ME01954 - NEWCASTLE - Castle - tower house

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Located on top of a broad hill. According to the Civil Survey (1654-6) Sir Richard Barnwall of Crickstown (ME039-006----) owned 252 acres at Newcastle in Rathcore parish, and on the premises were ‘one Castle and some Farme houses and Cabbins’ (Simington 1940, 183). Sir Richard also owned land at Possixtowne (180 acres), Johnstowne (Jordanstown) (163 acres), Conellstowne (108 acres), and Kilcorny (100 acres) in the same parish (ibid. 181-5). This is a three-storey tower house (ext. dims 5.55m E-W; c. 6m N-S) that survives complete with an overgrown and obscured parapet and base-batter. It is vaulted over both the ground floor and the first floor and has a semicircular stairs tower projecting from the centre of the E wall. A wall, bonded with the stairs tower extended E and another wall, bonded with the SE angle extended S, creating a bawn of unknown extent which was to the SE of the tower house. A wide carriage doorway is inserted in the N wall at the ground floor, which has a light in a round-headed embrasure in the W wall, a blocked embrasure in the S wall and two blocked embrasures in the E wall, but the original entrance is not identified. There are faint traced of wicker-centring in the N-S barrel-vault. A round-headed doorway leads to the newel stairs at the centre of the E wall, but the steps immediately below the first floor were removed and the space floored in wood at some time. The first floor under a N-S barrel vault is entered by a round-headed doorway from the stairs and has a window embrasure on each wall, but that on the S might have been extended into a doorway. A round-headed doorway in the N wall leads to a garderobe chamber (int. dims 1.45m E-W; 0.6m N-S) that is plastered, suggesting that it may have been used into the eighteenth or nineteenth century as might an inserted corner fireplace at the NE angle. The stairs continue with enlarged lights in the E wall, and a lintelled doorway leads to the second floor chamber (int. dims 4.55m E-W; 4.35m N-S), which has an enlarged window on each wall, that on the S being blocked. A lintelled doorway at the SE angle leads to a chamber (int. dims 1.45m N-S; 0.5m E-W) with a machicolation projecting from the S wall and has a blocked light on the E wall. There is an inserted brick fireplace at the SW angle. The stairs continue to the wall-walk with no lights, but the parapet is overgrown with ivy, and no features can be distinguished, although brick is evident at many points. 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: 18 July 2016

Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage

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53.4195, -6.86232

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