Granuaile's Castle Sept 09
We have visited this castle many times. It sits on the west coast of Ireland in a nicely hidden bay beside Achill Island. Below you can see relative size with the three ladies at the east side of the castle - this is the only way in. You can see the high tide mark almost reaches the door to the castle by looking at the darker stones.
Walking around inside and up the stairs is to go back in time and looking out the windows gives you a view that has not changed much in 5oo years. We had two young lady friends from Germany in our company and they thoroughly enjoyed being in a castle that belonged to a 'Pirate Queen'.
What you are looking at above is a 15th century tower house but it is important to know that all of the outbuildings and the long hall and the stables and the quarters for the soldiers are now long gone. When standing looking at the north wall you can easily see where the structural timber for the long hall was embedded into the wall of the castle.
The view to the west from Granuaile's castle shows just how well hidden and suitable this location was for a pirate queen. The narrow inlet has treacherous stones to damage and sink any ship that did not have a local pilot, the tides around Achill are fierce and would take over from the oarsmen or wind quite easily. It should be remembered that Granuaile used to have galleys with men rowing as well as sails.
In the shallow harbor beside Granuaile's castle sits many little boats but this one has romance written into its name - ATLANTIS.

The gate / front door to this tower house is not locked and the building has been restored quite nicely, there are the expected murder holes and it has an inside flushing toilet - referred to as a garderobe in the following script taken from the notice in front of the castle as seen in the first image above. Sept 09

The 15th century tower of Rockfleet, or Carrigahowley (Carraig � an � Cabhlaigh), is typicial of the fortified dwelling of a wealthy landowner. It was the main residence of the Burke family of West Mayo from whom it passed about 1566 by marriage and appropriation to the redoubtable Granuaile or Grainne Ni Mhaille, Grace O�Malley. She was renowned in her time as that �notorious woman in all the coasts of Ireland� and �nurse of all rebellions�, and is famed today s �the Pirate Queen�.
Granuaile made Rockfleet her principle stronghold. A sea � borne force sent by the Sheriff of Galway, under Captain William Martin, laid siege to Rockfleet in 1574. Granuaile drove the attackers off. In old age she settled here permanently with �all her followers and 1000 head of cows and mares�. There were extensive outbuildings then.
The main living area, with original stone floor and arched fireplace is at the top. Access is via a spiral staircase (note the garderobe, flushed twice daily by the tide). Heavy items were hoisted up through the high doorway in the east wall. Legend has it that Granuaile ran the mooring rope of her ship through the loophole in the south wall and tied it to her bed at night.
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