Featured image of Parkes Castle

Parkes Castle – History & Architecture

LocationKilmore, County Leitrim, Republic of Ireland (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byOffice of Public Works
Rooms AvailableYes (Weddings, Events and Filming)

The Parkes castle is an excellent example of medieval Norman architecture. It is surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, including woodlands, meadows and a large lake. Get ready to be immersed in the unique, historic atmosphere of this 15th-century fortress that has seen generations come and go.

Parkes Castle History

Parkes castle
Parkes Castle, by Willie Duffin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Parkes Castle is situated in the heart of the picturesque town of Leitrim, Ireland. The castle has a rich history and has been around for centuries through several wars and historical events.

Three major buildings have existed at the castle since its inception in the late 15th century by Robert Parke. The First House was built with great planning, beginning with a large fortified courtyard. It is believed to be largely based upon a similar structure from England and some notable Irish influences. An Elizabethan manor house followed this during the early 17th century, with less defensive purposes in mind than its predecessor and featured an interior edged with finely-crafted stonework.

In 1775, Colonel George Parkes built his third Parkes Castle while residential facilities were also established nearby. This third construction featured beautifully ornamented staircases leading up to the Great Hall, Banqueting Rooms, and Ornate kitchens. This design was symbolic of English country houses and would become one of the most impressive castles in Ireland today.

Parkes Castle Architecture

Parkes Castle Architecture
Parkes Castle Architecture by Creevylea is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Parkes Castle architecture consists of two distinct structures – an imposing tower house and a curtain wall surrounding an expansive courtyard. The great tower stands three storeys high and contains four round towers placed around the corners, which provide into each of the four storeys from balconies outside. A wide staircase located on the south wall provides access to each level.

The symmetrically-shaped interior includes decagonal rooms with slanted walls, vaults held in its ceilings and fireplaces to keep any invading army at bay. Several fireplaces have elaborate designs, scrollwork cusped lintels, and carved stone heads vary around doorways. The main first-floor hall includes massive timber door frames, which are hung inside them on separate hinges and vertically panelled doors which open onto another room.

The castle was inhabited for centuries and, after undergoing extensive repairs, today stands proudly as one of Ireland’s finest examples of historic architecture from the 15th century.

Inside Parkes Castle

The inside of Parkes Castle is a marvel to behold. Constructed in the late 15th century, it still offers an insight into its medieval past and highlights the impressive artistry of its original builders. Visitors can explore the four internal buildings – a guardhouse, chapel, stateroom and great kitchen -and their surrounding rooms, which have recently seen added features designed to reflect the castle’s history.

All the floors are connected with beautiful stone steps and reinforced by centuries-old methods of stonework which provide support, durability and character to each step in the building. In addition, visitors can appreciate several distinctive features that identify Parkes Castle from other Irish castles. These include striking triple-light windows in chimney breasts around the castle’s courtyard that allow light across three stories – originally intended to improve ventilation.

Parkes-hall by Cliffoney is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

As part of any tour of Parkes Castle, it is essential to appreciate subtle differences between interior design styles from different eras as reflected by changes in architecture, such as neo-Gothic architecture seen in some ceilings featuring beautifully ornamented plasterwork with carvings and painted designs. These fascinating glimpses into centuries past will surely give any visitor to the castle an unforgettable experience, no matter what your interest in history may be!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Parkes Castle open?

Parkes Castle is open to visitors seven days a week, seasonally from March to October. Visitors to Parkes Castle will find various attractions, from walls and towers to formal gardens, walks, and woodland trails.

Who owns Parkes Castle?

The building was acquired by the Office of Public Works in 1935.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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