|Location||Benburb, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland (Google Maps)|
|Open for Visitors||Yes|
Strategically built on the cliff overlooking the River Blackwater, Benburb Castle provides a beautiful setting for the keen eye of the lovers of enchanting castles. Ideal for walking, the site presents the loveliest picture in the spring season when one can enjoy long walks along the countryside, on the path towards the river. The castle also has a rich history which is worth a visit from enthusiasts of the subject.
History of Benburb Castle
Benburb Castle is a plantation bawn built in 1611 by Sir Richard Wingfield on the grounds of Benburb Servite Priory. In 1641, the castle was occupied by Phelim O’Neill, who slaughtered the previous occupants. Subsequently, in 1646, Owen Roe O’Neill took the reins of the castle before defeating the English troops at the Battle of Benburb led by General Robert Monro. The Battle of Benburb took place during the Irish Confederate Wars between the Irish Confederate Ulster army under the supervision of Owen Roe O’Neill and the Scottish Covenanter army in Ulster led by General Monro. O’Neill emerged victorious, squashing the hopes of the Scottish of conquering Ireland. This historic event changed the castle’s fate as it fell to ruins soon after.
In the latter part of the 19th century, the Bruce family built the large manor house northeast of the castle, and a cottage was built inside the walls of the castle.
In the 1940s, American troops used the manor house as a hospital, and the towers of the castle were used to allow watchmen on the roofs to detect possible threats.
Architecture of Benburb Castle
Benburb Castle is a four-sided bawn having its entrance in the north wall. The castle has rectangular flanking towers like tall houses on the northeast and northwest corners. At the southeast end of the castle is a circular tower with a stair down to a side entrance gate at the cliff edge. Living accommodations were added in the gabled flankers even though Sir Wingfield had no intentions of living there. After being recently repaired and renovated, the castle is in excellent shape and is open to visitors.
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