Experience a slice of Irish history with a visit to Ross Castle, a remarkable 15th-century tower house nestled on the shores of Killarney's Lower Lake in County Kerry. This well-preserved fortification, located in the heart of Killarney National Park, provides a fascinating insight into Ireland's past and offers stunning views over the tranquil lake and surrounding mountains.
Ross Castle, built by the O'Donoghue clan, is a superb illustration of the mediaeval stronghold of an Irish chieftain. Its design reflects the warfare of the time, with features such as a spiral staircase designed to give the defenders a sword-hand advantage in case of an attack. The castle is steeped in local legend, the most famous of which tells of O'Donoghue's leap from the castle window into the lake, where he supposedly resides in a great palace, emerging every seven years on a white horse.
The castle was one of the last in Ireland to surrender to Cromwell's forces in the 1650s, marking the end of Irish resistance to English rule. Today, the restored castle is a designated National Monument, providing visitors with a vivid insight into the life of an Irish chieftain and his household. A guided tour through its authentically furnished rooms reveals a collection of 16th and 17th-century oak furniture, offering a window into the past.
The picturesque location of Ross Castle on the edge of Lough Leane offers beautiful views and photo opportunities. Boat trips around the lake and to Innisfallen Island depart from the castle's pier during the summer months, offering a different perspective on the castle and its surroundings.
Ross Castle is not only a testament to Ireland's rich history, but it is also a focal point in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The blend of cultural heritage and stunning landscapes makes a visit to Ross Castle an essential part of any itinerary to County Kerry, sure to leave visitors with lasting memories of their trip to Ireland's southwest.