Castle of Doona

Dublin Penny Journal
November 3, 1832
Volume 1, Number 19

“On our return home we passed the Old Castle of Doona, (county Mayo) once supposed to have been honoured by the residence of Mrs. Grace O'Malley, (Grana Uille) who, if fame tells truth, was neither a rigid moralist, or over-particular in her ideas of meum and tuum. Some wild traditions are handed down of her exploits; and her celebrated visit to that English vixen Elizabeth, is fairly on record. The castle, of Doona was, till a few years since, in excellent preservation, and its masonry was likely to have puzzled Father Time himself; but Irish ingenuity achieved in a few hours, what as, many centuries had hitherto failed in effecting.

“A rich and hospitable farmer, John Conway, whose name will be long remembered in this remote spot, had erected a comfortable dwelling immediately adjoining the court-yard wall of the ancient fortress; and against the tower itself was piled in wealthy profusion a huge supply of winter fuel. It was a night of high solemnity, for his first-born son was christened. No wonder then that all within the house were drunk as lords. Turf was wanted, and one of the boys was despatched for a cleave-full—but though Pat could clear a fair, and ‘bear as much beating as a bull,’ he was no man to venture into the old tower in the dark, ‘and it haunted.’ Accordingly, to have fair play ‘if the ghost gripped him,’ he provided himself with a brand of burning bog-deal. No goblin assailed him, and he filled his basket and returned unharmed to the company, but, unfortunately, forgot the light behind him. The result may be anticipated. The turf caught fire, and from the intense heat of such a mass of fuel, the castle-walls were rent from top to bottom, and one side fell before morning with a crash like thunder. Nor was the calamity confined to fallen tower and lost fuel. Alas! several cags and ankers of contraband spirits were buried beneath the walls, and the huge masses of masonry that came down, burst the concealed casks of cogniac and schidam.”—Wild Sports of the West.