The castle is nearly triangular in shape with a projecting tower at the north-east angle. It is protected on three sides by the precipitous slope that surrounds it, with the entrance on the eastern side protected by a deep rock-cut ditch. A wooden drawbridge would have led to the interior of the castle through the two massive D-shaped towers. The drawbridge may once have had additional protection from outworks or a barbican gate but no clear above-ground remains of that can be seen today.
These towers are rounded at the front in the defensive style of the time with a number of arrow loops at varied levels to allow the archers defending the gateway to loose murderous volleys on the attacking enemy. The towers also have four stories at the rear that would have provided accommodation and living space for the garrison of Castleroache.
As you can see in the images of the eastern entrance side of the castle, there are a number of rectangular cavities regularly spaced along the wall near the top (the image above gives the best angle to see them). These are 'put-log' holes, and are evidence that once wooden battlements or hoardings, once hung over the side of the castle walls, similar to those that once surrounded the mighty Keep of Trim Castle, in Co. Meath. From these wooden hoardings, defenders would have been able to fire arrows and throw stones down onto anyone attacking the walls, adding to its already formidable defences.
|Area of Great Hall|
To find Castleroache from Dublin, head north on the M1 and exit at Junction 17. Take the first exit off the roundabout following signs for the N53/Castleblaney, continue out on this road until you see a right-hand turn signed for Castleroache and Forkhill, take this turn and follow the road, the site will be on your right hand side up a laneway. Park on road, and please be aware that the site is on farmland, please do not block any gateways and please ensure all gates are closed behind you. Simply walk up the slope through the field to access the castle, there is an interpretation panel on your right hand side when you enter through the gateway.
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All photographs © Neil Jackman / abartaaudioguides.com