Thursday, 20 September 2012

Ballymount Castle

This visit really brought back memories, I had not been here in probably 15 years. Having spent many a summer’s day roaming and exploring the ruins which looked a lot different from how they appear today. The area was excavated on three separate occasions, before the Luas line was built straight through the centre of the site.A copy of a painting by Gabriel Beranger from 1767 shows how the Castle one stood. Known locally as ‘Kingswood Castle’ the ruins of Ballymount Castle are found within the grounds of Ballymount Park to the west of the M50 motorway. Ballymount park is named after the town land given to it by Sir William Parsons who build the second castle in the area in 1622.On the north side of the park, there is a mound which is a bronze age site and was turned into a motte-and-bailey before a stone castle was built, this was under and in-side the walls of the tower house built by Parsons. In the early 18th century Ballymount Great became home to Mr. John Butler, son of Sir Theobald Butler, Solicitor General Ireland to James II.It is John Butler who is reputed to have built the folly (sham ruin) as a venue for his daughter’s wedding and to view the walled garden, however it seems that this was never completed. The original name given to the area was Bellamount (beautiful mount) in reference to the pre-existing mound (Bronze Age grave).As a result of the civil wars of the 1640s and Parsons forced withdrawal from Ireland. In November 1646, it was reported that ‘Ballemount was burnt by local Gaelic insurgents At the end of the 18th century the lands of Garranstown and Kingswood merged under the ownership of the Cullen family. The house retained the name Whitehall given to it by Mr. Theo White. In 1865 Andrew Cullen Tynan, father of Katharine Tynan, the poet and writer, inherited the farm from an uncle and her derelict house is adjacent to the park.

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