Castles in the District


Nothing but the foundations now remain of a prominent tower house that once stood between the Liffey and Castledillon monastery. In 1271 William de Mandesham of Kavesham was granted the lands of Tristildelane. The tower house of Castledillon passed to the de Hereford and Rochford families (1359). It was burned in the wars of 1641-2 but unusually was recorded in the 1659 census as having “being since repaired by Mrs Bowell” increased in value from £60 to £50. It remained intact until the 18th century until it rapidly fell into disrepair and stones were removed from the site in the first half of the 20th century. Monitoring of development undertaken on 25–26 July 2001 led to the recovery of pottery sherds of both medieval and post-medieval date from a layer of fill. This material was introduced to the site, at some unknown time in the past, in order to fill a natural hollow. See map


Adam de Hereford had bestowed the lands on the Abbey of St Thomas, along with Wochtred (Oughter Ard) after being given large territories of land by Strongow. The name Castlewarden appears to be derived from Warinus, Abbott of St Thomas’ Abbey in 1268 – Castellum Warin (Latin). In 1377 John Leche, nephew of Hugh de Warin, and physician to Edward III, was grantee by patent of Castle Warin and other lands in Kildare. The Castle was burned by order of William Parsons and John Borlase in 1641 but was restored and remained in good repair until the 18th century. See map


Castle at Lyons

Castle at Lyons

Lyons castle was burned in 1332 by the O’Tooles according to the Book of Howth. As eat fo the Tyrrell and then Aylmer families it was an important manor, castle and parish. Anglicised names which occur in the calendar rolls are Lewan (Calendar of State papers) 1217, Leuan in 1223, 1224, 1225, 1228, 1230 and 1260, Lyons in 1272, Lyons (Ecclesiastical Tax 1322), Lions (Calendar of Carew MS 1535 and 1537) and eventually as Lyons after 1541. See map


Castle at Oughterard

Castle at Oughterard

Oughterard became a Royal Manor and Borough in the 12th century and a ruined castle nearby dates to 1300. Plough headlands from medieval times can still be seen in fields adjoining the churchyard.

Daniel O’Connell (1775–1847) fought a duel with John D’Esterre on February 1, 1815 in an adjoining field, then a part of the Ponsonbys’ Bishopscourt estate. O’Connell described a Dublin Corporation provision for the poor as “beggarly” on Jan 24 and was issued the challenge from John D’Esterre, a champion of the conservative and Protestant cause at the time. D’Esterre died as a result of his wounds. A detachment of cavalry sent out from Dublin arrived too late to prevent the duel taking place. A commemorative boulder having been removed, the exact site was re-established in 2007 after consultations with local people.

In the film Mission Impossible 3, Tom Cruise’s character is told that the American President is unavailable “because he is fishing in Oughter Ard Co Kildare.” The Grand Canal holds fish and runs about 1 km to the north. There is no river in Oughter Ard, although the nearby Morell and Liffey rivers are known for their fishing, and the absence of a water source has been commented on as unusual by historical geographer Tadhg O’Keefe and others for such an important medieval manor and borough. See map


Puddlehall moat

Puddlehall moat

A well-preserved moated site at Puddlehall dates to the 13th century and was cited by University College Dublin Professor Sean O Riordain as one of the finest examples of a moated house in Ireland. The remains of a castle are also to be found on the church grounds. See map


Reeves Castle

Reeves Castle

Reeves derives its name from the nearby river Liffey which loops within 300m of the tower house rather than a family name. The castle was burned in 1641 but listed as in good repair in 1649 and is prominently marked in Alexander Taylor’s 1783 map of Co Kildare. See map


A castle near the monastic site was erected around 1350. In 1508 William Preston enfifed Archdeacon Robert Sutton and Thomas Cornwalshe, Vicar of Stamullen, with the manor of Whitechurch (alias Tullaghtipper), “containing the town and lands of le Tunryng (alias Surnyng), Clonyng, Killenmore, Killbregaghe, Killussy, Rathmore, Collenbakeston, Ardress, Cloghle, Osberiston and Clanswhiche”.

Whitechurch graveyard

Whitechurch graveyard

In 1557 Patrick Sarsfield of Tisteldalen, great great granduncle of Patrick Sarsfield of Siege of Limerick fame, obtained a pardon from the English colonial government and in 1560 obtained the lease of White Church alias Tullatipper. Local Landowners in the 1654 civil survey include Alerian, Weisley of Daingan, John Bath of Culpe, William Sarsfield of Lucan, Edward Allen of Bishopscourt and Robert Rochford of Kilbride. Maurice Eustace of Whitechurch was named by his father in a 1663 letter to Lord Justice of Ireland. Whitechurch and Lyons castles are identified on map by Baptista Boazio and Renold Elstrack in 1599 – a copy can be viewed at the public library in Tallaght.

See map

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s