Situated near Clarina, Carrigogunnell Castle is superbly situated on a volcanic rock with a marvellous view overlooking the whole Shannon estuary. It consists of a multi-sided enclosure, fortified by a strong wall probably of 15th-century date, in a poor state of preservation.
The ruins of Carrigogunnell Castle dominate the lovely pastoral land surrounding the volcanic peak on which it was built mid 15th century on the site of an earlier structure. The shattered limestone Keep was once over 50 feet high with 5 stories and a spiral stair, and there was a later house adjoining the tower with additional buildings, all fortified by a strong wall. The land had been granted by King John to Donchad Cairbreach O’Brien in 1209 and had been a very important stronghold of the O’Briens for centuries.
It was destroyed following the 1691 siege of Limerick — although the garrison sheltered by the castle took no part in the actual siege and surrendered without a fight, the English did not need the castle so they destroyed it with a large quantity of gun powder, attesting to the sad shape that it is in today. Yet the castle has inspired songs to be written about it and is now and has been for generations a place where young people congregate to “sport and play the live long day”.
We too thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Carrigogunnel. There is a track to the south east that leads right up to the rear of the castle, followed by a very short walk. The views from the ruins here are simply gorgeous. Situated: From Limerick take the N69 South west. After 6k turn right for Tervoe. Then turn left.
Take the 2nd right and park at theend of the track. Then walk 50 metres. Since at least the late medieval period the name has been associated with Irish Gaelic for “rock of the candle” During the second siege of Limerick of the Williamite War in Ireland, the castle was occupied by a force of 150 men for King James II. In August 1691 the Dutch general Godert de Ginckell sent Lieutenant-General Scravemore with a strong party, and four guns, to take the castle. The garrison surrendered, and were marched to Clonmel as prisoners of war. Shortly after, in September 1691, de Ginckell ordered Carrigogunnell slighted and it was blown up.