Traditional Irish Name

Baile Uí Chathláin – O’Cahalan’s town.

Associated Families

Earls of Kildare.


Civil ParishKildimo.
OS Map RefSheet 12.


Ballyculhane was a stronghold of the Purcells, a Norman invader family.

Interesting architectural features: the castle is shown on the Down Survey and Trustees’ maps (c.1656 and 1688) as having towers at each angle with a large court and a house inside.

There are small ‘apartments’ (or rooms) in the surviving towers. The (extant) bawn wall enclosing the castle is a rectangular shape, approx. 132 foot long and 120 broad, and originally stood about 30 foot high.1


The site is overgrown with vegetation.


The castle is on private land. Permission is required.

Historical Timeline

1299:These lands held by Sir Hugh Purcell.
1518:Estate held by Purcells under the earl of Kildare.
1581:Much bloody fighting took place around Ballyculhane Castle during the Desmond rebellion, involving David Óge Purcell and his allies.
1584:Castle and lands held by Pierce Purcell.
1617:Granted to Edmund Purcell.
1640:Estate held by General Patrick Purcell, under the earl of Kildare as part of his manor of Adare.
1655:The castle and estate of 850 acres recorded as the late estate of Major-General Patrick Purcell, deceased.
1683:Claimed by the earl of Kildare are part of his Adare manor.


1 Westropp, ‘Ancient Castles … Limerick’, 160; Ordnance Survey Field Name Books, Kildimo parish, 31.


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 Ballyculhane Castle (of which you own the copyright), please leave a comment at the bottom of the page, or email (below).


Image Gallery

Castle location on map

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