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Ordnance Survey Letters by John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry, 1839

Parish of Drumcrehy (b)

In this Parish are situated the remains of three Castles which are mentioned in the list of the Castles of O’Loughlin Burren preserved in the MS. Library of Trinity College, Dublin, Class E.2. 14. These are:- (1) Ballyveaghane now Ballyvaughan; (2) Shanemuckenes; and (3) Mouknesno.

  1. The Castle of Ballyvaughan (called in an Irish Deed published by Mr. Hardiman Baile Uí Beacháin i.e., O’Beahan’s Town) stood on the brink of the bay close to the village of the same name. It is now destroyed and the site encroached upon by the sea. A few fragments of its walls scattered about are the only vestiges remaining of this Castle.

  2. The Castle of Shanmuckinis, now generally called the Castle of Ballynacregga, is beautifully repaired by Captain Kirwan of Dublin, who has lately purchased the land on which it stands from Blake of Mésslo and who intends to live in it during the bathing season. It is a square castle measuring twenty eight feet six inches by twenty five feet six inches and seventy four feet in height. Two original chimney pieces of good limestone remain which are worth sketching. The last O’Loughlin who lived in this Castle was, according to tradition, Uaithne Mor, Antonius Magnus, but his period is uncertain, though some are positive that he was living in this Castle one hundred years ago.

  3. The Castle of Muckinisnoe, i.e., New Muckinis, is situated in the Townland of Muckinish East near Mr. Ryan’s house and on the brink of Pouldoody, a place celebrated for oysters. Only one side of it is standing. It is said to have been built years after Shanmuckinish, whence it was called New Muckinish.

There is another Castle at Newtown which is in good repair and inhabited by Charles O’Loughlin, locally styled “King of Burren.” I cannot identify this with any Castle of the O’Loughlins mentioned in the list above referred to, and I incline to think that Newtown is a new name for it, at least not its original name. (Duald Mac Firbis, in his pedigree of the O’Briens, places a branch of that family at Baile Nua in Burren, which is no other than this Castle).