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A Survey of Monuments of Archaeological and Historical Interest in the Barony of Bunratty Lower, Co. Clare by William Gerrard Ryan

Part 4: Castles and tower houses c.1500
Chapter 38: Kilfinaghta Parish


Nat. Grid Ref. R478655; ½” Sheet 17

Site of Cappagh Castle (1979)
Site of Cappagh Castle (1979)

R.C. Parish : Sixmilebridge - Kilmurry
Townland : Cappaghcastle
6” O.S. Sheet number : 52 (Co. Clare)
Reference : 26.1 cm South; 15.2 cm West
Height (G.L.) : c. 80’ O.D.
1” O.S. Sheet number : 133 (Sixmilebridge)

For information on this levelled Tower House see: a) above photograph b) information overleaf.


Though represented on the relevant 6” O.S. Sheet as the site, only, of a castle field examination did find some actual trace (Photo 1). Admittedly this was limited but it does give some indication as to the size of this former site. In the centre of outcropping limestone a c. 17 metre square slight depression occurred. This was defined, in part, by the 1 ½ - 2 metre wide foundation blocks of a wall.

Originally the top of this site must have had a wide view over the surrounding lowlands. We are fortunate that a pen drawing, admittedly very small, of the site appears in Dineley’s Drawing (see Ballyarrila Castle section also Kilfinaghta Civil Parish for a copy of this drawing).

In common with other sites in the area this Tower House may have been constructed in the 1470 A.D. era. By 1580 A.D., according to the College List, it was the property of one John Mac Namara.

Frost provides some interesting facts on the later history of this site. He states:-
“… After the Mac Namaras were deprived of their patrimony the Castle of Cappa became the inheritance of the Earl of Thomond (O’Brien). During the siege of Bunratty, in 1646, it was garrisoned by Colonel Mac Adam with a company of musketeers under Sergeant Morgan. These were captured by the Confederate Catholics on the 13th of May (1646). The castle was afterwards converted into a windmill, at which the Earl’s tenants were bound to get their corn ground…” (1893, page 63).

For a detailed treatment of this siege refer to O’Brien: “The Siege of Bunratty”. The Other Clare, Volume 2, (1978), pp 15 – 18.

One of the millstones associated with this old mill is still to be seen outside the forge at Cappagh village.


1893, pages 63 and 539.