ME01545 - ATHCARNE - Castle - tower house

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Situated on a level landscape with the S-N Hurley River c. 70m to the E. The tower house was erected for William Bathe and his wife, Jane Dowdall, in 1590. They are commemorated on the wayside crosses they erected in at Annesbrook (ME027-031----) in 1600 and Duleek (ME027-038010-) in 1601 (King 1984, 104, 107-08), and there is a commemorative stone placed high on an external wall of the tower house with two crests within wreaths and an inscription. It reads: WB ID 1590 (Grose 1791, 2, 33). According to the Civil Survey (1654-6) James Bath owned 126 acres at Athcarne in Duleek parish in 1640 and on the property were ‘one castle with a Barne and Divers outhouses’ (Simington 1943, 21). He also owned land at Sneog (62 acres), Deenes (146 acres), and Reask (145 acres) in the same parish (ibid. 20-1). In 1662 Luke Bathe, the son of James, was restored the family possessions at Athcarne under the Act of Settlement, but the estate was sold to a Dublin merchant in 1703) (Anon. 1833). A nineteenth century illustration (ibid.) depicts the castle as a four storey tower house, which has a two storey house (ME033-004001-) attached at the SW side. The tower house continued to be occupied into the nineteenth century and was considerably altered with the insertion of large windows on the upper floors, but the attached house was replaced by a new wing to the SW. See this web-page accessed on 05/07/2016;view=1up;seq=230 The ground floor has two barrel-vaulted chambers that are not connected. The NW chamber (ext. dims 9.6m NW-SE; 7.1m NE-SW; int. dims 6.4m NW-SE; 4.5m NE-SE) is entered by a pointed doorway at the W end of the SW wall. A separate pointed doorway accesses the tower (ext. dims 3.6m NE-SW; 3.5m) projecting from the W angle that has a newel stairs. The SE chamber (ext. dims 6.9m NW-SE; 6.4m NE-SW) is entered directly by a pointed doorway in the centre of the SW wall which has a highly decorated threshold, and its vault is lined with brick internally (int. dims 4.05m NW-SE; 3m NE-SW). At the three upper floors the two structures were modernised with rectangular windows and an internal brick lining. The only original features are the pointed doorways from the stairs tower, a round-headed doorway in the NW wall at the second floor that might lead to a garderobe, and the single fireplaces on the SW wall of the NW part at the first and second floors. 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. This is a National Monument in state ownership, No. 539. Compiled by: Michael Moore Date of revision: 6 July 2016

Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage

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53.622, -6.44129

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