Parke's Castle

Francisco de Cuellar was a sea captain who sailed with the Spanish Armada in 1588. After being ship-wrecked on the coast of Ireland he was given refuge at O'Rourke's Castle. De Cuellar eventually returned to Spain and wrote about O'Rourke's hospitality. In 1590 the English heard of this and sent forces to destroy the tower house, O'Rourke fled but was eventually captured tried for treason and executed in 1591. In 1628 the 15th century tower house built here by O'Rourke was demolished down to it's foundation by English settler Captain Robert Parke, he used the stones to build a fortified 3-storey manor house on the eastern side of the bawn.

The castle, situated on the banks of Lough Gill, presents a real contrast between the exterior and interior of the bawn. The other three walls of the bawn, which include a lovely dovecote in the northwest flanker, and the stone buildings inside this courtyard all appear to be original. The Plantation castle forms the eastern side of the defensive walls that were once surrounded by a moat - a portion of which is still visible. The castle has been carefully restored by the OPW to include window glazing and a mortise and tenon Irish oak roof using techniques and craftsmanship of the 17th century. At the western end of the gardens there is a sweat house. We were fortunate to visit on a beautiful day and were very impressed with the castle and grounds.

The courtyard

Lough Gill

The courtyard with the foundation of O'Rourke's tower house in the foreground right. The tower on the right provided access to the ramparts.

The well house

Dovecote Interior

Situated: From Sligo take the N16 north. Then turn right onto the R286. Continue down this road for 8.5 kilometres and you will see Parke's Castle on your right.

Opening Hours: 1st April - 29th Sept: Daily 10.00 - 18.00. Last admission 45 minutes before closing.

Discovery Map 16: G 7822 3516. Last visit Sept 2010.

Longitude: 8° 20' 3" W

Latitude: 54° 15' 53" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

The sweat house

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