Black Castle, also known as Leighlinbridge Castle, is located in Leighlinbridge, County Carlow.
The original Black Castle, built in 1181, was one of the earliest and finest Norman fortresses in Ireland. Hugh de Lacy granted the castle to John de Claville. The powerful Norman baron who governed Ireland for Henry II.
This Castle was built to protect a strategic crossing point over the river Barrow.
The river crossing was defended in the late 12th and 13th centuries. By an Anglo-Norman castle a short distance downriver. In the 1260s a Carmelite friary was founded here. And the earlier part of the present tower was built in the 14th century. To protect the friary and the adjacent bridge which was built by Maurice Jakis, a canon of Kildare Cathedral.
In 1547, after the friary was dissolved in Henry VIIIs campaign. To control the wealth and power of the Church. Sir Edward Bellingham, the English Lord Deputy, rebuilt much of the tower. And then refortified the bawn wall by adding a circular gun turret. Sir Peter Carew of Devon owned the castle in 1567. But Rory Óg O`More, a local Irish chieftain, captured and destroyed it in 1577. Partly rebuilt but it was attacked again by the Cromwellian armies. So half of the tower collapsedin 1888.
Source dashboard in Leighlinbridge.
All that remains of the Black Castle today is the west half of a 14th century tower.
Along with part of the bawn the remains of the castle are now dilapidated. Only a 50-foot-tall (15 m) broken castle tower. And parts of one side of an enclosing wall are still extant too.
Black Castle is located on the south eastern side of the Valerian Bridge. That crosses the Barrow river and it is accessible direct from the river towpath.
Leighlinbridge Castle is now a National Monument of Ireland.
Location of Black Castle: