Featured image for Ballycarbery Castle

An Ivy-Covered Castle-Ballycarbery Castle

Situated directly next to the water’s edge in County Kerry, Ireland, is the beautiful ruin known as Ballycarbery Castle. It is an extremely impressive castle, covered in ivy from head to toe to further entice the idea of castles symbolising romance. It is said to have possibly been the largest and most impressive castle built on the peninsula of Iveragh and even to this day, it is still very impressive, even from a distance.

The history of Ballycarbery Castle

Ballycarbery Castle is listed as one of the County’s historical buildings. However, not much has been done to actually preserve this beauty. There are no gates, signs, or paths into or around the castle. The state has essentially forgotten about it. It is located in a beautiful area that the locals call ‘over the water’.

This fine castle sits atop a large, green, grassy hill and overlooks the surrounding landscape.

Professional photo of Ballycarbery Castle
Professional photo of Ballycarbery Castle. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The early history

It is thought that some sort of residence was situated on the same grounds as early as 1398. However, the present ruins were created far later in the 16th century. It was noted as McCarthy Mor Castle by many sources at the time. Nobody actually knows if it was ever properly occupied by the McCarthy Mors or their wardens, the O’Connells.

Changing hands

Following the death of the castle’s previous owner, Donal McCarthy Mor, the castle was passed into the hands of Sir Valentine Browne. In 1652, it was attacked by cannon fire from Parliament forces during the War of the Three Kingdoms. In the 18th century, a lovely, large house was built on the existing site using the barn wall.

The Lauder family inhabited the house; however, it was later demolished in the 20th century. From then on, the castle was forgotten about for a long time. It wasn’t until 2017 that someone took interest in the castle and decided to buy it. It now remains in private ownership.

Ivy covered on Ballycarbury castle
The castle is covered in Ivy. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The present day

Years ago, Ballycarbery Castle was surrounded by a lovely high wall on the outside. Though now, only some of it remains. Most of the walls of the castle have fallen and crumbled completely and there is a staircase. The staircase is very dangerous. It sits right on the edge of the sea and the photos from within the castle are stunning.

With ivy growing on the walls, it is an incredibly picturesque castle with many impressive qualities. Don’t miss out on the view of the water from the bottom floor room windows.

You may be interested in other Irish castles such as Belvelly Castle.

animals grazing infront of Ballycarbery Castle
Animals enjoy grazing near the castle. Source: Flickr.

Ballycarbery Castle Timeline

  • 1398- The very first residence is situated on the site
  • 16th century- Ballycarbery Castle is built
  • 1652- The castle is attacked by cannon fire from Parliament forces during the War of the Three Kingdoms
  • 18th century- A lovely, large house is built on the existing site using the barn wall
  • 20th century- The house is demolished, and the castle is forgotten about
  • 2017- Someone takes interest in the castle and decides to buy it

Ballycarbery Castle facts

  • The ground floor of the castle had several rooms
  • Locals call the area surrounding the castle ‘over the water’
  • Most of the damage to the castle was done by the cannonballs
  • A staircase remains inside one part of the wall but is not easily accessible
  • The castle derived its name from Carbery now called Ballycarbery
  • Leap Year (2010)

Who owns Ballycarbery Castle?

In 2017, someone took significant interest in Ballycarbery Castle. They quickly fell in love with the castle and purchased it right away. The owner quickly eliminated public access to the castle by making it private land.


Be careful that you don’t wander too close to this gorgeous ruin. It is under private ownership, so you may get in trouble for entering the property. To get there, take the road down past Cahersiveen town library. On your way, you will see Caherviseen Castle on your right. Keep driving until you cross a bridge.

Once you have crossed the bridge, keep going until you arrive at a crossroads. From there, turn left and continue until you hit a Y in the road. Keep to the left of the Y and 100m up on the left, you will find the car park. Nearby, you can also visit Dingle Bay, Kerry Cliffs, the Skellig Experience Visitor Centre, and Eask Tower.

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