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Ross Castle (Caislean an Rois), Killarney | by Viking1066
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Ross Castle (Caislean an Rois), Killarney

Ross Castle (Irish: Caisleán an Rois) is the ancestral home of the O'Donoghue clan. It is located on the edge of Lough Leane, in Killarney National Park, County Kerry, Ireland.


Ross Castle was built in the late 1400s by local ruling clan the O'Donoghues, though ownership changed hands during the Desmond Rebellion of the 1580s. The castle was amongst the last to surrender to Cromwellian's Roundheads during the Irish Confederate Wars, and was only taken when artillery was brought by boat via the river lane.


The castle is typical of strongholds of Irish chieftains built during the middle ages. The tower house had square bartizans on diagonally opposite corners and a thick end wall. The tower was originally surrounded by a square bawn defended by round corner towers on each end.


There is a legend that O’Donoghue leaped or was sucked out of the window of the grand chamber at the top of the castle and disappeared into the waters of the lake along with his horse, his table and his library. It is said that O’Donoghue now lives in a great palace at the bottom of the lake where he keeps a close eye on everything that he sees.


It is possible to go on boat trips on the lake leaving from Ross Castle during the summer. Some of the smaller boats will allow you to visit Innisfallen Island on the lake during the summer. Ross Castle is located along the Ring of Kerry, a scenic driving route, and the Kerry Way, a similar hiking path.



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Taken on October 23, 2007