17 December 2017
By Elaine Murphy
Heritage Castles of County Cork, the latest publication in the nationally recognised Heritage of County Cork Publication Series, supported by the Heritage Council – has just been completed and will hit the bookshops in the next few weeks with the launch of the publication taking place in the County Library Exhibition room on Monday 18th December at 2.30pm
Castles are a very strong part of County Cork’s heritage, and not surprisingly so, when we learn that there were 346 recorded castles recorded in the County. Of these 184 remain identifiable in the field and a further 162 are known from early maps or other documentary sources, but have not survived. The publication gives an overview of the wide range of castle types that are to be found in the County, also detailing, how castles would have functioned in society, the family names synonymous with the main castles, what life was like in County Cork during medieval times and why indeed castles eventually went into decline towards the end of the 17th century.
The book is arranged in chronological order, starting with the castles of the Anglo-Normans (including a brief look at earthwork castles), then moving on to the later medieval tower houses, then the fortified houses of the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Typical architectural and archaeological features are also presented to give a reader a great insight into castle construction and development and some fascinating featured examples from across the County are also provided, the majority of which can be visited today, free of charge. One of the main strengths of the book, and indeed of the Heritage of County Cork Series as a whole, is the fantastic involvement of community groups, organisations and individuals, by recommending numerous castles for inclusion and providing wonderful photographs, accounts and local tales. As a result, the publication contains a wealth of information and is expertly written with thanks to Eamonn Cotter.
The book will be available in bookshops throughout the County and online with thanks to the Skibbereen Heritage Centre – www.skibbheritage.com/shop.