From the northwest

Cullahill Castle

15th Century Tower House and Sheela-na-gig

This five storey high 15th century tower house majestically stands proud above the tops of the surrounding trees. Built by the MacGillapatricks c.1425 the castle suffered badly from local attacks supported by the crown before finally being destroyed by Cromwellian forces in the mid 17th century. I approached the castle from the southwest via the R 693. The views of the castle from here are quite splendid. The top image, which was taken from this road, shows the remains of the castle chapel in the foreground. Sadly as I neared the castle I could see the extensive damage to the northern side, practically all of the northern wall and the north side of the west wall are missing. The tower, which is located in the southwestern corner of a large seven-sided bawn, had a straight mural stairway to the upper levels and was vaulted above the ground floor. High up the south side of the east wall is a superb sheela-na-gig. This stern looking female has big ears, unusually broad shoulders, sagging breasts. and a pronounced rib cage. She appears to be holding the vulva. There are no legs present. To view the Sheela properly you would need to enter the farmyard through the gates pictured in the bottom image. I could not locate the owner at the time so took the sheela images from the southside. A visit is strongly recommended.


Located half way up on the east wall

From the northwest

Taken from the R693

Situated: I took exit 4 from the M8 and turned left for Johnstown. Cullahill is located 10k north of here. I stopped at Grangefertagh Round Tower and Glashare Castle on the way up.

Discovery Map 60: S 3553 7403. Last visit Apr 2019.

Longitude: 7° 28' 22" W

Latitude: 52° 48' 58" N

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Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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