Dunboy Castle was the main stronghold of the OʼSullivan Bere clan who controlled the Beara Peninsula until the seventeenth century.
Although fought mainly in the north, the Siege of Dunboy was one of the final acts of the Nine Yearsʼ War (Cogadh na Naoi mBliana) between the English and Irish that took place between 1594 and 1603.
In the spring of 1602, an English force of about 4,000 men landed on Bere Island, and from there quickly moved across the channel to establish a base just north of the castle.
From there they laid siege to a garrison of about 140 men in Dunboy. Fighting went on for eleven days, but eventually the castle was destroyed, and all but a handful of the defenders slaughtered. Those that survived were all hanged, including Friar Dominic Collins, a Catholic lay-brother and soldier, who was beatified by the Pope in 1992.
It was burned down in 1921 but, during the Celtic Tiger years, was the subject of a grandiose restoration scheme complete with glass atrium. The scheme, however, was a victim of the credit crunch, and the site is, at the time of writing (2010), fenced off and inaccessible.
Two tributes to the folly of man.
Near Dunboy Castle
Puxley Castle Gatehouse
Traveling west on the R572 from Castletownbere, look out for the old gatehouse on the left. There are a couple of display boards giving histories of Dunboy and Puxleyʼs Castles, but otherwise little to confirm that you are in the right place.
Go through the gateway and keep going along the track past the building site that is Puxleyʼs Castle to the very end of the track.