Going to Ross Castle? Get answers from our friendly locals
Ross Castle is the ancestral home of the O'Donoghue clan though it is better known for its association with the Brownes of Killarney who owned it until recently. It is located on the edge of Lough Leane, in Killarney National Park, County Kerry, Ireland. Ross Castle was built in the late 15th century by local ruling clan the O'Donoghues Mor (Ross), though ownership changed hands during the Desmond Rebellion of the 1580s to the Mac Carty Mor. He then leased the castle and the lands to Sir Valentine Browne ancestor of the Earls of Kenmare.
The castle was amongst the last to surrender to Oliver Cromwell's Roundheads during the Irish Confederate Wars, and was only taken when artillery was brought by boat via the River Laune. Lord Muskerry (MacCarty) held the castle against General Ludlow who marched to Ross with 4000 foot soldiers and 200 horse; however, it was by water that he attacked the stronghold. The Irish had a prophecy that Ross could never be taken until a warship could swim on the lake, an unbelievable prospect. The sight of the 'ships' unnerved the onlookers and the castle soon submitted.
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.