This tower house was probably built by a member of the D’Exeter family, of whom there is very little documentary evidence. Catherine D’ Exeter is commemorated on a cross at Nevinstown (ME025-013----), but the D’Exeters had lost their land by the 17the century (Wilde 1850, 149-50). A gabled house at Carrickdexter (13) in Slane parish and barony is depicted on the Down Survey (1656-8) barony map (http://downsurvey.tcd.ie/). According to the Civil Survey (1654-6) the Lord of Slane owned 185 acres at Carrick Desert and Piggshills in 1640 and the property included ‘a castle, a stone house with a stable, a weare and two mills’ (Simington 1940, 346).
It is situated on a bluff by a weir on the N bank of a SW-NE section of the River Boyne, which is c. 130m to the SE. This is a three-storey tower house (int. dims 9.05m NE-SW; 6.7m NW-SE) with a stairs tower at the N angle and a garderobe tower at the S. It is entered through a pointed doorway towards the N end of the NW side and a pointed doorway leads to the newel stairs. The ground floor has a NE-SW barrel vault and two double-splay loops in the SE wall are its only original features. An inserted flat-arched doorway in the NE wall leads to the house (ME019-033001-) attached on this side. A pointed doorway leads from the newel stairs to the first floor that has a narrow window on each wall except the NE and also has a fireplace on the SE wall. A lintelled doorway leads to the garderobe tower at the S angle but there is no communication with the attached house. A lintelled doorway leads from the newel stairs to the second floor which has a narrow window on each wall except the NE. There is a fireplace in the SE wall, a lintelled doorway leads to the garderobe tower at S, and a flat-arched doorway in the NE wall leads to the attached house. The first and second floors were supported on corbels in the SE and NW walls with beam-holes in the other walls. The parapet does not survive, but corner turrets, partly supported on piers on the inner edge of the wall-walks survive over each angle.
The above description is derived from the published 'Archaeological Inventory of County Meath' (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1987). In certain instances the entries have been revised and updated in the light of recent research.
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of revised upload: 22 June 2016
Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.