Rappa Castle Ruin

Rappa Castle by Mike Searle

An old Burke castle within Co. Mayo was granted to a Cromwellian soldier named Crofton.  It passed into Knox ownership through marriage.  It was the seat of an influential family branch throughout during the eighteenth & nineteenth centuries.  During 1786 Wilson referred to the castle ‘as the pleasant seat of Mr. Knox.’  At the time of the Griffiths Valuation recording it was held in fee by Annesley Knox,  valued at thirty pounds.  Slater noted during 1894 that it was the seat of Captain Annesley Knox.  The family were in possession until the early twentieth century.  An image of the castle ruins feature at this link. [i]

This castle was a gateway extant 1896 on a symmetrical plan that comprised a pair of drag edged rusticated limestone ashlar piers.  An ‘cyma recta’ or ‘cyma reversa’ cushion courses with drag rusticated ashlar outer  piers ‘cavello’  were included.   Detailed blocked shallow pyramidal capping supported spear head – detailed wrought iron rails.  A road fronted onto the castle grounds.  A gateway formed part of neat self – contained groups along an adjacent gate lodge.  There was an improvement or development to all of the estate in the later nineteenth century.  [ii]

According to Lewis 1837 Rappa Castle was the seat of Annesley Gore Knox Esq.  [iii]

Castle Rappa ruins are northwest of Bunahoraghlis also west of Cloonagh Lough. [iv]

Rappa castle was granted to a Cromwellian soldier of the crown named Crofton.  During the seventeenth century William Knox of Castlerea married a Crofton of Rappa Castle.  The building remained in the Knox possession until the 1920’s.  Francis Knox (born 1726) was the third son of Francis Knox & Dorothy Annesley of Moyne Abbey.  He married the heiress of Rappa castle Mary Gore of Belleek during 1671: they resided at Rappa Castle.  Francis was appointed High Sheriff of Mayo.  During 1818 he was succeeded by his son Annesley Gore Knox (1789 -1839)  He had eight sons.  He was appointed High Sherriff of Mayo during 1825.  He in turn was succeeded by one of his three sons Annesley Arthur.  He also acted as High Sherriff of Mayo.  Following the War of Independence: the Knox family vacated the castle.  The next occupant was William Gillespie: a father of thirteen children.  When the upkeep proved too expensive he constructed a house in which they lived until 2001.  The castle is a listed building.  [v]

Additional Information

These publications refer to Castle Rappa:

Bentley R. Burke John  A Genealogical & Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain & Ireland. Enjoying Territorial Position or High Office or High Official Rank  1835­-1838  vol.4 H. Colburn etc. (London ): https://archive.org/details/genealogicalhera04burk

PDF History of Structures on the Record of Protected Structures for Mayo : https://www.mayo.ie/getmedia/2a76ef3d-02c6-469d-9dc1-3e37154f4883/Vol-4-MCDP-Record-of-Protected-Structures.pdf

Rogers Charles Genealogical Memories of John Knox and of the Family of Knox  1879  [vi]

Lee Johnson lists castles at this site: https://sites.rootsweb.com/~irlkik/ihm/castles/irecastl-Mayo.htm

Mayo castles listed in alphabetical order feature on this link: https://www.geni.com/projects/Historic-Buildings-of-County-Mayo/29699

Castles in Co. Mayo are listed on this site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_castles_in_Ireland#County_Mayo

Images of several castles by Mike Searles may be viewed at this site: https://www.geograph.org.uk/


[i] Rappa Castle (http://landedestates.nuigalway.ie/LandedEstates/jsp/property-show.jsp?id=229) [Assessed 12th February 2020]

[ii] Rappa Castle, Bunaneraghlish (https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/31303003/rappa-castle-bunaneraghtish-county-mayo) [Assessed 12th February 2020]

[iii] Rappa Castle https://www.johngrenham.com/records/lewis.php?civilparishid=1751&county=Mayo&search_type=full ) [Assessed 12th February 2020]

[iv] Rappa Castle Map (https://mapcarta.com/18269562) [Assessed 12th February 2020]

[v] List of Historic Houses (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_historic_houses_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland#County_Mayo) [Assessed 12th February 2020]

[vi] No.16 (https://digital.nls.uk/publications-by-scottish-clubs/archive/79401348?mode=gallery_grid&sn=186) [Assessed 17th March 2021]


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