ME01376 - CASTLETOWN TARA - Castle - tower house

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Situated on the E bank of a small S-N stream at the N foothills of the Tara ridge, with the stream c. 40m to the W. The Dillon family have been in Ireland since 1185 and were settled principally around Drumraney (WM023-036----) Co. Westmeath, although scions of the family created dynasties in Roscommon in the sixteenth century based on their castle at Loughglinn (RO020-003001-). The family were also successful at filling many ecclesiastical posts and marrying into the gentry families of the Pale. About the beginning of the fifteenth century a younger son, Sir James, became Chancellor of Ireland and acquired estates in Meath and Dublin, including land at Proudstown in Skreen parish and barony. A great-grandson, also called Sir James, married Jane Rivers, the heiress of Riverstown (ME031-031001-), around the second quarter of the sixteenth century, and Castletown Tara and other properties passed to the Dillon family (Conwell 1873, 372-8). According to the Civil Survey (1654-6) Andrew Dillon of Riverstown (ME031-031001-), a descendent of Sir James of Riverstown, owned 332 acres at Castletowntaragh in Skreen barony in 1640, and the property included ‘a stone house, one water mill, and Divers cottages’ (Simington 1940, 72). Only the ground floor (int. dims 13m NW-SE; 6m NE-SW) of what was probably a two storey house survives, except for most of the NE wall. The long SW wall (T 1.15m) has two large mullioned windows (2 over 2) with flat ogee-headed lights and square hood mouldings and there is one single-light window at the S end, but a large central part of the wall (L 4m) does not survive. There is a projecting tower with two punch-dressed cross-loops at the W angle, but there is no evidence of a barrel-vault. Archaeological testing (16E0441) by R. Meenan c. 120m to the S produced no related material ( 2106:828). 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 revision: 6 July 2016 Amended: 3 February 2021

Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage

Monument Details

53.5922, -6.62664

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