Duth Aireagail: The Countryside of the Oratory
Duarrigle Castle was erected in 1806 by Thomas Justice, and incorporates remains of a towerhouse built by the O’Keeffes in the sixteenth century. Its remains stand by the edge of a steep cliff over the river Blackwater and are approached from the north west thruogh an imposing castellated entrance, guarded by a large gate lodge. Duarrigle castle consists of a two bay two storey block, and a three bay three storey block, linked by a tall round castellated turrett. The doorway is in the forst bay of the three storey block and lit by a fanlight in the shape of an ogee arch. A set of limestone steps with curved wrought iron railings leads to the entrance. The mullioned double windows with hood mouldings also have ogee heads and finely moulded limestone surrounds. A plaque in the east wall reads: “Thomas Holmes Justice Castelum Duaragil reparavit AD 1806”. Near the castle is a high wall with a castellated arch. Another curved, wall contains a cellar type room with a vaulted ceiling.
In older days is was one of the castles of the O’Keeffes, who also owned Dromagh and Dromsicane nearby, and they appear to have built it in the sixteenth century. In 1576 it was owned by Art O’Keeffe, chief of the clan, who was succeeded by Art Oge (died 1610): Manus (died 1636) and then Daniel. The latter lost the lands in 1654: recovered them on the Restoration, but unfortunately died before he could take them over. The lands were finally confiscated after 1692, and eventually disposed of by the Hollow Sword Blade Company. Abraham Dickson was the purchaser and in 1712 he left it to his grand-nephew Hugh Dickson (Bishop of Cloyne). By 1728 they were owned by Henry Bishop of Cloyne who made them over to James Maule. After that they passed to Henry Wrixon who gave a lease to Thomas Justice.
The castle and lands passed to Henry Chimmery Justice of Gurrane House, Derrinagree, who lived in and worked as a barrister in Dublin, and who died there in 1859. He left the castle to his sister Ellen ( Mrs Wallis) and she in time passed it on to her daughters, Mrs Moriarty and Mrs Crofts.
Eventually it passed to the Land Commission, who sold it to a daughter of the O’Callaghans of Kanturk. She had married a Greek and rejoiced in the name of Madame Halikiopolo. She died about 1950 but not before she had got a happy reputation for noteworthy tea parties. No other use could be found for the house so it was sold in 1955 to the Houlihans, who dismantled the castle roof and moved into the gate lodge.
Also referred to as: Dhuarigle Castle, Duarrigle Castle, Duarigle Castle
In Irish it’s name is Dubh-aireagal, meaning black habitation or oratory
You can see the walls of Duarrigle Castle on Google Maps below, amongst the woods overlooking the Blackwater:
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Additional Images including close up details can be seen on Buildings of Ireland