Dunkerron Castle

Dunkerron Castle, located in Templenoe, near Kenmare, is a remarkable and striking four-story tower house that has stood the test of time. Built-in the 13th century as a Norman stronghold, the castle has a rich history that spans over 800 years

Architecture

The castle’s architecture is a unique blend of Norman and later styles, featuring an enclosed court from the late 16th century. This style, characterized by interlocking stones forming arched structures, was commonly used in castle construction for stability.

The craftsmanship and engineering skills of the builders, along with available resources, are evident in the castle’s impressive four-story tower house.

The castle is now a partly ruined yet still picturesque structure by the shore, surrounded by small gardens and new plantations. The southern side has collapsed, taking parts of the eastern and western walls with it.

Despite being in ruins and later additions like a Victorian Manor House (Dunkerron House) and holiday homes on the estate, Dunkerron Castle remains a significant historical site and a popular attraction for tourists.

History

Dunkerron Castle holds great historical significance as the former stronghold of the influential O’Sullivan clan.

Originally constructed in the 13th century as a Norman fortress, it later became the residence of the O’Sullivan Mór family from the late 16th century onwards.

The castle’s narrative is closely intertwined with Ireland’s complex political landscape during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Following the Cromwellian conquest, the castle was given to Cromwellian supporter William Petty. Despite several failed attempts by the O’Sullivan family to reclaim their estates, by the 19th century, Dunkerron Castle lay in ruins.

With its strategic position on a limestone outcrop and its impressive four-story tower house design, the castle stands as a notable example of Norman architecture.

Its historical connection to the O’Sullivan Mór family and its significance in the local history of County Kerry make Dunkerron Castle a treasured historical landmark enriching the cultural heritage of the region.

Directions to Dunkerron Castle

  • Travel west from Kenmare on the Sneem Road for about 2 miles
  • Find Dunkerron Holiday Homes (on the left) and spot the castle situated behind them

When is the ideal season to explore the castle?

The ideal periods for visiting Dunkerron Castle in Kerry are spring and summer. During these times, you can enjoy favourable weather conditions for exploring the castle and its vicinity.

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