I have a thing for castles. Maybe it’s because we never had any in America. These fabled crenellated fortresses bring to mind romantic mythical histories of bygone kingdoms – damsels in distress, knights on white horses, and colorful royal pageantry.
When I saw road signs for Barryscourt Castle, I swerved for the exit eager to see the luxurious side of ancient Irish history. I was surprised to learn on my free tour that the reality of castle living was actually quite rough. The estate was the 16th century seat of David Barry (aka Lord Barrymore) and his wife Ellen Roche. The Lord and Lady entertained in a cold and drafty banquet room because the windows had no glass. The plumbing was primitive and the kitchen ill-equipped – not to mention the constant fear of being attacked; the castle had to be heavily guarded 24/7. Lord Barry intentionally burnt the castle in 1575 just to prevent it from falling into the hands of Captain Walter Raleigh. He later smoothed things out and rebuilt it – talk about Irish pride!
The walled garden was in full bloom – including an apple orchard!
Heading back to the hotel, we passed through the little coastal town of East Ferry and took a few snaps.
We wound down the afternoon with a friendly croquet match on the lawn. I found out I don’t have a natural aptitude for the game – but it was fun to have a go!