Traditional Irish Name

Brug na Riogh or Brúgh Rígh the seat or fort of the king.

Associated Families

Knights Templars.
De Lacy/Lacy.


BaronyConnello Upper.
Civil Parish
OS Map Ref

Protected Structure Record

Reg. No: 559.
Ref. No: N39(12)B.


Better known as a de Lacy stronghold, sources also attribute Bruree-Ballynoe Castle to a Templary – from the Knights Templars in the late thirteenth century. But the building we see today, also known as the ‘Upper Castle’ of Bruree (to distinguish it from the ‘Lower Castle’/Bruree Lotteragh), probably dates from around the fifteenth century.1

It is a square-shaped tower, measuring over 24 feet from north to south on the outside, and 35 feet from east to west, and stands approximately 70 feet high.
The building originally had five storeys, the third of these vaulted.
The north-west angle had fallen by 1906.2


Many years of neglect resulted in vegetation overgrowth, but the castle is currently undergoing much-needed renovation by the OPW (see Image Gallery for before and after views).
As a result of the renovation, access to the building is currently prohibited.


The castle lies in the graveyard in the village of Bruree, access to the public (for external viewing only at present) is through the gates of the Protestant church.

Historical Timeline

1570:Castle and lands owned by Eady Lacy, one of the principal gentlemen landowners in the county.
1572:Lacy and his wife, Ellinor Fitz-Rory MacSheehy, are pardoned by Elizabeth I.
1586:Lacy recorded as proprietor of the castle and lands, but these are now in the possession of Elizabethan soldier and Munster planter George Thornton.
1600:Lacy again pardoned by the crown.
1614:King James I regrants castle and lands to Eady Lacy.
1640:Castle and lands owned by Henry Bourchier, earl of Bath.
1691:Bruree was burned by Irish forces during the Williamite wars.
1692:After the Jacobite defeat, the Lacys flee to the continent.
1700:Reverend Lewis Prytherch, who was then vicar of Bruree, described it as:

a large tall old castle standinge by the church … belong[ing] to the Rector or Dean of Limerick.3

1 J. Dowd, Round about the county of Limerick, 61; Ordnance Survey Letters, parish of Bruree, 291.
2 Westropp, ‘Ancient Castles … Limerick’, 355.
3 R. Wyse (ed.), ‘Lewis Prytherch’s Manuscript’ in North Munster Antiquarian Journal , vol. iv (1945), 150.


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


Image Gallery

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Castle location on map

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