16th Century Tower House

This ivy-clad ruin was once the home of the O'Donovans, an ancient Royal family from Gaelic times.  Driven out of their homeland in County Limerick by the Norman invasion, they settled in West Cork and in 1560 built the impressive Castledonovan in Drimoleague and this smaller version of similar design near water's edge on the east bank of Castlehaven Harbour.  Donall O'Donovan the 3rd and his family escaped from Castledonovan to Raheen Castle when Castledonovan was attacked in 1641 by Cromwellian forces.  Raheen was also severely damaged by Cromwell's naval forces, and cannon balls are still lodged in the west wall.  The tower house remained Donall's residence after that attack but was lost forever when the 4th generation Donall sided with the Spanish at Kinsale in 1601 and was defeated. Now only the west wall remains intact with portions of the south and north walls.

Situated: From Leap head west on the N71. Take the first left onto R597. After 2k turn right across the bridge. In Union Hall turn right onto Church Rd. Then follow the signs for Reen Pier, about 5 kilometres. You will see the tower house on your left.

Google Map

Discovery Map 89: W 1926 3210. Last visit Sept 2012.

Longitude: 9° 9' 49" W

Latitude: 51° 32' 9" N

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

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