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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 45: Tomfinlough Parish

GRANAGHAN MORE CASTLE (i.e. TOWER HOUSE)

Nat. Grid Ref. R443692; ½” Sheet 17

Photo 1: View into the surviving part of Granaghan More Castle, from the west
Photo 1: View into the surviving part of Granaghan More Castle, from the west

R.C. Parish : Newmarket-on-Fergus
Townland : Granaghan More
6” O.S. Sheet number : 42 (Co. Clare)
Reference : 8.8 cm South; 22.2 cm East
Height (G.L.) : 105’ O.D.
1” O.S. Sheet number : 133 (Sixmilebridge)

For information on the surviving part of this Tower House refer to: - a) site plan b) site description c) series of photographs.

Plan of Granaghan More Tower House
Plan of Granaghan More Tower House

Photo 2: Eastern entrance, area of Granaghan More Tower House, now heavily covered by ivy
Photo 2: Eastern entrance, area of Granaghan More Tower House, now heavily covered by ivy

GRANAGHAN MORE TOWER HOUSE

The main entrance into this site is from the east, via an entrance area which is now in a poor condition (Photo 2). All trace of the original cut-stone doorway has been removed. All that exists now is a 1.50 metre wide gap, with no roofing area over it.

Passing in through this gap we note the small guardroom to the right (north) and the room containing the first steps of the spiral stairway to the left (south).

As regards the stairway-room, there is no trace of the original cut-stone door here either though possibly one may not have existed. Beam slots exist to the right (west), centring on 10 cm square and 1.35 metres in length (see site plan). The slot in the left (east) wall area is now missing.

Twelve of the original cut-stone steps survive along this spiral stairway. These bring one to the region of the now collapsed first floor area. Along this stairway and represented on the site plan, is a now damaged window. Though originally of the long narrow slitted type it now exists as a 3 metre high by 20 cm wide opening.

The small guardroom, as stated previously, is to the right (north) of the main entrance area. This has one window, facing east, which is in a good state of preservation (Photo 2). This opening, which begins 1.80 metres above ground level, is 70 cm high and 9 cm wide. While this features inner area can be examined the presence of a heavy covering of ivy and bushes against the site’s outer (eastern) wall makes a thorough examination of such a section impossible (Photo 2).

As the site plan clearly shows traces of both beam slots exist in the south wall of the guardroom. The more eastern slot is only 10 cm wide, 15 cm high and 20 cm deep. The second slot is even shorter in depth. Originally the entrance area may have been less wide thus giving larger slots, depth-wise.

No evidence of a cut-stone doorway existed in the entrance area into the guardroom. That part of the site covering the guardroom, stairway room and area between both is roofed but in fact this is the only region of the entire tower house, as it survives, to have a ceiling. All other areas are open to the weather (Photo 1).

No trace either exists of the cut-stone doorway into the cellar area. However the former existence of some type of door is suggested by the presence of a hanging stone in the wall to the left of the opening. This cut-stone is 17 cm thick and 24 cm wide, with a semi-circular depression 7 cm by 13 cm.

As both Photo 1 and the site plan show only the eastern part of the cellar area now survives, the remainder having collapsed without trace. Traces of two window spaces exist in the surviving part of the cellar’s north and south walls but both are in a very poor condition. The space to the left (south) is 1.05 metres wide on the inside but 1.15 metres wide on the outside. The opening on the north wall is 1.30 metres wide on the inside and outside and 2 metres high. Neither window contains evidence of cut-stone though presumably both originally were of the long and narrow slitted type.

The south wall reaches a maximum height of 8 metres at its centre. However the full outer part of this is covered by ivy which now, in fact, is covering the top part of the wall (See Photo 1).

To the north-west of the site, at a distance of only 10 metres and leading into a paddock, is a stone cut pointed doorway (Photo 3). This, presumably, was taken from the Tower House, possibly during the nineteenth century. It is 85 cm wide, 20 cm thick and 1.75 metres high. Its upper part is now covered by ivy.

To the far west of the site is a farmhouse and outhouses. Examination of these suggested that much of the stone used in their construction was taken from the nearby tower house. This possibly took place in the early nineteenth century.

Date:
According to O’Lionain’s list, c. 1780 A.D., one Hugh the son of (Mac) Loughun, built this site. However no date is given.

Based on surviving features at this site we can suggest a date of c. 1480 A.D. for the time of erection of Granaghan More Tower House.

Who owned the site in 1580 A.D. by the College List? Frost and Curry say it was Donell (Donald) Mac Sioda Mantagh (toothless!!) Mac Namara.

There is no local lore suggesting occupation here continued to comparatively recent times.

REFERENCES

Curry, O.S. Letters (1839), Volume 2, pages 79 and 138
Frost, 1893, page 193
Westropp, 1899, page 363

Photo 3: Stonecut doorway leading into a paddock. This was obviously removed from nearby Granaghan More Tower House.
Photo 3: Stonecut doorway leading into a paddock.
This was obviously removed from nearby Granaghan More Tower House
.

 

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