Castle Hen, Lough Corrib

Artist(s) : Andrew Nicholl (Draughtsman), J.A. Wheeler (Engraver)

View of Lough Corrib, with Castle Hen, variously known as Hen's Castle, Caislean na Circe, or Kirke Castle, visible upon its island, on the left-hand side of the image. Three boats with several passengers are on the water; on either side mountains stretch away into the distance. Far away smoke rises from a lone cottage.

Inscribed in Image

  • Signature – A. Nicholl. del. / Wheeler sc

Image Details

Genre Landscape
Technique Wood engravings
Subject(s) Antiquities and archaeological sites, Forts and fortifications, Nature
Geographical Location
  • Hen's Castle - Castle - Also known as Caislean na Circe, Kirk Castle, Castle Hen.
  • Corrib - Lake
  • Galway - County
  • Connaught - Province
Keywords(s) Archaeological sites, Boats, Castles, Cottages, Fishing, Islands, Lakes & ponds, Mountains, Passengers, Peasants, People, Ruins, Women
Colour Monochrome
Dimensions 7.9 cm x 5.6 cm
Published / created 1839

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account A tour in Connaught
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy p. 244
Source copy National Library of Ireland J 91412
Alternative source

This is a link to a digital copy hosted by an external website.
Rights Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Related text from travel account

Castle Hen, of which the above is a representation, is generally supposed to have been one of the inland castles of Grana Uaile, or Grace O'Maley, in whose time the fortresses around this secluded spot must have been almost unknown, if not inaccessible. Tradition says it was held by one of the O'Flahertys, who owed fealty to this chieftainess, and it is even supposed by some that it was here the heir of Howth was carried when stolen by the O'Maleys as a punish- [p. 245] ment for the inhospitality of his parents, and only restored upon condition of the gates of Howth castle remaining open during dinner time. Be this as it may, this castle, at the period of our history, was in possession of O' Flaherty but whether the soubriquet of "Na Cullugh," (the cock,) was applied from his great personal courage, or his quartering a "Gallus Gallinaceous" upon his escutcheon, history is silent: suffice it to say, that he was known as O' Flaherty na Cullugh, and at constant war with the Joyces, by whom he was surrounded, each party looking upon the other as an intruder.
As long as they feared the assisting arm of the chieftainess of the west, O' Flaherty remained the victor; but upon the death of that heroine, O' Flaherty being reduced to his own resources, the Joyces began a most fearful retaliation, and much blood was spilt on both sides. At length O' Flaherty and a few of his followers were surprised upon a hunting excursion in the neighbouring mountains, cut off from the castle, and O' Flaherty na Cullugh slain.
The Joyces now imagined the castle theirs; but though the cock was slain, his wife defended it with the greatest skill and heroism against all their attacks, acquiring for her the title of "The Hen." Hence the real origin of Krishlane na Kirca.
History or tradition is silent upon much of the after life of this lady. Some say the Joyces made a road into the castle, and demolished both it and its inmates. There certainly are the remains of a rude [p. 246] causeway leading from the nearest point of land towards the island, which can be easily seen on a clear day. "We know that Lough Corrib has risen much, owing to the number of dams, &c. that obstruct its fall toward the sea. Besides, it differs from other lakes, in being more a congress of water from a number of rivers running together and subject to increase from obstructions to drainage and other causes; it seems more than probable that this causeway was once above the level of its waters. So far my friend. [pp. 244-246]
Castle Hen, Lough Corrib