Athcarne Castle built in 1590 has a rich and colourful history. Originally the structure began as an Elizabethan tower house combining a three story mansion and corner turret. It was built by a Sir William Bathe who was a high court judge. He passed away a few years later and left the house to his brother James.
In 1649 the site saw some dramatic events and there was a change of ownership. Oliver Cromwell was prominent at the time. He marched from Dublin with his army of men and took siege of the mansion and three other surrounding castles giving him full control of the area and a near by river. He passed ownership of the property to one of his commanders leaving James Bathe and his family forced to flee.
James died in 1660, leaving his son Luke to try to regain ownership of their family home. Despite petitioning to get his lands back, Athcarne and the other estates taken by Cromwell were transferred into the name of the Duke of York (the future King James II) The Duke of York allowed the Bathe family to return to Athcarne with a 99-year lease from 1668 for £430.
A big date in Irish history is 1690 and the Battle of the Boyne (the battle site is only 6 miles from here) The night before the battle King James is said to have been at Athcarne and stayed the night.
Going forward to 1770 the Bathe family left the home and it was then owned by the Garnett family who owned it for the next 100 years. They moved on in 1830, it was then bought by the Gernon family who made big renovations to the building. They demolished the mansion but left the tower and built it up to the castle we see today.
The Gernon family faced some hardships and had to sell the castle off as they couldn't afford the upkeep. The castle was gutted and sold at auction in 1939. There were plans to demolish the castle and use the rubble to mend extend and fix roads, however this didn't come to light. Thankfully!
The castle has some impressive stone carvings throughout the building, like the coat of arms pictured.
No castle comes without its ghost stories 😱
A documented story has been shared that in one of the many battles that took place near by an Irish fighter lay hiding in a pile of hay waiting to ambush some soldiers. As they approached his outpost he opened fire. Unfortunately there were more men than he had accounted for and he soon ran out of ammo. The soldiers then set fire to the hay smoking hm out. He tried to make his get away, which was unsuccessful, they killed him and buried him on the spot.