BRUREE-LOTTERAGH CASTLE


Traditional Irish Name

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


Associated Families

O’Donovan.
De Marisco.
De Lacy.
Lloyd.


Location

BaronyConnello Upper.
Civil ParishBruree.
TownlandLotteragh Lower.
OS Map RefSheet 39.

Protected Structure Record

Reg. No: 558.
Ref. No: N39(12)A.


Description

Bruree-Lotteragh has been described as ‘Ireland’s oldest stone castle’.1

An early Norman manor, the castle is mostly associated with the Norman family of de Lacy.
Before it was a de Lacy stronghold, the estate was first held by another Norman noble, John de Marisco.2

Before the coming of the Normans, however, Brugh-rígh is said to be originally the ‘House of O’Donovan’, where several forts and earthworks can still be seen.
The O’Donovans were expelled and driven in County Kerry in 1178 by King Donald Mór Ua Briain of Limerick/or Thomond.3


Condition

Once containing three towers within a bawn (see archival photo in Image Gallery for how it looked a century ago), the sole remaining tower has lately undergone a partial restoration.

A recent survey of the site was carried out by Tadhg O’Keeffe of UCD, who described Bruree-Lotteragh as ‘the only substantial remnant of a multi-period enclosure castle which was intact a century ago.’4


Access

The castle lies on private property. It is accessible with the permission of the landowner.


Historical Timeline

1230:
(circa)
John de Marisco granted the lands around Bruree.
1583:Castle and lands held by Eady Lacy. He had paid a rent for the estate to the earl of Desmond.
1641-2:The Lacys join the Irish Confederate forces.
1653:Castle leased to Cromwellian Captain Robert Stannard.
1655:Eady Lacy named as late proprietor; but the estate had been already mortgaged to Nicholas Haly of Limerick.

Described in the Cromwellian Civil Survey as:

“three small unrepaired castles with a bawne” , a gristmill, a tucking mill an eel weir and with a demesne of 300 acres.5

1666:Estate confirmed to Cromwellian adventurer Sir Charles Lloyd.

 

1 See Tadhg O’Keeffe Paul MacCotter, ‘Ireland’s oldest stone castle’ in Archaeology Ireland, vol. 34, No. 1 (Spring 2020), 14–18. Also, personal correspondence with Professor O’Keeffe.

2 Tadhg O’Keeffe, Ireland Encastellated, AD 950–1550, 106.
3 Westropp, ‘Ancient Castles … Limerick’, 355; G.H. Orpen, Normans, iii, 122.
4 Tadhg O’Keeffe, Ireland Encastellated, AD 950–1550, 17.
5 Civil Survey … Limerick, 279


Notes

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


Email

limerickcastlesdatabase@gmail.com


Image Gallery

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Castle location on map

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