Mallow Castle: The Sixteenth Century Fortified House at Mallow, Co. Cork

View of the south-facing side of Mallow Castle showing one of the projecting wings.

When passing through the town of Mallow, Co. Cork, Mallow castle, which is situated just off the N72 on Bridewell Lane, is well worth a visit. It is picturesquely situated in its own grounds overlooking the River Blackwater and is a haven from the bustle of the town. The sixteenth century fortified house is one of three buildings on the site, there is a mainly nineteenth century mansion to the north and remains of an earlier thirteenth century castle to the east.

The sixteenth fortified house may have been built by Sir Thomas Norreys, Lord President of Munster, before his death in 1599. After his death the house passed to his niece Elizabeth and her husband Sir John Jephson in 1607 and their descendants lived at Mallow Castle for almost 400 years. The house is a long rectangular three-storey building. It has two polygonal towers on the north-west and south-west corners and wings project from the centre of the north and south walls. The entrance is in the northern wing. The towers and wings would have provided a field of fire around the entire house. The prominent windows are square-headed, mullioned and there are musket loops in the walls.

The House was besieged by Richard Butler, Lord Mountgarret, a Confederate Commander in 1642 during the Eleven Years War but was not taken. James Tuchet, Lord Castlehaven, another Confederate Commander captured it in 1645. During the Williamite War 1689-91 the House was badly damaged and it was abandoned by the Jephsons. The castle and grounds were acquired by Cork Co. Council in 2011.

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Further reading
Sweetman, D. 1999. The Medeival Castle of Ireland. Cork, 180.

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GPS coordinates 52.13391,-8.63903

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