Gallarus Castle, windows

Detail of three windows of the tower house known as Gallarus Castle, now restored.

Image Details

Genre Scientific or Technical illustration
Technique Woodcuts
Subject(s) Antiquities and archaeological sites, Architecture
Geographical Location
  • Gallarus - Named locality
  • Kerry - County
  • Munster - Province
Keywords(s) Antiquities, Archaeological sites, Castles, Towers, Windows
Colour Monochrome
Published / created 1839

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account Rambles in the South of Ireland
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy Vol. 1, p. 141
Source copy James Hardiman Library, National University of Ireland Galway Special Collections: 914.190481 CHA
Rights James Hardiman Library

Related text from travel account

From this remarkable cell [Gallarus Oratory], and its surrounding little burial-ground, we were guided by a peasant across some potatoe fields, and over walls and ditches, towards a miserable group of hovels.
Amongst these stood the remains of a ruined tower, grown grey and brown with lichens and moss, and its base much injured by damp and the thievish hands of the cottagers, who have stolen from its walls the hard stones, to construct their own miserable dens beside it. The breadth of this ancient tower is about one-third less than its length. I should judge it to be about forty- [p. 140] five feet high to the spring of the roof, which is arched rudely with flat stones, depending more upon their own adhesiveness than any art or shaping that the builder bestowed upon them. The interior of the tower was divided into four stories, lighted by windows that have no particular regularity of position, or character of masonry to render them interesting.
From the second floor, to which I scrambled with considerable difficulty, there is a broad chimney, up which one of my companions clambered, by dint, as he asserted, of the muscles [p. 140] of his knees and elbows, and greatly to the disadvantage of his habiliments.
At some risk of breaking his neck, he attained
the top of the tower. And being somewhat an architectural critic, he informs me that—"In the north-east corner was once the newel staircase, of which only two or three steps remain. The roofing, or rather ceiling, above these few steps is made of flag-stones—the tower is consequently considerably earlier than the period of the architecture termed Gothic, when the habit was to let the stone stairs be piled upon each other, serving at each turn for the roofing of those that wound below them—without any ceiling of other stones, or mortar, such as the Normans usually placed." But I find that the comparison of English and Irish architecture will not hold good as to the deduction of dates.
After much greater difficulty in scrambling down the chimney, which fortunately had been too long disused to retain its smut, my aspiring companion joined me, and we scrutinized the exterior of the tower, sketching the masonry of the little windows, which he observed corresponded exactly with the style common in England before the Norman Conquest.
[Image: Gallarus Castle, windows]
The annexed woodcuts are copies of our
sketches. The castle is called by the same name
as the little cell—Gollerus.
From it we proceeded across the fields towards the place where our car was to meet us, [p. 142] and then pursued our route towards the habitation of the priest of the parish. A very stony road lay before us, which was crossed by several streams, and terminated on the sands of Smerwick Bay. The sand at this point, drifting in the wind, has gradually encroached upon the fields and cabins of the peasantry; and where there was formerly, we were told, an extensive marsh, and some cultivated land, we now saw a bleak and desolate waste of loose sand. [Vol. 1, p. 139-142]
Gallarus Castle, windows