Shrule Castle

Shrule Castle by Mike Searle

Shrule Castle was a detached three – Bay two – story farmhouse (re – built 1813, extant 1838, Occupied 1911) to a symmetrical plan with single – bay two -story side elevations. (The following is a description from 2010 but it is debatable how many renovations occurred to produce the building to date)  It had a hipped state roof with clay ridge tiles, pair rendered ‘wallhead’ chimney stacks at the rear facing north.  Elevation had stepped capping that supported terracotta pots.  It had lime rendered walls.  Segmental – headed central door opening approach by flight of four dragged cut – short limestone steps with cut drag edged dragged cut limestone block with a short surround centered on keystone framing timber panelled double doors.  Other features included square – headed window openings with drag edged dragged cut limestone sills & concealed dressing framing replacement six over six timber sash windows.  In the Drawing Room at the south east end was a carved timber surround to door opening from timber panelled door.  There was a Gothic style chimney piece and picture railing below run moulded plasterwork cornice to ceiling. – moulded plasterwork cornice to ceiling.  The building was set back from street in landscaped grounds with dragged cut-limestone cylindrical piers to perimeter has “Cyma Recta” or “Cyma Reversa” were detailed polygonal capping supporting replacement spear head-detailed mild steel double gates. [i]

Within the Demesne at Ballycurrin are the remains of the well preserved Shrule Castle. [ii]

There were six castles in this area: named as Shrule, Kinlough, Moyne, Ballycarrun, Ballisnahyry also Moycharra.  For the most part the lands in Mayo that castles were located on were owned by the Mac Donnels of the South Isles who settled in Antrim prior to a move to the West.  This strong castle was erected during 1238.  It was captured by Sir Edward Fitton in 1570.  During 1574 William Blake was in possession.  It passed to his son John during 1610 then to Richard Earl of Clanricarde who received lands & castle to an extant of four quarters.  Pierce Lynch leased it.  An interesting history of Shrule is available at this site. [iii]

This site gives a detailed list of occupants in the Castle over the early years.  Most of the stone has been removed or has collapsed.  There is a large crack that runs from top to base of the tower.  The bartizans at top of each corner however remain in decent shape. [iv]

Shrule Castle was also known as Srutham ie ‘Castle of the River’.  Built by the de Burgh family during 1238 near the Black River with the Mayo county border close by.  It remained in their possession until its capture during 1570.  Next occupier was William Blake who passed it to his son John during 1574.  The Castle with lands were leased to Pierce Lynch of Galway. [v]

This Castle had a commanding view of Mayo’s border plus the bridge over the river Black. [vi]

This site has an image of Shrule Castle by Patrick Larkin:


Lee Johnson lists Castles at this site:

There are Mayo castles listed in alphabetical order at this link:

Castles in County Mayo are listed on this site:

Images of several castles by Mike Searles may be view at his site;


[i] Shrule House, Shrule ( [assessed 12th February 2020]

[ii] Shrule ( [assessed 12th February 2020]

[iii] Shrule History ( [assessed 12th February 2020]

[iv] Shrule Castle ( [assessed 12th February 2020]

[v] Shrule Castle ( [assessed 12th February 2020]

[vi] Historic Buildings of County Mayo ( [assessed 12th February 2020]


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