Traditional Irish Name
Baile an Garraidh – town of the garden.
|OS Map Ref||Sheet 29.|
Later a stronghold of the Norman family of De Lacy, legend has it that the Knights Templars built Ballingarry Castle.1
It is situated on Knights Street in the village of Ballingarry. This place was called ‘Le Garth’ in 1291, or ‘Garthbyboys’ in 1319. Ballingarry ‘had evidently belonged to the Byboys family’; they witnessed charters, suits and other disputes here during the 13th century.2
Interesting architectural features: this oblong tower was known as ‘Parsons Castle’ for a period after being repaired and modernised as a dwelling house for Reverend Gibbons in 1821.3
The castle, which was ‘in a state of perfect preservation’ in the mid-19th century,4 is still in good condition externally. The entrance (in the north-east wall) is currently blocked up.
The castle is easily accessible from Knights Street in the town, but it lies on private land.
|1408-22:||Town of Ballingarry walled under a grant by Henry IV, after it was destroyed by Irish and English rebels.|
|1513:||Ballingarry burned by Piers Butler.|
|1569:||Castle held for the Desmond cause, but taken and garrison put to the sword.|
|1570:||Castle and lands owned by John Lacy.|
|1580:||Castle warded by English forces.|
|1584:||Lacy pardoned after Desmond rebellion.|
|1587:||Knights Street in Balingarry town granted to Henry Billingsley.|
|1598:||Irish forces gather at Ballingarry to support the cause of James FitzGerald, known as the Súgan earl, pretender to the seat of his uncle, Gerald, late earl of Desmond.|
|1600:||John Lacy and his wife, Joan, pardoned by Elizabeth I.|
|1612:||Castle, lands and manor of Ballingarry regranted by James I to William Lacy.|
|1632:||Knights Street leased to David Lacy.|
|1640:||The castle, lands and manor of Ballingarry owned by William Lacy.|
|1653:||Garrisoned by Cromwellian forces.|
|1655:||Recorded as the late estate of William Lacy.|
|1667:||Ballingarry granted to John Odell.|
|1691:||Ballingarry burned by Irish Jacobite forces during the Williamite War.|
1 P. Fitzgerald & J.J. McGregor, History of Limerick, i (1826), 381.
2 Westropp, ‘Ancient Castles … Limerick’, 335.
3 For castle description and features, see Ordnance Survey Letters, Ballingarry parish, 64-66.
4 Ibid., 64.
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.
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