National Monuments


Drishane Castle – Millstreet:

The lovely Castle and grounds of Drishane have been the focal point of local history and folklore since pre-Christian times. The castle, built by the McCArthy Clan between 1436 and 1450, is seated on a limestone rock on the southern bank of the river Finnow. A prominent and important feature of the castle is the tower, commanding a beautiful view of the chain of mountains which, commencing with Claragh, run 30km in an uninterrupted line to Killarney. In 1909, the Sisters of Infant Jesus operated a very successful boarding school for girls until its closure in 1992.

Drishane Castle, Millstreet Town, Co. Cork.
Tel: 029-70707

Dromagh Castle:

Dromagh Castle, of the O’Keeffe’s, boasts impressive ruins with four circular towers approximately 50 feet high guarding a square court. The O’Keeffe’s, having been driven westwards from Fermoy, also established castles at Duarigle, Drominagh, and fortified homes at Ahane, Ballymaquirk and Cullen. In 1651 Lord Muskery marched out of Dromagh Castle for the famous battle of Knocknaclasy where the last hope for the Confederate Irish was quenched. It is now in the possession of the O’Leary family, who receives many visitors from all over the world.

Dromagh Castle and Farmhouse, Mallow, Co. Cork.
Tel: 029-78013

Kanturk Castle:

This is one of the largest and finest castles ever undertaken by a Gaelic Chieftain and was built for Dermot MacDonagh McCarthy, Lord of Duhallow. Much local legend surrounds the castle and the reasons why the roofing was never completed despite the rows of heavy corbelling prepared for the parapets. It is said when work was abandoned, the coloured window glass was dumped in a nearby stream, known as ‘The Blue Pool’. The castle is owned by the English National Trust but is set on a 1,000 year lease to An Taisce. Kanturk Castle remains the focal point of the McCarthy Clan gathering to this day, and is well worth a visit.

Kanturk Castle, 1 mile outside Kanturk, Co. Cork.

Mallow Castle:

Mallow Castle stands in its ruined state in the 40 acre deer park. The present herd of white fallow deer has 16th century origins. They were gifts by Queen Elizabeth I to Sir Thomas Norreys, who built the castle here in the late 16th century. The second castle built in 1690 is owned by the McGinn family who operates it as a super standard luxury holiday home.

Mallow Castle, Mallow Town, Co. Cork.

Conna Castle:

This Tower House is perched on a rock overlooking the Bride River. It was residence of Sir Thomas Fitzgerald until his death in 1599. The castle was later granted to Richard Boyle. In present times it sets the scene for an annual rock concert, held every June.

Conna Castle, East end of Conna, just off main road, Co. Cork.

Glanworth Castle:

As you traverse Glanworth’s 12 arch 15th century bridge, Glanworth Castle beams down from its proud perch on a cliff of rock alongside the River Funcheon. Within the bawn are the remains of a square 13th century gate tower. Excavation uncovered a "sheela-na-gig", a pre-Christian female fertility statue, in one of the vaulted ground floor chambers.

Glanworth Castle, Boherash, Glanworth, Co. Cork.

Liscarroll Castle:

Liscarroll Castle was built about 1280. A very large Keep survives with four Towers. This is said to be the third largest 13th century castle in Ireland.

Liscarroll, Mallow, Co. Cork.

Abbeys & Churches:

Tullylease Church:

St. Berehert founded the old Gaelic monastery here on the "hill of the huts", from which Tullylease or Tulach derived its name. The monastery, like most at that time, consisted of a central church, a little house for the superior and huts or ‘cillins’ for the monks and students. The present abbey has two holy wells nearby. Prayers are said at this site all year, but particularly Feb. 18th. Early grave slabs on the site include one erected to St. Berehert about 700AD. Tullylease was one of the last strongholds of druidism in this part of Munster.

Tullylease Church, Tullylease, Co. Cork.

Ballybeg Augustinian Friary – Buttevant:

One of the area’s most important buildings in mediaeval times, mentioned in the "Pipe Role" of Cloyne, a 13th century Papal report. Philip de Barry, who is buried in the crypt, founded the Friary between 1229 and 1237. A slightly later church and 15th century tower occupy the site, which also boasts a columbarium, one of the best preserved in the British Isles, which housed over 350 pigeons.

Ballybeg Friary, Buttevant, Co. Cork. 1.5 miles south of Buttevant, just off main Cork-Limerick road.

Buttevant Franciscan Abbey:

This abbey was founded in 1254 by Donal de Barry, grandson of Philip de Barry, and dedicated to Thomas a Beckett. The ruined abbey, of which only the church still remains, contains a skeleton-filled two story crypt together with some well preserved sarcophocis.

Buttevant Franciscan Abbey, Main Street, Buttevant, Co. Cork.


A 1199 foundation of the Knights Templar, relinquished in 1307 to the Knights Hospitallers. The Irish Chieftains attacked and took possession from the late 1400’s until 1790, Owen McCArthy, was the last Master of Mourne. The church, mill tower and boundary walls from extensive and impressive ruins, currently undergoing restoration.

Mourneabbey, South of the main Cork-Mallow road, 4 miles from Mallow.

Bridgetown Abbey – Castletownroche:

Alexander FitzHugh Roche founded this Augustinian Priory in 1224, which was at one time home to 300 monks. Situated at the confluence of the Blackwater and Awbeg rivers, this beautiful setting has been the ancient burial place of the Roche Clan.

Bridgetown Abbey, 2 miles south of Castletownroche, Co. Cork.

Castlelyons Abbey:

Founded in 1307 by John de Barry for the Carmelites. It was confiscated at the time of the reformation of 1541 and came into the hands of Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork. In the 18th century it was used as a hedge school.

Castlelyons Abbey, Castlelyons, Fermoy, Co. Cork.

Coole Churches – Castlelyons:

These early churches show the architecture of the Celtic Church and the early Norman Church. There is a holy well adjacent to the churchyard.

Coole Churches, 4 miles east of Castlelyons, Co. Cork.

Glanworth Abbey:

This 13th century Dominican Priory, adjacent to the castle, was desecrated in the 16th century. The Priory’s fine gable tracery window, now restored, was once incorporated in the nearby 1812 church.

Glanworth Abbey, Boherash, Glanworth, Co. Cork.