Probably the best surviving structure of the O'Sullivan Beare clan, it is being beautifully preserved to arrest further decay. Although one side of the tower house as fallen, parts of the bawn wall and corner defences remain, giving one a good impression of how it must have appeared in its heyday.  

Carriganass Castle is a 16th-century tower house in County Cork. It is situated about 8 kilometres north-east of Bantry, close to the village of Kealkill, in West Cork. It is situated  just east of Kealkil, near Bantry, where it stands guard over the crossing of the River Owvane by a bridge across a rocky gorge. It was built around 1540 by Dermot 'An Phudair' O'Sullivan, a member of the O'Sullivan Beare sept (or clan), who wielded considerable power in West Cork during the 16th century and early 17th century.

The castle passed through the hands of various members of the O'Sullivan clan during a period of internal feuding lasting until 1601, when the O'Sullivans united to support Hugh O'Neill at the Battle of Kinsale. Following the English victory at Kinsale, one of the commanders, Sir George Carew, pursued the O'Sullivan forces back to their base on the Beara Peninsula. A small garrison was left at Carriganass while the bulk of the O'Sullivan force returned to Dunboy Castle; Carew's army easily captured Carriganass before continuing on to lay siege to Dunboy. The O'Sullivans were subsequently dispossessed, and the castle later passed into the ownership of the Barretts, who retained it until the 1930s. During their tenure, a new house was built next to the castle, which deteriorated into its present ruinous state.

Carriganass Castle is a typical 16th-century Irish tower house, with a 4-storey tower surrounded by a 14-foot-high outer curtain wall or bawn. The main tower is perched on a rock overhanging the Ouvane river, and has 4 corner turrets. The main entrance to the castle was via a gate in the north wall of the bawn, which had 4 corner towers, the main tower being set into the west wall of the bawn. The castle is now in ruins, with parts of the main tower collapsed.

Carriganass Castle marks the intersection of a number of key West Cork walking routes. 


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