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Carrigogunell Castle, Clarina, Co Limerick
Carrigogunnell Castle was built by Norman William de Burgo, who married into the O’Briens, the kings of Munster, in 1449 on an outcrop of volcanic rock. The ruins are easily accessible and give an insight into how a fortified village in the mediaeval times was laid out. 

It later became the property of the Earls of Kildare but had returned to the ownership of the O’Briens by 1536. The Confederates had possession of the castle from 1642 to 1648 and it survived many battles until if was blown up by the Williamites during the Seige of Limerick in 1691 to prevent it being used again as a fortress.

A legend says that a witch lived on the rock and each evening lit a candle on top of the castle. Anyone who saw this light died immediately. When St Patrick blessed the well in Patrickswell, he stood on high ground and looked towards Carrigogunnell. When night fell and the light appeared from the castle, Patrick began to read from his book. He closed his book and as soon as he did, the light in the castle was quenched forever. Various versions of this story exist!

Carrigogunell has at least two claims to fame. It is mentioned several times in Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt and features on the back cover of the album “The Unforgettable Fire” by U2.

There were so many “keep out” signs around this, one of our earliest finds, that we decided not to go in but took the one photograph from the road. Now, having more experience and bravado when it comes to entering private property, we regret not going up to the castle. However, we can always go back.
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