EIGHT-hundred years of history came crumbling down at the weekend with the collapse of a large section of the celebrated remains of Carlow Castle.
Yesterday (Monday) morning, the Office of Public Works (OPW) confirmed to The Nationalist that a ‘masonry collapse’ occurred over the weekend at Carlow Castle, taking away a large portion of its southeast turret.
Access to the site was cordoned off, ‘Harris’ fencing was erected around the perimeter of the entire castle and appropriate safety signage affixed, warning the public to keep out.
In a statement, the OPW confirmed that its team was ‘onsite today in Carlow assessing the damage to the castle and tracking the possible causes for the event.
‘While this process is underway, it will not be possible to speculate how the issue will be addressed and OPW is not, therefore, in a position to comment further at this time,’ the statement read.
Speculation is rife that Carlow Castle fell victim to the effects of Storm Ciara over the weekend, but this has yet to be confirmed.
Dermot Mulligan, curator at Carlow County Museum, yesterday indicated that he had received a call from a member of Carlow Archaeological and Historical Society on Sunday expressing their concern.
“I reported that matter to National Monuments, which is operated by the OPW, and also the National Museum and Carlow County Council,” stated Mr Mulligan. “I have no idea what happened, but people are aware of it and the necessary measures have been taken,” he added.
Carlow Castle was built between 1207 and 1213 and designed as a towered keep, where a huge rectangular tower is surrounded by four smaller three-quarter-circular towers at the corners of the rectangle. The castle changed hands multiple times until it was taken by Oliver Cromwell in 1650, then later returned to the Earl of Thomond.
In 1814, Carlow Castle was destroyed by explosives in a blundering attempt to create more space for its conversion into a lunatic asylum. Just the outer face of the west wall and the two neighbouring towers could be preserved.