Rossmore (310 acres) (Irish: Ros Mor, meaning ‘large copse or large promontory’). Location of Rossmore Castle in ruins former McCarthy sometimes ascribed to O’Mahony  tower house and location of former slate quarry.   In the field west of Attridges off the road there is believed to be a famine graveyard as told to Nancy Dukelow by her father Tom.  This may be in fact the  graveyard marked ‘cillín’ on the ordnance survey map to the east of Attridges in Jimmy Hegarty’s yard which David Shannon of Rossmore says may also have been the site of an old church or a pre workhouse refuge for destitute people.

This Castle is often cited as an O’Mahony one, the stone work and the mortar binding of sea pebbles and horse blood is more consistent with other McCarthy Castles in the area.

Some years ago during reclamation work in the area cobbles were unearthed suggesting that the castle was a focus of a wider settlement.

Opposite is a deep water anchorage and locally there some steps cut into the rock suggesting commerce involving the castle.













The farm yard nearby was in the Baker family and in the 19th century became Shannon by marriage.  The Balers are probably in  the area since the 1600s possibly in connection with fishing.  The farmyard ‘on the water’ was originally a thatched fisherman’s cottage later raised and lengthened.  The adjoining farm is Hegarty originally Attridge related to Hegartys by marriage the property was purchased the Hegartys from the Mizen Peninsula.


Just in front of the beach is a cluster of apple trees containing a variety never before identified, now knows as ‘George Hegarty’ adn being propogated in Seed Svers in Clare.Courtesy Peter Clarke (

McCarthy Castle, Rossmore

Tower house

The remains of an O’Mahony tower house are well hidden down a little boreen and are to be found right at the seashore gazing down into the expanse of Dunmanus Bay. Not a huge lot remains – a three storeyed wall, some windows, a chimney breast, the remains of a garderobe, a stairwell and a cluster of little outbuildings plus farm house. Probably built in the 14C, the castle seems to have been owned by the McCarthy family who later built themselves a fine modern building at Cúl na Long.

Townland: Rossmore: Ros mor, large headland
Location: Down a small track from the main Durrus to Ahakista road; private access
References: V922 409
Field notes:
This is a wonderful, well hidden spot at the end of a little boreen. The old tower house has been customised with farm buildings being built on its walls, and tiny windows placed in its original huge ones. The whole area is peppered with little buildings – a farm house right at the water’s edge and a cluster of outbuildings. A resident donkey regarded me with gentle interest.