Carrigafoyle Castle:  These Ruins Speak Volumes on the History of the Emerald Isle!

Southwest Ireland is home to Carrigafoyle Castle, which is located in County Kerry and Munster Province. Although the Castle is in ruin, you can drive there easily and enjoy the structure as well as the views over the water.

Carrigafoyle Castle.

Plan for the drive from Dublin Airport to take about three hours, with the journey winding primarily along the M7 until you hop on the N69 around Limerick and take it straight to the town of Tralee, home to Carrigafoyle Castle.     

Things to Know About Carrigafoyle Castle

Here are some fun facts about this amazing Irish landmark.  Hopefully they will entice you to pay a visit in person!

But if that is not possible, you can always use them to impress your friends with your knowledge of one of the most-visited attractions in Ireland.

  • The ruins of Carrigafoyle Castle, located in Ballylongford in the heart of County Kerry, is a monument with incredible historic significance.
  • Constructed using limestone bricks, the castle was erected in the 15th century as a way to oversee local shipping routes.
  • At the end of the 16th century, a siege on the castle occurred, destroying parts of the structure.
  • While the castle was never restored, the ruins can be toured to this day.
  • The name Carrigafoyle is an anglification of its Irish description. The phrase Carraig an Phoill in Irish, which translates into English as rock of the hole, sounds an awful lot like Carrigafoyle.
  • The name comes from the fact that the Castle is perched on a rock on the edge of the water. It overlooks a small bay off the Shannon estuary.
  • Its location was very intentional. Being surrounded by water made it much harder to invade the castle. In addition, it could serve as a lookout to oversee the surrounding shipping routes and protect the boats at sea.
  • Of note is the dock that was built as part of the castle. Ships could pull up and be tied to the dock while they were inspected, reinforcing Carrigafoyle as a shipping-focused castle.
  • Carrigafoyle was considered to be one of the strongest of all the Irish fortresses. This is impressive in its own right, and doubly so when you considered that it was built rather quickly between 1490 and 1500.
  • The Castle is five stories tall. A wide spiral staircase connects all the levels in an architecturally interesting way, which is another unusual fact about a very practical structure.
  • The castle is perhaps best known for what happened to it on Easter in 1580. That was the date of the Siege of Carrigafoyle.
  • The siege involved an English force of well over 600 soldiers led by the English Commander Sir William Pelham. Those protecting Carrigafoyle included 50 Irish soldiers and 16 Spanish soldiers who had only recently arrived at the castle.
  • The castle was bombarded over two days, and eventually the English won. The siege was considered a turning point, because the English made great progress from that point onwards.
  • You can still visit the castle, but the limestone structure is in ruins. Nonetheless, it's a beautiful site and a spot with plenty of fascinating history to tell.
  • You can find much more information on lovely Carrigafoyle Castle here.

Want More Irish Castles?

It is probably obvious - at Irish Expressions, we love Irish castles!  The Emerald Isle is dotted with hundreds of these incredible structures.  

Sharing pictures and stories about them gives us a deeper sense of connection with Ireland, wherever in the world we happen to be!

We have captured the most amazing pictures and descriptions of Irish castles in an e-book we call "An Illustrated Guide to Irish Castles and Abbeys."

This fun, free guide is available to you to download.  Scroll to the bottom of this page and enter your email to get instant access!

That Was Fun!  Where Can I See More?

Great question! As you can see, exploring the castles of Ireland offers many opportunities for enjoying an Irish experience and expressing your personal Irish side!

For more information of this kind, you might pay a visit to our section on Ireland Sightseeing here!