Monument of the Month - Archive

Archive - Monument of the Month

September 2013 - The Rock of Dunamase, Co. Laois

August 2013 - Corcomroe Abbey, Co. Clare

July 2013 - Kilconnell Friary, Co. Galway

May 2013 - Grianán of Aileach, Co Donegal

April 2013 - Castledermot, Co Kildare

March 2013 - Drombeg Stone Circle and Fulacht Fiadh, Co. Cork

February 2013 - Moor Abbey, Co. Tipperary

January 2013 - Inishkeen Round Tower, Co. Monaghan

December 2012 - Creevykeel Court Tomb, County Sligo

November 2012 - Seir Kieran, Co. Offaly

October 2012 - Ferns, Co. Wexford

September 2012 - Murrisk Abbey, Carrowkeel, Co. Mayo

August 2012 - Carrigafoyle Castle, Co. Kerry

July 2012 - Monkstown Castle, Monkstown, Co. Dublin

The Rock of Dunamase, Co. Laois

The Rock of Dunamase is a spectacular natural feature visible in the landscape of Co. Laois.  It takes its name from the Irish Dún Másc, meaning the ‘Fort of Masc’. Dunamase was the seat or fort of the ancient Irish kings of Laois. In 845 the fortress or dún on top of the rock was attacked by a Viking army from Dublin, who plundered several other sites in the region.  Nothing of this early fortress can be seen today today, but what does survive is one of the most spectacular Anglo-Norman fortifications in the country.

The Rock of Dunamase 1, Laois

The castle keep or hall located on the summit of the rock may have been built about 1200 by Meiler fitz Henry. The courtyard area around the castle was defended by a curtain wall that follows the cliff edge of the rock outcrop. This area can only be accessed through a gateway called the barbican that crosses over a rock cut ditch. These outer fortifications were probably built between 1208-1210 by William Marshal the Elder, Lord of Leinster. Around 1320, Dunamase was attacked and captured by local Gaelic forces under the command of Leysagh O’More.

The Rock of Dunamase 3, Co. Laois

The castle appears to have been abandoned in the second half of the 14th century.  Dunamase was reused during the Irish Confederate Wars of the 1640s and large parts of the castle were demolished by Cromwellian troops after a siege in 1650.

The Rock of Dunamase 2, Co. Laois