Ballycarbery Castle

Where is Ballycarbery Castle?

Ballycarbery Castle is situated 3km from Cahersiveen, in County Kerry, near the 2 Ring Forts. It is just off the Ring of Kerry (see my web page here).

When was the large castle built and for whom?

Ballycarbery Castle was built on a hill in the 16th century and was the home of the McCarthy Mor Clan. When you find Ballycarbery Castle you will see how impressive it looks. The huge castle was surrounded outside by a high wall but only some of it remains.

Some of the walls of the castle have fallen and there are 3 rooms on the ground floor. There is a staircase up to the first floor but this is very dangerous.  On the first floor, there are two big rooms. From one room you can look out a window at the Fertha River. 

Ballycarbery Castle in Castlequin, Cahersiveen
Ballycarbery Castle in Castlequin

It sits on the edge of the sea so you can take lovely photos of the castle and its surrounding landscape. It is picturesque and beautiful with ivy growing on the back wall. The ruin makes an impressive sight at high tide when the water is calm.

McCarthy Mor Clan imported goods from European cities by the sea and they were quite wealthy. The castle was facing the sea overlooking the mouth of the bay.

Directions to get to Ballycarbery Castle?

Locals call it “over the water”. You take the road down passed Cahersiveen town library. You will see Cahersiveen Castle (Old Cahersiveen Barracks) on your right. Drive across the bridge and keep going until you arrive at a crossroads. Turn left and keep going until you hit a Y in the road. Keep to the left of the Y. The car park is 100 m on the left.

What is the local legend about Ballycarbery Castle?

Local legend has it that Ballycarbery Castle and the Leacanabuaile & Cahergal Stone Ring Forts (see my web page here), located a short distance away, was connected by a tunnel. I can believe it because there is a souterrain and there are other small tunnels contained in the 2 ring forts. The forts are well worth a visit and best of all the attraction is free.

What has been done to preserve the ancient Castle?

Oliver Cromwell attacked the Castle in 1652. Most of the damage was done by the cannonballs but laid for centuries to the Irish weather. It is a listed building but there is no work done, over the years, to preserve the castle.

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It is a shame that more wasn’t being done to protect the crumbling ruins because it is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, castles on the Iveragh Peninsula.

Since 2017 you cant explore Ballycarbery Castle because it has been closed to the public. The land it is on is privately owned. So, you can only admire its beauty from the car park 100m away. You can take pictures from the car park or the beach beside it. The best time to take great pictures is in the evening from the beach.

Lastly, the place is used for wedding photos. You are on private property so you will have to ask the owner’s permission.

Check out my web pages on the Ring of Kerry Drive, The Skellig Ring and Slea Head Drive.