Traditional Irish Name
Baile Uí Ghraoináin/Baile Ui Ghroidhnáin, O’Greynan’s town.
Fox; Thornton; Evans.
Civil Parish, Uregare.
OS Map Ref: Sheet 40.
A traditional stronghold of the Fox family, this ‘very fine and noble building, surrounded by with ramparts and battlements’,1 probably dates from the early 16th century. It has been aptly described by many as a haunting and impressive ruin.
Interesting architectural features: Ballygrennane is one of a handful of castles in Limerick with an extant bawn wall (see Image Gallery for aerial view of entire enclosure).
The keep retains its bartizans and there are surviving chimneys. Many of the windows are ‘quadrangular, and are divided into quadrangular compartments’.2
Sections of the building and wall are overgrown with vegetation, but overall the site is in a relatively good state of repair.
The castle is on private land. Permission is required.
|1570:||The castle and lands are held by Edmund Fox. He is named as one of the principal freeholders and gentlemen in County Limerick.|
|1580:||The castle is held by James Fox, but custody of it is handed over to the servants of Sir William Pelham, lord justice of Ireland.|
|1584:||Castle held by Patrick Fox, while the lands were lately held by William Fox, who died fighting against Elizabeth I in the Desmond rebellion.|
|1587:||Estate sequestered and granted to Tudor planter, George Thornton.|
|1610:||James I confirms the castle and lands to Thomas Thornton, but there is some dispute over its legal ownership.|
|1640:||The estate back in the hands of the Fox family.|
|The castle is taken by Cromwellian forces without a fight.|
|1666:||Estate granted to George Evans.|
|Jacobite forces encamp on the castle grounds.|
1 Fitzgerald, History of Limerick, 322.
2 Ordnance Survey Letters, Uregare parish, 106.
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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