Roaringwater Journal

Coppinger's Court, Ballyvireeen, near RosscarberyCoppinger’s Court, Ballyvireeen, near Rosscarbery

Fortified houses are a distinctly Irish phenomenon. The Tudor period in Britain ushered in a great era of house building with many distinctive features. But England was a peaceful place – the owners of these great houses did not expect to be attacked. Tudor Ireland was a very different environment: life was still dangerous and conflict between the native Irish and the planter class, or between Irish clans, was common.

Machicolations at Coppinger's CourtMachicolations at Coppinger’s Court

Up to the end of the 16th century the castle/tower house was the residence of choice of the powerful – a tall stone keep mainly focussed on defensive features and horribly uncomfortable to live in. (See When is a Castle..? for a complete run-down on tower houses.) These new houses emphasised the horizontal rather than the vertical, and were built with comfort in mind. However, they incorporated some of the defensive features…

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