Foulksrath Castle:  Fun Facts About an Historic Irish Landmark

About 80 miles from Dublin in County Kilkenny is Foulksrath Castle, the famed tower castle of Leinster Province.   After you arrive at Dublin Airport, the drive to the Castle is quick and shouldn't take more than 90 minutes in typical traffic.

Irish Expressions - Fouklsrath Castle.

Head to the south of Dublin, hop on the M7 heading south again and then exit onto the N77 to lead you to Foulksrath Castle in Jenkinstown.     

Things to Know About Foulksrath 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.

  • Foulksrath Castle, known in Irish as Caislean Ratha, is a tower house that was constructed by the Anglo-Normans in the 14th century.
  • Located in County Kilkenny, the castle was given to the English after the English Civil War, and by the 19th century it was owned by the Swift family, descendants of author Jonathan Swift.
  • The castle is famous for being the place where the first Irish version of a plane was launched. The castle served as a youth hostel until recently, and it is now up for sale.
  • In 1349, construction began on the original Foulksrath Castle. The name of the castle likely came from the Fulco de Frene, whose family was responsible for building Foulksrath. 
  • Early damage to the castle meant that extensive rebuilding was necessary by the 15th century. At that point, the Purcell family, relations of the de Frenes, were the primary residents of the castle.
  • During the English Civil War, Foulksrath was confiscated by Cromwell's army. Although the castle became the property of an English army officer, the Purcells still lived on the land.
  • In the 18th century, the castle was rented to Thomas Wright. The Wright family lived in the castle for more than a century and were known for their missionary work in Asia.
  • In 1857, Godwin Meade Pratt Swift patented the aerial chariot. This was Ireland's first aircraft, and it was launched from the castle roof using a catapult!
  • This attempt at flying might be historic, but it was unsuccessful. The castle's butler served as the pilot, and he suffered multiple broken bones after the plane crashed nearly instantly.
  • By 1946, the castle was neglected and empty. It was purchased by An Ă“ige, or the Irish Youth Hostel Association.
  • All the way up until 2009, the castle was a very successful and fascinating youth hostel. In recent years, however, it has been purchased by private owners who have restored the castle beautifully. Local zoning codes permitting, they have plans to turn it into a bed and breakfast at some point in the future.
  • The castle was featured in a 1992 episode of the TV show Ghost Hunters. Legend tells of a female ghost who wanders the halls because she was imprisoned by her father after he found out about her lover.

You can find more information on this important Irish landmark 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!