ME01751 - DONORE (Lune By.) - Castle - tower house

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This is a National Monument (No. 232) and its dimensions are thought to comply closely with the dimensions of castles constructed for the defence of the Pale after 1429. These were to be ’20 feet long, sixteen feet wide and forty feet high (c. 6.1m x c. 4.9m; H c. 12m)’ (Harbison 1970, 181) and simple structures of this size are regarded as the origin of the tower house (Leask 1949, 77; Sweetman 1999, 137). This tower house is situated on a slight rise on the N bank of a NW-SE section of the River Boyne, with the drained stream c. 40m to the SW. According to the Civil Survey (1654-6) Garrat Lench of Donowre in Killaconnigan parish owned 220 acres there in 1640, and on the property was ‘a Castle and Orchard, a weare and some cottages’ (Simington 1940, 200). He also owned 60 acres at Booterstowne (Batterstown), 160 acres at Cloonikinan (Cloonycavan), 170 acres at Glacke and 140 acres at Killmir in the same parish (ibid. 199-203). An illustration from 1785 shows the castle occupied with a hip roof (Price 1942, 40). This is a four storey structure (ext. dims 7.3m N-S; 6.3m E-W) with rounded corners and a projecting circular stairs tower at the SW angle. The rebuilt entrance towards the S end of the W wall is protected by a machicoulis at the parapet and leads through a destroyed lobby into the ground floor (int. dims 6.3m N-S; 3.9m E-W), whose only original feature is a double-splay light in the N wall, although the S wall is rebuilt and probably had a similar feature. The ceiling was supported on seven corbels, now removed, in both the E and W walls, and the doorway to the stairs tower and the newel stairs itself are destroyed. At the first floor under the N-S barrel-vault a pointed doorway leads from the stairs past a destroyed ante-chamber over the entrance lobby, which probably controlled a murder hole, to the single chamber which has a simple light In the N and S walls. The second storey above the vault is now inaccessible but has a narrow rectangular window with seats In the N, E and S walls, while there is a fireplace and a single light on the W wall. The ceiling was supported on corbels in the long E and W walls. There is a garderobe chamber in the thickness of the E wall at the N end. A pointed doorway leads from the stairs tower to the third floor, which has a narrow window with seats in the W and S walls, and simple narrow windows in the N and E walls. The stairs continued to the parapet, which doesn’t survive, but there is a possible gun-loop sloping downwards in this section of the stairs. 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. See the attached images taken from N (_1), W (_2), S (3) Compiled by: Michael Moore Date of revision: 15 August 2015

Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage

Monument Details

DONORE (Lune By.), Meath
53.4934, -6.94188

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