrett Dee
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Aghavallen Church has a interesting story. It dates back to the 14th century With the reformation, it became a Protestant church and remained so until 1840 when it was abandoned for a new church built nearby, where Lord Kitchener was baptised in 1850. This church no longer exists. The cemetery holds the tombs of many of the landlord families of the area.
Carrigafoyle Castle, just two miles from Ballylongford, a tower built in 1490 by Conor Liath O'Connor Kerry. It is in unusually good condition. It is built of thin pieces of limestone, used almost as bricks. There are some attractive windows and archways. This is a very fine example of 15th Century Building. The illustration in Pacata Hiberna shows the unique features of this castle. The castle was strongly built and ingeniously situated. The wide spiral staircase of 104 steps leads to the battlements and in presentation and size it rivals Blarney Castle. It rises to 26.4 meters and gives an impression of great strength. The view from the tower is extensive. In the forefront Carrig Island and Scattery Island can be seen across the broad estuary of the Shannon.
Carrigafoyle Castle was the main stronghold of the O'Connor Kerry, the principal chieftain of the barony named after him. For 400 years they were an important part of the ever changing political and military jigsaw of those times. from here O'Connor Kerry was able to intercept ships going up the Shannon to Limerick, board them and take a part of their cargo. This practice continued until the middle of the 16th Century. In the Desmond wars, in 1580, the castle came under fire from naval artillery on land and sea, under the command of Sir William Pelham. Following a two day siege the castle was breached and taken on Palm Sunday 1580. All the occupants, comprising nineteen Spanish and fifty Irish were massacred.
Opposite the castle is the medieval Church of Carrigafoyle which is in the same style as the castle. Carrigafoyle Castle is one of our finest National Monuments.
Carrigafoyle Church was built in the 15th century for the inhabitants of the nearby castle. It was built on the site of an earlier church of St. Elton. The canons that were used in the attack on the castle were positioned in this area.
Carrig Island provides a sheltering arm for Carrigafoyle Castle. Little is known or remains of a building known as "the Old Abbey", i.e. predating Lislaughtin Abbey. Surrounding these remains and visible in the contours of the field is a circular ring associated with old ecclesiastical enclosures. Nearby are sites of ancient
cooking sites, dating back to 1000 B.C.
Lislaughtin Abbey was twice engulfed in unholy violence during the turbulent 16th century. When Cromwellian forces moved through this area in 1580, it was the death-knell of this beautiful Franciscan Abbey as a place of worship. The Abbey was built by John O'Connor, powerful chief of Carrigafoyle in 1470. Two of the O'Connor chiefs are buried within its walls. The fine East window remains intact. The beautiful Lislaughtin Cross is now in the National Museum.
Kilnaughtin Church, built in the 14th century, was the ancient parish church of Tarbert.
At Scattery Island two miles out in the Shannon can be seen the remains of seven small churches. It is a 6th century foundation of St. Senan. A 90 foot high round tower, dating back to 1200 A.D. is clearly visible from Carrig Island.
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