|Built 15th century|
|Owned by:||Heritage Ireland|
Listowel Castle is a 15th-century castle standing in partial ruin in the town square of Listowel in County Kerry. It is one of the best examples of Anglo-Norman architecture in Kerry and has now been restored to some of its former glory. The castle is open to the public for tours on a daily basis.
This castle was the last stronghold of the Geraldine dynasty to stand out against Queen Elizabeth I in the First Desmond Rebellion of 1569–1573. In the Nine Years' War, which began in 1593, the castle was again garrisoned against the Queen: it fell after 28 days siege to Sir Charles Wilmot on 5 November 1600, who had the castle's garrison executed in the following days.
The castle became the property of the Hare family, the holders of the title of Earl of Listowel, after reverting away from the Fitzmaurices, Knights of Kerry. It is now a national monument.
Another Anglo-Norman castle at Woodford, Listowel, was built in the post-1600 period by the Knight of Kerry.
Today, the remnants of the castle include two of its four towers, which are joined by a heavy curtain wall, and the unusual feature of an arch below the battlements. Archaeological excavations and records of the castle reveal that it was originally of similar form to Bunratty Castle in County Clare.
In 2005, restoration works were commenced by the Board of Public Works. The stonework has been cleaned by a team of expert craftsmen, while the upper section, which had become particularly distressed with the passing of time, has been restored and rendered waterproof. An external staircase, in keeping with the architecture of the structure has been erected to enable the public to access the upper stories.
The Seanchaí Literary Centre, which is adjacently located in a Georgian town house, will help visitors learn more about the castle’s history.
- Listowel Castle: Heritage Ireland