Ardfinnan Castle (Tipperary)

From the Illustrated Dublin Journal, No. 6, October 12, 1861

THE village of Ardfinnan, in the county of Tipperary, is a place of very considerable antiquity, and derives its name from a celebrated ecclesiastic who founded a church here in the seventh century, prior to which time it was called in the Irish Annals "Druim-abhradh." The magnificent ruin of Ardfinnan Castle is one of the most picturesque and attractive features of the river Suir. It was erected in the year 1185, by John, Earl of Morton, afterwards King John, of infamous memory, of whom it has been remarked that he achieved nothing during his sojourn in Ireland, but the construction of this and two other castles, namely, Lismore and Tibraghny. A large amount of judgment and military skill were exhibited in the selection of Ardfinnan as the site of a fortress, as it commanded one of the principal passes into South Munster. As its ruins still sufficiently show, its general form was that of a parallelogram, strengthened by square towers at the corners, and having a strong entrance gateway. It was preserved as a military stronghold until the year 1649, when it was dismantled by that inveterate castle-destroyer, Oliver Cromwell. The village of Ardfinnan itself was once a place of great importance, and appears to have had a corporation, as it is on record that in the reign of Edward II. a grant of "pontage for three years" was made to "the bailiffs and good men of Ardfynan." The banks of the Suir, beneath the Castle, are connected by a bridge of fourteen arches, said to be coeval with the erection of the fortress.