Ballylin Castle is a small 15th century tower house built by the De Burgo (Burke) family. The castle is surrounded by scenic countryside and farmland. Ballylin Castle was one of the many castles that the De Burgo family erected in Connacht after they conquered the region from the native Irish clans in the 13th century. The De Burgos were one of the most powerful Anglo-Norman families in Ireland, and they ruled over much of Connacht as the Earls and Lords of Ulster.
The castle is now quite ruined, but you can still see some of its original features, such as the east entrance, a spiral staircase and a latrine chute. The tower house has two rooms on the ground floor and one large room on the upper floor. There was no door into the ground floor, access instead was through an outside stairway to the second floor. It has a four-story tower on one side. The structure was small for a castle, standing at a mere 24 feet by 17 feet, making it more like a fortified house than a castle.
The castle has some interesting architectural features. The trabeated doorway with its inclined jambs pre-dates the rest of the structure by about 900 years, its age is estimated at c.1286. Certain sections of the stonework are not bonded together suggesting that later additions were added to the original building.
The history of Ballylin Castle is not very well documented, but it is believed that it was abandoned by the De Burgos sometime in the 16th century, when they lost their lands and titles to the Tudor monarchy.
Ballylin Castle is not open to the public, but you can view it from the road or from a nearby farm. It is a fascinating example of medieval architecture and history, and a reminder of the turbulent past of Connacht.
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