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Togher Castle

Category: 
Tower house

This imposing ruin was built in the late 1500s by Tadhg an Fhorsa, a McCarthy Chieftain from 1578 to his death in 1618. This large, rectangular, sturdy and impressive building (16,2m E-W, 9.7m N-S) sits on a rocky outcrop in a marshy area overlooking the Bandon river known as Glena Chroim. It was five storeys high with defensive bartizans on the NW and SE corners. Impressive chimney stacks with zigzag patterns still remain. The roof would once have been slate - the corrugated iron put up some 40 years ago as an attempt at keeping out the weather. Originally the ground floor consisted of guardrooms and storage rooms, the second contained the great hall, and the third and fourth floors were reserved for living and sleeping quarters.The original entrance doorway is on the south side at floor level.The remains of a spiral staircase can still be seen in the NE corner of the building. A small room at the foot of the stairs is known as the chambrin á chodaigh - the tyrant's little room.

The building was much altered during the nineteenth century and the family crest that can be seen on one of the inside walls dates from this period.  At one point the old house was used as a school. One pupil was reputedly sent up to the higher levels for not behaving and fell to his death.

Inside it is now a shell; all the floors have long since gone but fireplaces remain on many levels and you can still get a feeling of its grandeur.

Townland: 
Togher- tochar - causeway
Location: 
Togher is signposted off the R585, just after the Shanacrane Cross
References: 
W1957
Fieldnotes: 

What an imposing sight this is when you first spot its impressive silhouette rearing out of the green pastures. Beautifully positioned next to the river and placed aloft on its rock, it still has a strong presence. Grander and more complex than a tower house really, Togher was well on its way to becoming fortified house with greater levels of comfort for the residents than a more austere tower house. Although attempts have been made to look after the building by the family whose land it is on, it has been shamefully ignored and neglected and I suspect it doesn't get many visitors. The cattle were pleased to see us when we visited though.

The building is on private land and permission must be sought from the nearby farm.