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OS Grid:V949310
15th c tower
Schull, Co. Cork
private site


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the four story tower looks like it's being eaten by shrubberies

Ardintenant Castle (also called White Castle, Ardintenane, or Ardinterran) is a small 15th century tower house held by the O'Mahony family. The four story tower is in good condition (at least, it seems to be under the complete covering of ivy that appears to have eaten it). It is roughly 10m x 8.5m. The faint remains of a ringfort surround the castle, although we didn't see much evidence of it beyond a few rough stones in the turf.

The castle lies on the Roaringwater Bay, near the town of Schull, in Cork. The name of the castle is not Gaelic, despite the common place-reference of 'Ard-' (height) in the name. It is perhaps a bastardization of french 'ardentennant', (good servant). I found a half-dozen apparently valid names for the castle, which is not uncommon. The original Irish name did not always translate easily to English, the English renamed everything, and the transcription of Irish Gaelic is not a precise science. Often there is a local name and a "proper" name for the same building.

yes, there is stone inside this green blob...somewhere

The castle is an O'Mahony stronghold, and is better preserved than the other remaining O'Mahony castle, Dunmanus. The family has held a Gathering at the castle several times since 1960, most recently in July of 2003. Their newsletter announcing the Gathering has some lovely pictures of the castle from 1980 with a lot less greenery. Ardintenant Castle beside Roaringwater Bay was the seat of the chief of Iveagh, one of the eight septs of the O Mahony clan. The clan held castles at Rathlin, Ringmahon; Dunbeacon; Dunmanus, Rosbrin (which are all nearby on the MIzen Peninsula),; Blackcastle (Schull); Ballydevlin,; Dromdeely,; and Ballymodan.

The top story of the castle has window seats and there is a latrin in the northeast corner castle wall. Not much of the detail is visible under the ivy, and since this lies on private land, we didn't venture inside, although we did wander around for pictures outside. It was tempting, though, as the tower has doorways on the south wall on both the ground floor and second story.

A few pieces of the bawn wall remain, although these look more like giant hedgerows than stone walls, and are completely covered in shrubbery and ivy. We weren't sure that the green blob above actually had any stone inside of it, but Mark snuck a quick peek and said it certainly looked like it belonged to a castle wall.

view of the south wall and doorways of the tower

lost in ireland 2005 travelogue and photos © rfingerson