County Kildare

Maynooth Castle, County Kildare

This large and very solidly built Castle dates back to the early 1200s when the great keep (pictured right) was constructed probably by the FitzGeralds of County Offaly.  The curtain with its long thin gatehouse would have been added in the following century or so, judging by the design, although little documentary evidence exists.

In the 1530s the Castle was owned by "Silken Thomas", Lord Offaly, who rose against English domination in 1534.  The rising failed and the Castle was taken from Thomas and passed to the new Lord Deputy of Ireland, William Skeffington.  Skeffington bombarded the Castle with the first siege guns to be used in Ireland and, having promised amnesty, proceeded to massacre the garrison, leading to the Irish colloquial term "Pardon of Maynooth". The Castle was returned to the FitzGeralds in 1552.

The Castle was abandoned during the 17th Century and seems to have fallen to ruin quite naturally, although it is well preserved and is one of the largest Castles in the area.

Maynooth Castle is owned by Páirceanna agus Séadchomharthai Náisiúnta na hÉireann (or the Irish Ministry of Works) and is open to the public on a key-keeper basis. On the occasion of his visit Andrew had the Castle all to himself (save for the pigeons).

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