#OPHELIA: Limerick castle crumbles in furious winds during storm

Aine Fitzgerald


Aine Fitzgerald

An image of Rathcannon Castle, Athlacca, which was posted to social media by local woman Shanie Ryan on Monday

An image of Rathcannon Castle, Athlacca, which was posted to social media by local woman Shanie Ryan on Monday

A CHARMING castle in Limerick was one of the more unusual casualties of Hurricane Ophelia when furious winds forced one of its walls to crumble to the ground.

“There were two walls standing for hundreds of years and that one wall collapsed then in the storm. It all crumbled,” explained Karen Fox, parish clerk in Athlacca, speaking of Rathcannon Castle.

“It was a ruin.  It would have been a high wall - it would have been equal to the other side. It is a landmark. It is located up so high that you can see nearly the whole of Limerick from it,” Karen added.

Local woman Shanie Ryan posted pictures on her Facebook account illustrating the damage caused to the castle, prompting many to leave comments.

“That’s such a horrible sight. After so many years,” commented one. “Genuinely it’s upsetting so see,” wrote another.

A book entitled Castles and Big Houses describes Rathcannon Castle as “a manor of the Earls of Kildare after the Rebellion of Silken Thomas Fitzgerald of Kildare House in 1534.

“It was for a time in the hands of the King of England. It  came into the possession of Casey or the O’Casey family in the second half of the 16th century through purchase by William Casey who was a Protestant Bishop of Limerick - a man who switched his religious allegiance from Catholic to Protestant and vice versa a couple of times.”

The O’Caseys were an important Limerick family in the 16th and 17th century.

“The shattered ruins of the castle stand on a rocky ridge and consist of a wall court some 100’ by 120’.  The remains of the square tower lie to the north west and the remains of a residence to the west,” it further states in the book.

According to Mark Nagle of Nagles EuroSpar in Bruff, the castle wasn’t the only structure in the Athlacca area to suffer damage in Hurricane Ophelia.

“I know people back in Athlacca lost roofs off of milking parlours and things like that,” he said.

While the town of Bruff had power restored on Monday night and water restored by Tuesday night, areas in the surrounding areas remained without power this Wednesday.

“Electricity is back on in the town but there are a number of surrounding areas still out including parts of Meanus, parts of Grange, Kilteely and Herbertstown and Hospital. They must be under pressure at this stage,” continued Mark, this Wednesday.

“People are glad it’s all over. Events like that can sometimes bring out the best in people and there were some great examples of people helping each other out and calling into neighbours and making sure everyone is OK.

“There was gallows humour at times, within reason, people were trying to keep the spirits up.”

Thoughts are now turning to Storm Brian which is expected this weekend.

“You don’t know what’s around the corner. There is talk of this other storm coming on Friday night/Saturday morning. The fear is the loose branches. Fingers crossed all will be OK.”