Cullahill Castle Laois and Fertagh Round Tower

 Cullahill Castle


Cullahill Castle

Cullahill, also known as Cullohill is a small village in South Laois, roughly five Kilometres Southwest of Durrow on the R 639 or five Kilometres from Johnstown in Kilkenny if travelling northwards on the R 639.


Cullahill Castle


It’s the kind of village dissected by a major road that travellers pass straight through without noticing much but there’s plenty to see here for those who take the time to stop.

Cullahill Castle


Of its many interesting features, Cullahill Castle and ruins are hidden a mere 100 metres away on the L 1756 behind the Petrol Station on the main road in the village. It was built in 1425 by Finghin Mac Giolla Phádraig (Fitzpatrick) and destroyed by Cromwellian forces in the 17th Century.

Cullahill Castle


It's a surprisingly beautiful and well maintained location. Here at Cullahill are to be found the impressive ruins of Cullahill Castle itself, the ruins of the Church associated with the Castle, a beautiful old Lime Kiln, a mass of flower covered and well kept grassy lawns and a short but stunningly beautiful  nature trail starting from beside the Church ruins.

Cullahill Castle and Church ruins


The area is immaculately kept and a credit to the residents of the village. As of Feb 2019 there were small works here which look like the base for seating to be installed.
I passed the Castle once before by bike but in a group so I didn’t have the opportunity to stop.

Cullahill Lime Kiln


There is a Mass rock in a field along the Nature trail and another Lime Kiln though not as well preserved.

Cullahill Castle


Signage indicating way marked walking and cycling routes are located here as well. All in all it’s a very pretty and historic location in its own right and well worth stopping to see.

Cullahill Castle


On the opposite side of the village from the Castle on the L 1558 is Saint Tighearnach’s Church of Ireland and Memorial Garden. The memorial garden is a small tranquil location, nothing on a grand scale but just the spot to take a minute or two for clearing the head and relaxing.

Cullahill Nature Trail


The sign for Cullahill Castle is the standard small Brown tourist information sign and hard to spot but you can see the Castle from the Petrol Station. The Brown signs are losing their relevance anyway as more and more appear which have little if anything to do with tourist information.

Cullahill Memorial Garden


About 6 Kilometres from Cullahill travelling Southbound on the R 639 is the Round Tower and ruined Church of Grangefertagh which lies just across the county border in Kilkenny and is rarely visited.

In the Church ruins there is a beautiful old Effigy Tomb. At one stage it looks like the inside of the Church ruins were turned into a Hand Ball alley which is just as well as it probably helped preserve the ruin from further decay.

Cullahill Memorial Garden


Strangely there is no signage I could see at all for Grangefertagh. It’s almost as if this beautiful Round Tower and Church ruin have been completely forgotten about. 

Cullahill


A Monastery was founded at Grangefertagh in the 6th Century by Saint Ciaran. 

The Round Tower dates from the 10th Century and the Church ruin is from a 13th Century Agustinian Priory.

Cullahill Castle


The effigy Tomb is one of the Mac Giolla Phádraig’s (Brian or Seaghán ?), a Lord of Ossory and his wife. Which one I’m uncertain as different sources make different claims. It dates sometime around 1450 or 1550 depending upon which source you believe.

Grangefertagh Round Tower


To find Grangefertagh Round Tower head southbound from Cullahill on the R 639 for about 5 kilometres. You’ll see the Round Tower across the road in the fields on your right after a few Kilometres. Look out for signs to the right signed Galmoy and Galmoy GAA and it’s about another Kilometre after turning. 

Grangefertagh Effigy Tomb


It’s easy enough to find when you know it’s there and as with Cullahill it’s well worth taking the time to visit. Just reverse these directions if you’re coming from Johnstown.

Grangefertagh Round Tower


It’s impossible to know how many of these historic heritage sites will be still standing fifty years from now so I think that’s all the more reason to see them now while they are still here to appreciate.



Grangefertagh Round Tower

Grangefertagh

Grangefertagh