Rappa Castle Ruin

Rappa Castle by Mike Searle

This was an old Burke Castle that was granted to a Cromwellian soldier named Crofton.  It passed into Knox ownership through marriage.  It was the Seat of an influential branch of the family throughout the eighteenth & nineteenth centuries.  During 1786 Wilson referred to the castle ‘as the pleasant seat of Mr. Knox.’  At the time of the Griffith Valuation recording it was held in Fee by Annesley Knox also it was valued at £30.  Slater noted during 1894 that it was the Seat of Captain Annesley Knox.  The family were in possession until the early twentieth century.  There is a lovely image of the castle ruins 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 that had ‘Cavello.’  It had detailed blocked shallow pyramidal capping supporting 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 with a resulted ensemble of a pleasant visual.  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]

This site states that the Castle Rappa ruins are northwest of Bunahoraghlis also west of Cloonagh Lough.[iv]

This 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 also 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 built a House in which they lived until 2001.  The Castle is a Listed Building.  Further information may be available at these publications: ‘Burke John (1838): A Genealogical & Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain & Ireland. Enjoying Territorial Position or High Office or High Official Rank’ Bentley R. Oxford University page 50 plus Volume 4. also, the ‘History of Structures on the Record of Protected Structures for Mayo’ PDF. [v]

This publication may be viewed at this link: ‘Genealogical Memories of John Knox and of the Family of Knox.’ [vi]


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

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

Castles in County 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 view at his 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] Rappa Castle (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rappa_Castle) [assessed 12th February 2020]

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

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