Traditional Irish Name
Baile Uí Bhenóg – O’Benog’s town; or Baile Uí Mhuineog – Mannix or Minoge’s town.
|OS Map Ref||Sheet 39.|
Protected Structure Record
Reg. No: 575.
Ref. No: B/N39(35).
Ballyvenoge Castle was a traditional stronghold of the Fox family.
It probably dates from the early 17th century.
(The castle was referred to as Maidstown from the 18th century).1
Ballyvenoge is a square shaped building, with embattled walls, standing about 50 feet high.
The castle originally had five storeys. Its walls, like other 17th-century castellated buildings, are thin, measuring about 3.5 feet.
Some of the remaining architectural features included the hood-moulds over the (enlarged rectangular) windows and some of the crenulations are extant.
There are round-arched doorways alongside the more modern rectangular.
In 1840 the Ordnance Survey described how the castle ‘enters into the [adjoining] building of Mr Coll’s dwelling house’.2 (See Image Gallery for the house and castle;3 they are now detached).
The front-facing façade is clean and in good condition.
Internally, however, the building is gutted. None of the floors are extant (see Image Gallery).
The castle is on private lands, adjacent to a dwelling house. Permission is needed.
|1570:||Lands of Ballyvenoge owned by Richard Fox.|
Fox was one of the chief freeholders in the county of Limerick.
|1638:||Castle and lands in the possession of John Fox.|
|1655:||The estate is still held by John Fox. He paid a chief rent to the earl of Kildare.|
The castle and lands seemingly escaped much of the destructive nature arising out of the wars from 1641-52. It was described in 1655:“On this land [of 120 acres] stands a good castle, a Bawne, an orchard, & indifferent houses.”4
|1656:||Ballyvenoge Castle and lands change to Protestant ownership when the estate is granted to Cromwellian soldier, Captain Arthur Ormsby.|
|1666:||Ormsby is confirmed in the estate by Charles II.|
The estate was sold by the Ormsbys to the family of Webb, who sold it in turn in the mid-18th century to a branch of the Gubbins family.5
1 John Ferrar referred to it as Maidstown in his History of Limerick in 1787, 367.
2 For castle description and features, see Ordnance Survey Letters, Dromin parish, 81.
3 Image courtesy of Dr Colm Donnelly, Queen’s University, Belfast.
4 Civil Survey … Limerick (Dublin, 1938), 124.
5 See https://landedestates.ie/property/2567.
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 Ballyvenoge Castle (of which you own the copyright), please leave a comment at the bottom of the page, or email (below).