Traditional Irish Name

Es Geiphtíne – the cataract (or small waterfall) of Geiphtin.

Associated Families

De Valognes.
FitzGerald/Earls of Desmond.


BaronyConnello Lower.
Civil ParishAskeaton.
OS Map RefSheet 11.

Protected Structure Record

Reg. No: Medieval Townships.
Ref.  No: MT05.


One of Ireland’s oldest Norman strongholds, Askeaton Castle dates from 1199. It was later a stronghold of successive earls of Desmond until 1583.

The oldest remaining part of the castle in the inner ward is the thirteenth-century Constable’s Tower, standing on an elevation with commanding views over the river and town.1
Askeaton is described by one source as ‘An excellent instance of a motte-and-bailey castle, where the motte is of natural rock’.2

The castle is surrounded by a wall and encompassed by the river Deel. The entrance would have been via a drawbridge.
The six-storey keep is about 90 feet high. The ‘Banqueting Hall’ lies to the south-west of the castle.3


The castle is under the auspices of the OPW and in a good state of repair.


Askeaton Castle is open to the public. Guided tours are run by the OPW.

Historical Timeline

1199:Hamo de Valognes, justiciar of Ireland (1196-99), is granted this land by King John and erects the castle of Es Geiphtíne/Askeaton on a small island in the river Deel.
1203:The castle is held by another Norman nobleman, William de Burgh.
1215:Hamo Fitz Hamo de Valognes inherits his father’s lands, including Askeaton.
1318:Askeaton held by Richard de Clare until his death.
1321:Held by Maurice de Rocheford; later jointly held with Maurice FitzThomas.
1330: (circa)Stronghold of Maurice FitzThomas/first earl of Desmond (1329).
1345:Earl of Desmond proclaimed a ‘rebel’; the castle is taken by Ralph Ufford, justiciar of Ireland.
1348:Earl of Desmond pardoned and Askeaton restored to him.
1579:Castle attacked by crown forces during second Desmond rebellion (1579-83).
1580:Castle taken by the English. Desmond’s forces unsuccessfully attempt to blow up the castle before withdrawing.
1583:End of the Desmond rebellion. Askeaton Castle and lands seized by Elizabeth I.
1590:Granted to English ‘undertaker’ Francis Berkeley as part of the Munster Plantation.
1598-99:Irish forces under James FitzThomas FitzGerald, the Súgán earl of Desmond, lay siege to the castle. Berkeley holds out for months until finally relieved.
1642:Garrisoned by Lord Broghill during Confederate War, but taken by Irish Confederate forces under Lt. Gen. Patrick Purcell.
1652:Dismantled by Cromwellian forces under Captain Axtell.
1691:Garrisoned by Williamite forces.


1 Information from the OPW site:
2 E.S. Armitage, The early Norman castles of the British Isles (1912), 332.
3 See Ordnance Survey Letters, Askeaton parish, 456-58.


All historical information is compiled from archival material; primary sources (such as State Papers); secondary sources; plus authoritative digital sources (such as CELT). Any direct quote or a further reading suggestion is footnoted.

For queries, suggested amendments, or other relevant information, or if you would like to contribute an archival image of Askeaton Castle (of which you own the copyright), please leave a comment at the bottom of the page, or email (below).


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Castle location on map

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