The manor of Rathmore was held by the de Verdon family at the end of the 14th century but it passed by marriage to Sir John Cruise, who possessed it in 1406. Through the marriage of his daughter Mary with Sir Thomas Plunkett, the third son of Christopher Plunkett of Rathregan, it passed into the hands of the Plunketts, and this family held it into the 17th century when it passed to the family of Bligh. In the Civil Survey (1654-6) Robert Plunkett possessed the entire parish of Rathmore in 1640 and on the premises there were 'two roofed castles, a quarry and some cabins' (Simington 1940 212-13). However, the Down Survey (1656-8) barony map of Lune depicts only one structure at Rathmore (http://downsurvey.tcd.ie/).
The Plunketts probably built the tower house in the 15th century. It is a rectangular structure (ext. dims 11.45m NE-SW; 9.4m NW-SE) of four storeys built into the N side of the motte (ME024-018002-). There are two NW-SE barrel-vaults over the first floor, and access to each ground floor chamber must have been by trapdoor through the wooden floors evidenced by some corbels, although embrasures in the SW wall are now broken out. From the first floor a newel stairs in the E angle gives access to the upper floors from the NE chamber, and a mural stairs in the SE wall leads from the SW chamber to the same newel stairs. The newel stairs projects (dims 6.2m NE-SW; 1.4m NW-SE) from the E end of the SE wall, and the original entrance is at the S end of this projection from the top of the motte (ME024-018002-). From the entrance lobby a mural stairs rises southwards in the SE wall but only the newel stairs at the E angle survived to upper levels, and this fell c. 2014. From the entrance lobby a pointed doorway leads to the second floor hall (int. dims 7.9m NE-SW; 5.55m NW-SE), which has large window openings in the NE and NW walls and a garderobe at the W end of the NW wall.
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.
Date of revision: 15 June 2016
Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.