Situated on a rise in a fairly level landscape, with the WNW-ESE Castle River c. 100m to the N. Following Hugh de Lacy’s grant of Dunboyne to William le Petit the latter established a ringwork castle (ME050-021007-), perhaps adapting an older rath, on the S side of the stream, but this would not suffice for very long and may have been rebuilt at some stage in stone. A stone castle was mandated in 1475-6 when Edward IV ‘Purposes by the grace of God to commence to erect a castle anew at Dunboyne’ to be completed in one year (Connolly 2002). This was probably a tower house and possibly located on a new site. One stone house owned by Lord Dunboyne is recorded in the Civil Survey (1654), and the Down Survey (1656-8) barony map depicts a two storey gabled and probably then roofless structure on the S bank of the stream. The present Dunboyne Castle was built by the tenth or eleventh Baron of Dunboyne in the 1770s or 1780s with further work conducted in the 1830s (Bence-Jones 1988, 114).
Archaeological testing (01E0875) by S. Johnston on the N side of the eighteenth century house recorded modern disturbance over a cobbled surface that is probably associated with the eighteenth century building. Beneath the cobbles mixed layers produced seventeenth century gravel-tempered wares and beneath these was the base of a NNE-SSW wall (Wth 1.8m; max. H 1.6m) with an associated stone floor on its W side. The wall is likely to be medieval, and probably from the castle mentioned in the Statute Rolls. Archaeological testing (04E1040) by C. Cotter uncovered another building (ME050-021009-) outside the medieval enclosure at E. (Johnston 2001)
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of upload; 29 October 2021
Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.