Parkes Castle in County Leitrim is one of the best places to see in Ireland, certainly a must for anyone who loves castles.
Parke's Castle is in our top five attractions in and around Sligo town, a definite thumbs up for a visit that will be enjoyable for the whole family.
castle is one of the most beautiful medieval castles of Ireland. It is in the
care of the Office of Public works (OPW) who offer an excellent tour. The
castle was lovingly restored under their care using traditional materials and
setting is stunning as well, the castle is located right on the lake shore.
This Irish castle is located a 25
minute drive from Sligo town, a trip well worth it for the beautiful views
alone which are to be had along the route on the shore of Lough Gill.
From Sligo town head for Dromahair on the
R286. Go right through the village and keep going straight, the castle is
located directly on this road.
The castle is open to the public from the
end of March until mid September every day from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Plan an
hour for the visit. Phone them if you need to clarify whether they are open the
day you plan to visit: +353-71-9164149.
There is a large car park, and the castle
has public toilets with disability access. The castle itself has disability
access on the ground floor only. During the summer months there is a tea room.
There is a 45 minute tour of Parke's Castle all for the price
of 3 Euros per adult, and 1 Euro per child. We would highly recommend taking
the tour. It’s really worth it not only for an understanding of the castle’s
history and features, but also for a history of the area. The guides are
knowledgeable and very kind to any children taking part in the tour which is a
nice bonus for parents bringing enthusiastic, noisy five year olds like we did.
The tour brings you through the entire
castle and explains the different rooms and their useage. The medieval castle
life style was so very different to how we live today that a lot of it actually
needs an explanation as you would miss it if you were just walking through.
The first fortified structure on this site
was owned by Sir Brian O’Rourke. At his
castle he sheltered at least one survivor of a Spanish Armada shipwreck at a
time when Spain and England were on the brink of war. As a result Brian
O’Rourke became a wanted man and was eventually captured to be executed in
London in 1591 for high treason. His lands were confiscated and sold to the
English Captain Parke. Parke built a larger fortified mansion here, the castle
that can be seen today. It is sometimes called a ‘plantation castle’ because
the lands now were an English plantation. He built the castle for himself and
his family probably using the stones from the demolished O’Rourke’s Castle the
foundations of which can be seen in the courtyard. As he owned more than one
castle however, he wasn’t living here full time.
conclude, one of the best castles in Ireland, fascinating piece of history, great
tour, great opportunities for exploration with or without kids- if you are in the area at all this visit is a must!
On your way back to Sligo, stop at Dromahair
village and take the beautiful ten minute walk by the riverside to Creevylea
Friary. If you have more time to spare, visit Cashelore Stone Fort after that,
it is located just a mile or so off the road back to Sligo.
On a beautiful day, take a boat tour on the
Rose of Innisfree from the pier right by the castle around Lough Gill and the
lake isle of Innisfree, a place immortalised by Yeats in his poetry. The boat
offers a full bar service and home baking and there are poetry recitals.
If you are in the area for a couple of days,
include a visit to beautiful Streedagh beach in your itinerary and visualise the
scene of the Armada ships sinking here followed by the ensuing slaughtering and
before you head off, find out more about Parke's Castle here, its history and features so that you'll know what to look out for.
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Thank you so much! Warmest regards from Ireland from Susanna and Colm.
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