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Kilcolman Castle.

County Cork.



Kilcolman Castle stands about two miles north-west of the town of Doneraile, overlooking Kilcolman Bog, the castle was probably built by the sixth earl of Desmond in the fifteenth century, it was lost to the Desmond family after their failed rebellion of 1586 when the crown siezed 600,000 acres.

For a number of years the castle was the home of English soldier and poet Edmund Spencer (1579-96) who came to Ireland in 1580 as secretary to the English Deputy, Lord Grey. Spencer lived for a time in or around Dublin, in 1588 he was granted the castle together with 3,000 acres.

Spencer refurbished and occupied the castle from 1588 to 1598, during this period he wrote The Fairy Queen. In 1598 the castle was attacked and destroyed during the rebellion of the Earl of Tyrone, Spencer managed to escape although one version relates that an infant child perished in the fire. Spencer's son returned and rebuilt the castle but it was again destroyed by fire in 1622 after which it was abandoned.

In 1589 Spencer was visited by Sir Walter Raleigh who persuaded him to go to London where Raleigh introduced him to Elizabeth I who, after reading The Fairy Queen granted Spencer a pension of £50 a year, Edmund Spencer died the following year.

In 1993 Eric Klingelhofer an associate professor of history at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia excavated the part of the castle, some artifacts from the period of occupancy of Spenser's family were recovered, he recommended that the Irish government carry out further studies of the site.

Tourist Information
Aras Failte
Grand Parade
Co Cork
Tel +353 21 425 5100
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Tourist Information