Situated on the banks of River Luane, Ballymalis Castle is one of the standard tower castles of County Kerry. It is positioned about 4 miles from Killorglin on the road side, in the south towards main Killarney road. Presently, the Ballymalis Castle is a ruin and demensed in the form of a dispersed farmland with river Laune flowing at its edge. The castle has been named after a ford, which is located across the River Laune.
This majestic tower house is believed to have been erected in the early 16th century by the O’Moriartys, which was a reputed clan of Ireland. The renovation of the castle in the late 16th century made it a home to the Ferris family, which was believed to be the guardian of the Line of the Laune. Murrough McOwen Ferris was the sole proprietor of the entire estate during the era. In 1677, this magnificent manor was annexed and was granted to the Eagars.
Until the 19th century, the power and control of the castle was under Thomas Eager. During the mid of the century, he exchanged some adjoining Muckross lands with Edward Herbert for those of Ballyhar. Thomas’ younger son, John Eager was then sent to Ballyhar, whereas his elder son James Eager lived in the premises of this majestic monument. The castle, at the same time, was a home to Robert Hilliard, which caused its split into two. This rectangular tower house has been partly restored and today is reckoned for its alluring historic features.
The Ballymalis Castle is a four storey rectangular building with an attic in the gable. Standing at a height of 16.8 metre, the castle measures 5.3 metre by 10.1 metre and has 2.5 metre thick walls. The castle is constructed using large and small green stones as well as sand stones. Moreover, it is well-grouted with quoin stones, which are of limestone and chiselled. This mammoth estate features two wall bartizans each at the south-west and the north-east corners. These bartizans were built at the second storey, which aided in defence against close undermining. At the east end, there is a cross wall, which divides the castle into two unequal halves. This division displays eastern side as a tower and the other western half as a dwelling house. The west wall or the dwelling house comprises a latrine chute exit with the remains of a machicolation at the roof level.
A doorway, made of chiselled limestone, was erected at the east end in 1840. This doorway had 16 windows, all of different shapes including rectangular, round headed and pointed, which are beautifully decorated from outside. The large upper windows of the doorway were divided into four or six compartments by the chiselled limestone mullions. This doorway was connected to a spiral staircase, which leads to the roof of the castle. The room at the top floor of the castle has three-light mullioned and transomed windows in the north and south walls. The tallest mountain of Ireland, which is known as the Carrantuohill, can be clearly viewed from the top of the castle.
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