by Dr. Hiram Morgan, Department of History, University College Cork
Carrigaline Castle is on the site – Carraig Uí Leighin – from which Carrigaline takes its name.
It links us with the Normans, the Fitzgeralds of Desmond, the Plantations and with America. Carrigaline Castle was established by the Normans, and it and the original village were developed by the De Cogans during the Middle Ages. In 1438 it was acquired by the Earls of Desmond and a century later was leased to the Fitzmaurice branch of the family.
In 1568 it was given to Warham St.Leger the first English planter inMunster. As a result James FitzMaurice Fitzgerald led the province in the first major Catholic rebellion against the Tudors. Lord Deputy Sidney came to Cork and besieged and garrisoned the castle. When James Fitzmaurice did not get his lands back after submission, he left for the continent to plot further revolt and with the Pope’s help returned to Dingle to a tragic end in 1579.
In 1613 the St Legers sold out to Daniel Gookin from Kent. Shortly after Gookin became involved with Captain William Newce, a soldier who had already established Newcestown, near Bandon, in a colonisation scheme in Virginia. Newce died soon after arriving in Americain 1621 and it was Gookin who completed the establishment of Newport Newsthere. When Newport News celebrates its founding in ten years time, it would be great if Carrigaline could play a role.
Carrigaline Castle was vacated in the 17th century and the village moved in the 18th century to the bridge crossing over the Owenabue river. Over the years the castle has been dilapidated by local farmers for building material; in 1986 a whole section of it suffered a major collapse; there are now trees and branches growing through its remaining walls. If these aren’t removed and the castle conserved, all of it will fall down.
It is a matter of urgency that this important piece of local heritage is saved. In doing so a new amenity will be made for the whole community.