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Rising three storeys tall, in an idyllic setting on the banks of Lough Gill, in County Leitrim in Ireland, Parke’s Castle is a plantation era castle. In 1610 Roger Parke completed his fortified manor house on the site of an earlier fifteenth-century O’Rourke (Uí Ruairc) castle. He kept the walls of the original bawn and demolished the O’Rourke tower house in the centre. Some of the stones from the O’Rourke’s tower was used to build the three-storey manor on the east side, eventually adorned with mullioned windows and diamond-shaped chimneys.
Inside the courtyard are many stone work buildings and a covered well. There are also a postern gate and a sally port and there used ot be a most her too. Excavations in 1972-73 revealed the base of the original O’Rourke tower house beneath the courtyard cobbles, and this is now exposed to view. It was in this tower house that Francisco de Cuellar, the shipwrecked Armada officer, was entertained by Brian O’Rourke. In later years, de Cuellar was to write of his host: “Although this chief is a savage, he is a good Christian and an enemy of the heretics and is always at war with them.” O’Rourke was eventually captured, indicted and executed for high treason in London in 1591.
The castle had extensive and sensitive restoration carried out at the end of the 20th century by the Office of Public Works. The window glazing was reinstated, and local artisans restored the timber stair and the mortise and tenon oak roof, using techniques of the 17th century.
Opening Times/Admission Charges : Open: approx 21st April – 28th Sept. 10.00 – 18.00. Last admission 45 minutes before closing. Average visit: 1 hour. Adult: €3. OAPs & Groups €2.
Audio Visual Presentation : Stone by Stone Seating: 40 Duration: 20 mins. Languages: English, French, German and Italian.
Facilities : Exhibition, toilets and toilet for visitors with disabilities. Public car/coach park close to site. Restaurant/Tearooms: Open during the high season
Guided Tours Available : Guided Tours: Available on request Maximum No: 25 Duration: 40 Minutes
Direction : On the Sligo-Dromahair Road (R286), 11 km from Sligo Town or 7 km from Dromahair