Ballincollig Castle

To the southwest of Ballincollig is a castle, which may date (in part) from the time of Edward III (1327-1377 AD) in the fourteenth century or the foundations may go back to the thirteenth century. There may even have been a motte and bailey there before the stone castle.


The castle, now in ruins stands on an isolated limestone rock in the midst of a plain and consists of a square keep, about forty feet in height, and enclosed bawn. There were several phases of building as shown by the plan in the book The Castles of South Cork by Mike Salter, 2004.

From the castle, there is an excellent view of the surrounding Maglin Valley and it would appear that the site was chosen as it was a good location for a defensive fort.


“County Cork is crowded with castles but most of them are of comparatively late date (15th or 16th century); very early castles are rare, but the county has some storybook examples. Ballincollig castle, set on a limestone bluff, is one such. Its curtain wall runs around the edge of the rock on which it stands, and inside is a slender central keep. It is believed to date from the time of King Edward III”. Daphne Pochin Mould in Discovering Cork, Published in 1991


History of castle

The early history of the castle is not clear but we do know that the Barretts, a Norman family purchased the lands of Ballincollig and possibly an early castle construction in 1468 from Robert Coll, a knight. In fact, Ballincollig may have got its name from the “Coll” name Baile an Choillaigh (town of the Colls). The Barrett family had travelled to Ireland with the Normans when they came to conquer Ireland in 1169 and had acquired extensive territory in County Cork.


By 1600, the Barretts had five castles, as shown on the 1602 Pacata Hibernia map: Castlemore (Mourne Abbey), Garrycloyne, Castleinch, Ballincollig and Cloghan McUllick (about 2 to 3 miles south or south west of Ballincollig). The Normans stone castle building phase in Ireland was from 1200, soon after they arrived (1169) to 1300 when times got more difficult for them for several reasons.

In the early 17th century, the Barretts lost Ballincollig Castle. In 1618, they had borrowed money from the Coppingers of Cork and when the Barretts couldn’t pay the money back, the Coppingers came into possession of the castle in 1630. Later, the castle was garrisoned both by Cromwell and also by James II. The castle was ruined by the end of the 1600s.

However, in the mid 1800s, Ballincollig Castle belonged to William Wise, D.L., J.P.” (Guys Cork Directory 1875-76) and the Wise family repaired the tower in 1857. A stone crest was inserted in the east wall of the tower with the letter “W” and the year “1857″ on it. It is still there in 2007.


Here is a link to photos of Ballincollig Castle on Flickr.

Article by Margaret Jordan and photos by Randy Jordan


12 Responses to Ballincollig Castle

  1. Mike Barrett says:

    I would like te get in contakt with the Wise famlie regarding Ballincollig Castle.
    Could you bring me in contakt met Mr. William Wise, D.L., J.P.

    Yours sincerly

    Mike Barrett

  2. eoin says:

    Mr. William Wise, D.L., J.P was alive in the mid 19th century and sadly can no longer be contakted.


  4. P Thompson says:

    Does anyone know who to contact about Ballincollig castle as in who is in charge of it ???

    • Ballincollig Castle is on private land. I think Crowley is the surname of the owner. There is a talk on the castle organized by the Ballincollig Heritage Association on the 26th August 2011. Paul McCotter is giving the talk in Oriel House Hotel at 8pm. The Ballincollig Heritage Association has also asked Paul McCotter to do a tour of the castle site at 2pm on the 28th August 2011.

  5. Jamie Mullins says:

    I am traveling to Ireland later this month could you give me directions of how to get to Ballincollig Castle from Blarney Castle? Thank you.

    • ballincollig says:

      Hi Jamie,

      You asked a very good question. The main route from Blarney to Ballincollig takes you through Tower and onto the Ballincollig town (you may need to use a map). When you are on the main street in Ballincollig, you need to take Barry’s Road (south of the main road) and at the end of this road there is a T-junction. From near here, you should be able to see the tower of the castle (which is a field on private land). This link to a map of Ballincollig might be of use:


      • Jamie says:

        Thank you so much! We will be there tomorrow 🙂

      • kayla wise says:

        hi, my name is kayla wise, my family now resides in houston texas, but we origally lived in ierland, when my family lived in ierland they were verry rich, later we moved to tenisee when the gold rush came about, and when the civil war hit we moved to texas, can anyone help me figure out if i have any relation to a sr. william wise? i greatly apreciate youre help, if you can just point me in the right direction that would b greatly apreciated, i would like to move back to ierland soon, and im hopeing haveing proof of my family origins could help me,

  6. Tammy Barrett says:

    I’m a Barrett and i find this so interesting 🙂

  7. Jeremy Gill. says:

    Would you please contact me with a view, to a guided tour and lecture in the summer please for the Ballingeary / Inchigeelagh Historical Society

  8. Robert Coll says:

    Hi My name is Robert Coll, I would be very interested in knowing the history of my namesake Robert Coll who originally owned the castle and sold it, should you have any information this would be appreciated.

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