Balleen Castle, County Kilkenny

From The Illustrated Dublin Journal, Volume 1, Number 31, April 5, 1862

ABOUT two miles north west from the little town of Freshford, county Kilkenny, stand the imposing ruins of Balleen Castle. Situated on ground of considerable elevation, though of rather gradual ascent, they overlook a country of beautifully diversified appearance, in fine cultivation, and interspersed with numerous interesting remains of antiquity. Once a principal strong-hold of the noble house of Ormond, this castle was of considerable importance, as is sufficiently attested by the extent of the ruins, and the elegance of those parts of the building that have escaped destruction. Of the original structure but two towers at present remain. The north-west tower seems to have been erected in the course of the fourteenth century, and was the keep of the fortress as it then stood. It contained four floors, one of which was arched; a fine stone staircase in one of the angles that is now nearly destroyed, together with fireplaces and the other usual appendages to a building of the kind--all now in a most dilapidated condition. The other remaining tower is obviously of less antiquity; and were we not possessed of the real date of its erection, we would immediately attribute it to the middle or termination of the fifteenth century. The windows of this tower, with their graceful label-mouldings, mullions, and transoms, some of which are overhung and interwoven with beautiful and exuberant ivy, are of elegant construction; over one of them is the date A.D. 1455, showing the erection of this side of the castle to have taken place in the time of James, fifth Earl of Ormond, who possessed great power, and was a favourite of Henry VI., who conferred on him the additional title of Earl of Wiltshire.