Moymlough Castle

Wakeman calls this painting Meemleek Castle, which he drew on 29 July 1879. This is located on a slight prominence just west of a stream. It is a tower house made up of a rectangular tower now three storeys but was originally higher. Its internal dimensions are 9.4m north to south and 5.5m east to west.

An antiquarian illustration by Grose, made almost ninety years before Wakeman's shows that it was in much the same condition as it is today. Today much of the site is covered by ivy. The north and west side walls survive intact but only part of the east and south walls survive. The entrance does not survive but on the ground floor there are blocked up window openings in the north and west walls.

Above this is a mezzanine level and a garderobe chamber or toilet in the southwest corner of the tower. This level is approached by stairs in the wall, rising from ground level, but the lower part of the stairs do not survive. These stairs, which give access to all floors, are visible on the left side of the illustration.

By the 15th century, the Gaelic-Irish began to build tower houses, which were three to five story rectangular or circular fortified stone towers, often surrounded by an enclosed area called a bawn, which was defined by a stone wall. Castle building was a feature of emerging lordships and many tower houses were built for strategic reasons in key military positions.

They represent a typical form of lordly residence built throughout Ireland in the 15th and 16th century. The O'Hara's built the castle at Moymlough sometime in the 15th century. The O'Hara's were an important Gaelic family from this part of Sligo, and descendants of the family continue to live at nearby Annaghmore House.

By the early 15th century the O'Conor kings of Connaught had established themselves over much of Connaught and sublords controlled various territories. The MacDonaghs were lords of Tirerrill and Corran; the O'Hara's were lords of Leyney and the O'Gara's lords of Coolavin, all within the overlordship of the O'Conors. Castledargan is another example of a tower house in Sligo and a related castle type can be found at Moygara.

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