Norman Castle

Within a short walking distance down the slope from Aghadoe Church and Round Tower is this very unusual 13th Century castle ruin. Built by a Norman conqueror following the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169 to defend his new territory, Parkavonear (from Paírc an Mhóinéir, the Field of the Meadow) is one of only a few Norman keeps that is circular rather than rectangular. Most Norman castles consisted of a rectangular stone keep surrounded by strong stone walls and ditch or a water-filled moat. Parkavonear is surrounded by remnants of a square earthen rampart.

The cylindrical keep is very simple, with walls 2 m thick and only two storeys tall joined by stairs built into the wall. The stairs stop on the second floor suggesting that two storeys were all that ever existed. The upper floor has the remains of a fireplace. The interior is about 9 meters in diameter. It is believed that the current entrance is a recent addition since it is more likely that the original doorway was on the second storey with a ladder entry, similar to round tower construction. The castle has become known locally as the "Bishop's Chair" or "Pulpit", perhaps because of its proximity to Aghadoe Church/cathedral. The views from this area are stunning, with gorgeous views of the Killarney Lakes.

Situated: From Killarney take the N70 west. After 1 kilometre take a right turn at Ballydowny Drive for 2 k. The Castle is on your left before the T-Junction. Walk across the meadow.

Discovery Map 78: V 9340 9268. Last visit July 2011.

Longitude: 9° 33' 18" W

Latitude: 52° 4' 33 "  N

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Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

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