Categories of Special Interest
Architectural, Artistic, Historical
1865 - 1870
Freestanding square-plan Gothic Revival style country house, built between 1866-1867. Comprising battered three-bay three-storey main block with round-tower to north-west, adjoining crenellated single-storey bay with external flue to west having squinch to north-west corner, terminating in battered square-plan four-stage tower. South block having entrance bay terminating in battered square-plan, crenellated three-stage tower. Multiple-bay five-storey block to north with adjoining battered tower to north-east. House roofless. Hipped limestone roof with cross finial to north-east tower. Limestone spire to round-tower having carved finial. Gables to north-west block with limestone copings, some having carved finials. Limestone chimneystacks. Entrance block to south with pitched limestone roof. Guarderobe-like projections to west and north elevations. Roughly dressed limestone walls with buttress to north-east elevation and carved heraldic plaques to south entrance bay. Square-headed arrow slit window openings. Paired arrow slit window openings having oculus over with inset trefoil-headed opening to west elevation. Paired lancet window openings having limestone mullions and transoms with oculi over having inset quatrefoil openings to west, north and south blocks. Quatrefoil window openings to south entrance bay. Paired lancet window openings having limestone mullions and transoms with oculi over having inset multifoil openings to west block, east elevation. Pointed arch openings to round-tower with inset square-headed arrow slit windows having carved quatrefoil motifs over. Lancet openings to north block, south elevation second floor having inset trefoil-headed window openings with limestone mullions. Triple trefoil-headed lancet window openings to north-west block, east elevation. Pointed arch opening to north-west block, west elevation with inset round-headed carriage arch and adjoining pointed arch pedestrian entrance having limestone voussoirs. Carved limestone lions and heraldic motifs to tympanum with flanking engaged columns having carved quatrefoils over. Pointed arch door openings to north elevation. Pointed arch opening to south entrance bay having inset pointed arch opening with carved limestone voussoirs. Square-headed shouldered door openings to south entrance block, east and west elevations, first floor. External cantilevered limestone staircase to south block, north elevation. Barrel vault to entrance, main block having tooled limestone ribs. Cut limestone stairs and spiral staircases to interior, north block, with carved sandstone springing arch to ground floor. Red brick walls to interior, west block, with carved limestone fireplace. Flight of limestone steps with rubble limestone walls and pointed arch door opening to north.
Dromore Castle was designed by E.W. Godwin for the Lord Glentworth, third Earl of Limerick. Built as a keep in a Gothic Revival style, the building is archaeologically convincing both in its design and its display of distinctively Irish Gothic features, such as the round tower and stepped battlements. Godwin studied and measured several Irish Gothic castles before producing his plans for Dromore. He also designed much of the interior including the wall paintings, fireplaces, ceiling decoration, sculpture, tiles, stained and painted glass, brass work and ironwork, as well as furniture, to whom the commission for furniture went to William Watts of Grafton Street. Henry Stacey Marks commenced the wall paintings, however, work was abandoned due to severe damp. To combat this Godwin designed a brick lining with a cavity of about two inches from the stonework, in addition the internal walls and vaults, with the exception of the main entrance vault, were also of brick. Abandoned in 1949, the roof was removed in the 1950s, however the house remains a striking feature in the landscape and is visible for miles due to its prominent elevated position. Dromore Castle remains an important part of the social and architectural heritage of County Limerick being one of the most archaeologically correct Gothic Revival castles that was built at that time.