In 2014 Rubicon Heritage were commissioned by Cork County Council to undertake an audit of heritage assets owned by the County Council. The audit was intended to assess a wide variety of these properties by providing an overall background/description of the selected sites and identifying the main heritage characteristics and status/functionality of each. We have compiled a series of blogs based on the information gathered during the audit to highlight a number of the selected sites and the amazing archaeology in County Cork. This week we look at Carrigadrohid Bridge and Castle.
Carrigadrohid Bridge is situated 8km east of the town of Macroom and spans the River Lee. It is a road bridge that connects the Carrigadrohid and Killinardrish settlements. Originally the bridge spanned two channels of the Lee until the water level of the River Lee was raised by the Lee Valley Hydro-Electric Scheme project in 1956. The bridge is dominated by Carrigadrohid Castle, which stands on an island in the Lee; access to the castle is via the bridge. The current bridge is sited on the remains of earlier structures. It is indicated on 1656 Down Survey and is described in the Civil Survey of 1654-6 as a timber bridge. Du Noyer’s 19th-century sketch shows the bridge with six semi-circular arches.
Today two of these arches survive over the north channel measuring 20ft and 17ft. Four semi-circular arches over the southern channel that were depicted in an 18th century Beranger print were swept away by flooding in 1853. These were replaced the 4.6m wide segmental arches that are present today
On the island itself and adjacent to the castle the bridge is solid and archless with an unusual tapering semi-circular buttress to the east side, topped with a machicolation-like feature. The bridge was repaired in 1988 .
The castle itself is T-shaped in plan and consisted of a three-storey over basement tower-house, construction of which is thought to have commenced c.1450. It is currently ruinous with the roof missing. The castle was built by the McCarthy’s of Muskerry to control the Lee. The subject of a number of attacks, the most celebrated was the efforts by Parliamentarian forces to take it in 1650. The Parliamentarian troops were reputed to have forced Bishop Eagan, a Confederate whom they had captured, to attempt to persuade the garrison to surrender. When he failed he was hanged in sight of the walls to demoralise those inside. This event is commemorated with a plaque at the Castle.
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