Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Granny Castle, County Kilkenny

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Granny (also known as Grannagh) Castle is located on the banks of the River Suir in south County Kilkenny, just 5km outside Waterford City. The castle was originally constructed by the de la Poer family in the mid thirteenth century, however the de la Poer's (who later became Anglicized to Power) fell out of favour with King Edward III, and forfeited much of their land.

The castle and its lands were given to the powerful Butler family in 1375 and they are responsible for most of the visible remains. The square enclosing wall with its projecting towers at the south-west and south-east angles has a look of the late thirteenth – early fourteenth centuries. The main tower of the castle appears to date to the fifteenth century and is in keeping with the fashion for tall fortified tower houses, that both served as a means for defence and an illustration of the wealth, power and status of the lord.

The tower-house was a popular style of defensive structure among all of late medieval Ireland with both the Anglo-Norman population and the Gaelic Irish gentry adopting it. It is most numerous in the southern half of Ireland, particularly in Counties Kilkenny, Wexford, Cork, Tipperary, Limerick, Clare and Galway. Tower houses are particularly common in the region under Anglo-Norman control known as The Pale, as in 1429 the English government paid £10 subsidy (a substantial fee at the time) to encourage people to build these defensive structures at a time when many of the Gaelic tribes were becoming resurgent again. The fine oriel (projecting bay) window probably dates to the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century. 

Granny Castle is very handily located just off the N24 Limerick - Waterford Road about 5 minutes outside Waterford City. It is visible to the right as you approach Waterford on the N24, just before the M9 Motorway. Take the right hand turn before the M9 motorway roundabout. When you turn onto this road there will be a small lane to the right which leads down to the castle. There is limited parking along this lane.   

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