An Irish Castle Turned into an Oscar Winner's Home
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Enjoy A Complete Guide to Country Cork's Kilcoe Castle!
Ireland is home to hundreds of castles, but only a few are home to modern fairy tales. These can be famous landmarks like Blarney Castle or the beautiful castle hotels that dot the countryside. However, it is rare to find castles restored to be used as private residences.
Kilcoe Castle, County Cork, is an exception. The impressive terracotta-colored tower dates back more than 500 years and is now the home of British actor Jeremy Irons and his wife Sinead Cusack.
Located on a small island, Kilcoe Castle is a lovely place to visit, even if you can't explore its interior. To make the most of your stop in County Cork, here's a comprehensive guide to the history and how to explore the area around Kilcoe.
Kilcoe Castle History
From the 13th to the 15th century, the McCarthy clan ruled the lands of West Cork. The first version of Castle Kilcoe was built around 1450 by the Clan of Dermot McCarthy.
Kilcoe Castle's location was incredibly strategic. Built on a small island off the coast in Roaringwater Bay, the water has become a natural defense. For one thing, near the mainland, the water was too shallow for ships to approach the castle. On the other hand, Mannin Island provided additional shelter that made it too risky for ships to navigate the bay.
In the 16th century, the British were waging a major campaign to conquer Irish castles. These castles were turned into garrisons or simply destroyed so that they could not be used by clans trying to defend their lands. Kilcoe Castle was the only castle in West Cork that resisted British forces. The invading army could not get close enough to aim their cannons at the strong walls of the tower.
After several unsuccessful attempts, the British returned on foot from 1600 to carry out a series of attacks. The former managed to steal cattle, but never penetrated the castle walls. Finally, in 1603, Kilcoe Castle fell to the English forces.
After members of the McCarthy clan were forced to surrender the castle, several English residents occupied it for a few decades. Householder McCarthy was forced to watch this film from his new home on nearby Mannin Island.
However, the castle was abandoned in 1640 and was left in ruins.
The stone walkway connecting the castle to the mainland was built in 1978. Before that, the water would have functioned as a natural moat to keep invaders and other unwanted visitors away from the fortified tower.
Actor Jeremy Irons bought the ruins of Kilcoe Castle in 1998 to convert the ruined tower into a private home.
What to see there
Unfortunately, it is not possible to visit the castle grounds or structure as it is private property. That said, there are plenty of details to admire from the outside. Surprisingly, you can find (or make) little paths to explore the sights.
The name Kilcoe comes from the Irish Cill Coiche, which means Church of St Coch. Nearby are the ruins of a church built in the 12th century.
Kilcoe Castle sits next to a small bridge and sits on the shores of Roaringwater Bay, a quiet spot in West Cork, ideal for short walks along the water.
Even from the outside, it is possible to admire the way the castle was maintained and rebuilt. Restoring the castle over six years cost more than one million euros. One of the changes made was the color of the castle. The lime on the stone walls was probably originally white; however, Irons chose to give the tower its light pink or orange glow as part of his single-family home renovation.
If you're dying to know what's inside, you can see the inside in this video that shows how owner and Oscar winner Jeremy Irons decorated the 15th-century castle. The actor is known for his love of antiques, and the castle is said to be eclectically decorated with a mix of period pieces and handcrafted furniture.
Location and how to visit
Kilcoe Castle is located in Carbery, West Cork. The castle itself was built on a small islet in Roaringwater Bay. He can be found outside the town of Ballydehob. It is located in a rural and relatively remote area, which means that any trip here must be planned intentionally.
To get to the castle, take the N71 (Wild Atlantic Way) and plan to turn between Skibbereen and Ballydehob. If you are coming west from Skibbereen, drive for about 11 kilometers and watch out for Kilcoe church on your left. Take the next turn, which is marked "Kilcoe".
The castle is privately owned, so it is not possible to walk too close or visit the castle itself. However, since there is very little traffic here, you can stop the car and stop to enjoy the ride and the view.
What else to do nearby
A detour to Kilcoe Castle is one-stop while driving the Wild Atlantic Way. The castle offers a break from the more touristy places along the incredible coastal road.
Kilcoe is located in one of the southernmost points of Ireland, near Mizen Head. It's also not far from the charming village of Kinsale, which is also home to Fort Charles.
Kilcoe can also be visited before or after driving on the Beara Peninsula, one of West Cork's best attractions.
We hope you enjoy watching this video about Kilcoe Castle, a 15th Century Irish Castle
Source: Stars Lifestyles
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