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Medieval Castles: Dunamase

In the County of Laois in Ireland, there stands the ancient ruins of the castle of Dunamase overlooking and dominating the surrounding landscape. Built over a pre-existing fortification, the castle was occupied over the years by people such as Strongbow, Meiler FitzHenry, and William Marshal. The Marshal family occupied the castle until Maud, the daughter of Eve Marshal, married Roger Mortimer, and the castle then remained in the Mortimer family until the early 1300s. By the mid-14th century, the castle was abandoned and fell into disrepair.

During its height, Dunamese had a large keep situated between the upper and lower baileys to command the castle complex. Curtain walls surrounded the castle with two gates serving as the main entry and exit points. The east gate ruins (the main entrance, gatehouse) still stand to this day, and the southern gate more than likely served as the postern. Outside the eastern curtain wall was another wall and barbican added for extra defense, with a wide moat encircling the complex.


J.E. Kaufmann, H.W Kaufmann, and Robert M. Jurga. The Medieval Fortress: Castles, Forts and Walled Cities of the Middle Ages. De Capo Press, 2001.

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