Ferrycarrig Castle

Ferrycarrig Castle – Tower House

Monument Id Number: WX037-027

Class: Castle – Tower House


Description: Specific references to the structure are elusive but it probably dates to the 15th century. In 1555 Alexander Roche of Ardtramon (WX037-007—-) settled the ferry of Carge on his son along with other possessions (Brooks 1950, 151), and according to the Civil Survey (1654-6) Walter Roche of Newcastle (WX037-016—-) controlled it in 1641 (Simington 1953, 112). The ferry may have lasted until a wooden bridge was built in 1794 (Lewis 1839, vol. 1, 280). The tower is situated on a piece of rock outcrop on the N side of and commanding the narrow NW-SE passage (Wth c. 100m) of the River Slaney as it enters the inner Wexford harbour, and it is now separated by the N11 Wexford town to Enniscorthy road from a high bluff (H c. 40m) c. 70m to the W. Originally the road skirted the S and E sides of the monument. The Newtown ring-work (WX037-028002-), often known as Ferrycarrig, is on a bluff on the S side of the river, c. 200m to the WSW.
The rectangular tower house (ext. dims. 7.3m E-W; 6m N-S) with conglomerate quoins survives to four storeys with a base batter which covers much of the face of the rock pinnacle. The rebuilt doorway towards the E end of the S wall, is protected inside with an original murder-hole. An entrance leads directly to a mural stairs in the E wall, but the entrance to the ground floor chamber (int. dims 3.6m N-S; 3.6m E-W) is destroyed. On the ground floor an alcove at the NW angle has double-splayed loops facing W and N, and an embrasure in the N wall has three inserted musket-loops. There are granite corbels in the N and S walls to support the ceiling. The mural stairs in the E wall leads to a passage in the N wall and a lobby outside the lintelled doorway to the first floor under an E-W vault. The lobby is protected by a doorway against the passage to the E. The first floor has simple lights in embrasures on the W and E walls, the latter also controlling the murder-hole.
Beyond the lobby in the N wall the mural passage continues to the NW angle, which has a cross-loop, and then becomes a newel stairs. At the head of the newel stairs a lintelled doorway gives access to a garderobe in the W wall and a lintelled doorway leads to the second floor (int. dims 4.7m E-W; 2.7m N-S), which has a fireplace at the E end of the S wall and simple rectangular windows in embrasures at the W end of the S wall, the S end of the E wall and the E end of the N wall, with another cross-loop a the NE angle. The dressed stonework of the windows and loops appears to be limestone, and there are two corbels in the S wall and a rebate on the N wall to support the ceiling. The garderobe slightly overhangs the inner face of the W wall where it is supported on corbels, and a spy-hole is broken through from the chute to view the second floor chamber.
At the NW angle the stairs rise anti-clockwise to the third floor where the walls are truncated, but there were windows in embrasures in the E wall, at the E end of the N wall and the W end of the S wall, the latter embrasure having curved sides. (Adams 1904. 182 4; Orpen in Hore 1900-11, vol. 5, 22-9)

The above description is derived from the published ‘Archaeological Inventory of County Wexford’ (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1996). In certain instances the entries have been revised and updated in the light of recent research.

Source: Archaeological Inventory of County Wexford – www.archaeology.ie

Compiled by: Michael Moore. 

Date of upload/revision: 14 December, 2012


  • 1. Adams, C.L. 1904 Castles of Ireland. London. Elliot Stock.
  • 2. Brooks E.St. J. (ed.) 1950 Knights’ fees in Counties Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny (13th-15th century). Dublin. Stationery Office.
  • 3. Lewis, S. 1837 A topographical dictionary of Ireland, 2 vols. London. Lewis and Co.
  • 4. Simington, R.C. (ed.) 1953 The Civil survey, AD 1654-1656. Vol. IX: county of Wexford. Dublin. Irish Manuscripts Commission.
  • 5. Orpen, G. H. 1906 The siege of Carrick-on-Slaney, in Hore (1900-11, vol. 5, 22-34)