Ruined castle dating from 1215

The keep was built between 11 and the curtain walls were added around 12.John Byng, Viscount Torrington and social diarist, visited the castle in 1785 and "mused much on all this scenery of antient splendour;and did wish for a longer stay than the profitable hour we passed amidst the ruins' commenting that 'the whole look is wonderfully grand! When Desmond failed to make the rendezvous Pelham charged him with treason and instituted a scorched earth policy which reduced Munster to a famine that lived long in the folk memory.

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There is one of the latter on the NE corner, surmounted by double battlements which are typical of Irish medieval castellated architecture.

It could be a nineteenth-century addition, like the one on the NE corner which was incorporated into the new house, of which more later.

It is difficult to date the remaining castle ruins which consist of a small, almost square chamber without upper floors or roof, and a round staircase tower which, pierced with arrow-slit windows, rises about three floors, but from which the staircase and roof have been removed.

There is the remains of a bartizan (a turret corbelled out from the wall on cut stone corbels, used for defence) on the west corner.

However, the small size of Fanningstown Castle suggests that this is the ground plan of an unimportant, probably primarily defensive structure.

In possession of the Norman Maurice family by 1285, along with the castle at Adare, Fanningstown castle and the cantred of which it was a part, and into which English and Welsh settlers may well have been introduced, were an integral part of the Norman feudal system.

Unfortunately Fanningstown does not surface in the historical record until the late sixteenth century.

By this time the English, conscious that their power was slipping from them in Ireland, were determined to reassert themselves.

This reveals that Fanningstown had slipped from English control and was now in the possession of Edmund Fanning, a member of an old Anglo-Norman family that had remained Catholic and was vehemently opposed to Cromwell.

In Limerick City where Cromwell's general, Henry Ireton, had led a six-month siege, another member of the family, Dominick Fanning, an alderman, had led the resistance.

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