Bremore Castle, County Dublin

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Bremore Castle is a large tower house located north of Balbriggan, County Dublin. Estimated to have been built in the 14th century, the Norman Barnewalls family held it from the time of construction till 1727, the year in which it was sold. However, the first mention of this castle or its location was in reference to William Rosel De Brimor, who held land in England and Ireland in the end of 13th century. Its deterioration began much before the sale, and by 1783, it was termed as “not many years ago inhabited” by Austin Cooper, a prominent antiquarian of that time. Presently, this grand structure has been reduced to ruins, with the remains standing in place since the mid and late 16th century.
Though repairs are being carried out by the Parks Department of Fingal County Council and the Balbriggan and District Historical Society, the work has not been finished in more than a decade. The upper storeys of the castle had collapsed long ago and the castle has, now, been reduced to an expansive single floor structure. Therefore, the two organisations have put up scaffoldings all around the castle to support it in the best possible manner. However, the delays are making it difficult for the two to keep it up in its existing shape, let alone repair it. The locals of the city are angry that very little funds are earmarked for its reconstruction, even though millions were readily available for Malahide Castle located nearby. The neglected site is termed an “eyesore” by them, and hazardous to people who are working in the rubble. The council plans that after reconstruction, it would be open to public and its grounds would become a public park located near Martello Tower and town centre.

Almost 45 m south of Bremore Castle lay the ruins of a chapel that was erected in late-medieval times. It is also located near a site that was inhabited in prehistoric times, circa 2,000 B.C. The most prominent evidence of this fact is the Fulacht Fiadh or cooking place located just 50 m away from one of the five mounds dug up at this site. All experts and archaeologists concur that the circular mounds constituted the Passage Tomb cemetery for funerals during the time of usage. The presence of a ‘rude stone basin’ further fortifies the fact that it was a burial site for the people who had settled at this site. The five mounds are located within short distances of each other, with average diameters of the mounds ranging from 9 m to 20 m. Four of these mounds have kerbstones along the sides and edges, while one has become ovoid in shape due to the impact of fencing.

Being close to the shoreline of River Delvin and having volcanic and sedimentary rocks, Bremore headland became a prominent harbour by mid 16th century. However, the Cardy Rocks located just 750 m off the shore of the headland made it very dangerous for ships to navigate in these waters. Till now, 12 shipwrecks have been recorded in this area, with the loss of Bell Hill in 1875 being the biggest. As per local tradition, the bodies of the dead were below cairns situated near the headland.

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