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Castles in County Laois.

Lea Castle.

(Leagh grey place.)

The oldest parts of this castle probably date from the early thirteenth century, its builder most likely was Gerald fitz Maurice. The castle was burned in 1316 during the Bruce invasion. It was captured by Cromwell's army in 1650.

The keep is rectangular with round cornered towers, of which only one is almost complete. The curtain wall and twin towered gate house were probably added in the late thirteenth century.

Ballaghmore Castle

Ballaghmore was built in the fifteenth century by the Fitzpatrick's Lords of Upper Ossary, it was strategically placed beside one of the roads of ancient Ireland which pass through the Slieve Bloom Mountains. The castle was sieges several times finally falling to Cromwell in 1647. The dead from the defeated garrison were said to have been buried in a circular grave near the castle on which nothing would grow.

The castle was then granted to the Coote family later to become earls of Mountrath, it remained in their possession until the middle of the nineteenth century, when they sold the estate to the Ely family