K3D – Oughterard Tower House

Oughterard Tower House in 3D

Model by V-SENSE, text from the Historic Environment Viewer


Castle – Tower House (National Monument KD015-007006-)
Description from the Historic Environment Viewer: Although Oughterard was the site of an important Anglo-Norman manor/borough (KD015-007001-), there are no early references to a castle, the only mention dating from 1636, when a John Alen died holding a castle and ten messuages there (IRC 1826, Car. 1: 68) On a SE-facing pasture slope. A four-storied, rectangular structure (ext. dims. L c. 7.2 NW-SE; Wth c. 5.5m NE-SW) with three rounded corners at N, E and S, is built of roughly coursed, rubble limestone masonry. At the W corner, the SW wall projects (L 2.5m) beyond the side of the building, and may have originally enclosed a stairway. The barrel-vaulted ground floor is entered through a partially robbed, segmentally arched doorway at the N end of the NE wall. The ground floor is lit by two irregular, double-splayed loops, one each in the NE and SW walls, and by a narrow single splayed loop at the W corner of the SW wall, while a blocked recess at the centre of the NW wall may have contained another window. There is a fireplace in the NE wall. Corbels on the SE and NW walls indicate the floor-level of a large loft under the vault, above which a further two floor-levels survive. The loft is lit by two double-splayed loops, one each in the NW and SE walls. However, there is no obvious means of access to the upper floors above the vault, which is un-pierced, and suggests there was an external stairs-tower, possibly on the W angle where the NW wall extends beyond the main structure. A shallow machicolation is supported by three corbels on the NE wall at the second floor-level and a robbed ope in the NW wall may have accommodated access from an external stairs. Third floor-level was partially converted into a dovecote. A narrow string course with drain holes is visible at wall walk level, and low, incomplete parapets also survive. (Bradley et al. 1986 vol. 4, 402-4).

Compiled by: Gearóid Conroy

Date of upload: 10 June 2011


  • 1. Bradley, J., Halpin, A., and King, H.A. 1986 Urban Archaeological Survey – County Kildare (4 vols.). Unpublished report commissioned by the Office of Public Works, Dublin.

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