Location – Just outside Terryglass on the shore of Lough Derg. The castle is signposted from the road but it is a little unclear how to get to the site. There are some holiday homes next to the castle but you have to find your way through a high fence to gain access which can be tricky.
OS: M 857 009 (map 53)
GPS: M 85796 00997 (Accuracy - 2m)
Longitude: 8° 12' 42.76" W
Latitude: 53° 3' 34.06" N
Description and History – This would have been a spectacular castle in its heyday and I was quite excited to visit the castle after seeing a picture of it in the Archaeological Inventory of North Tipperary. However in the near 20 years since that photo was taken the castle has been sadly neglected and it is slowly being overgrown by vegetation, making it hard to see fully and hard to get around. Nevertheless, I was still impressed.
Terryglass is another four-towered keep castle built by the Marshall family like Carlow and Lea castles. The castle was constructed between 1219 and 1232 by John Marshall. By 1232, John Marshall was listed as having significant debts to King Henry III who used the castle and surrounding lands as security against the debts. The castle was to change hands many times passing to Nicholas Dunheaued in 1275-1276, Theobald la Bottiller in 1289, William Marshall in 1290, Richard de Burgo in 1323 and James Butler in 1589. This is, of course, far from the full history and many of these were simply renting the castle and lands.
The current remains of the castle survive to first floor level only. The plan of the castle is a simple four-towered keep consisting of a rectangular area flanked by four circular towers with a base batter. The castle is roughly 17m in diameter East-West and 25m North-South. The entrance is located in the North wall and wooden stairs have been provided to gain access as the entrance is slightly off floor level. The North-East tower may have functioned as a prison as there is no access point on the ground level. A spiral stair is located in the North-West tower but could not be accessed upon visiting as certain portions of the castle are gated off. Arrow-loops are located throughout the castle. A curtain wall was located at the site but is now missing. Floor-levels would have been wooden but the castle appears to have been rather small in stature. While other Marshall castles such as Carlow and Lea are very imposing structures, this castle may have only been two storeys high. In 1333 the towers of the castle are described as being 12 feet in height. It would be, therefore, an unusually short castle.
It is definitely worth visiting and the sooner the better as unless something is done soon the castle will be lost in the undergrowth.
Difficulty – A little difficult to find and the castle is quite overgrown as is the surrounding wooded area.
For more castles, click here.
For more site in Co. Tipperary, click here.
The picture in the Archaeological Inventory for North Tipperary is taken from the same angle and is completely free of vegetation.
You can see the stump of the curtain wall here. Also in the far left of the picture you can just see a now closed guest lodge.