Wakeman painted this late 13th century Anglo-Norman castle on 31 August 1878. The castle is located in the townland of Carrownanty on the outskirts of Ballymote town in flat ground with a stream to the west. It is a large enclosure castle with a gatehouse typical of the period, and has similarities with Welsh castle built by Edward I. It is almost square, measuring 42m by 40m and consists of a large twin towered gateway in the middle of the north wall, four towers at each corner and a tower midway along the east and west walls.

Similar castles can be found at Ballintubber and Roscommon town in Co. Roscommon and at Ballyloughan in Co. Carlow. Sligo Castle, which no longer exists, may also have certain similarities. The gatehouse, which is depicted by Wakeman, is much ruined with only its back wall standing to its full height. The two D-shaped towers that flanked the entrance were three storeys high with a central passage, which has the remains of a portcullis slot. The rooms in the towers or over the passage way no longer exist. The other towers of the castle are also D-shaped and some are fairly well preserved. No moat has been found, but is has been suggested that the area around the castle may have been a shallow marshy flooded area.

It was built by Richard de Burgo, the Red Earl of Ulster, possibly around 1300 AD. The castle was occupied only for a short period by the Anglo-Normans before the MacDonaghs captured it in 1317. The medieval manuscript known as the Book of Ballymote is said to have been written here some time around 1390 AD. The castle changed hands a number of times until Sir George Bingham repaired it around 1580. The MacDonagh's once again took control of it and apparently sold it for £400 and 300 cows to Red Hugh O'Donnell in 1598.

It was from this castle that O'Donnell marched to Kinsale, where he and O'Neill were defeated in 1601. His brother surrendered the castle in 1602 to Lord Mountjoy. From 1635 to 1655 it was in the possession of Sir John Taafe. In 1690 it was briefly held by one of the O'Conors but he surrendered it to the Williamites and it soon fell into disuse. Two medieval roads lead from Boyle to here. Both may have been built by Richard de Burgo.

  • The Red Earls Road, goes from Boyle around the east side of the Bricklieve Mountains.
  • The Bóthar an Corann, goes around the west side of the Bricklieves.

The castle was restored by the OPW in 2000 who re-mortared all the masonry, removed the ivy and made the site safer and more secure against decay.

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