The castle's original construction is attributed to the MacCarthy family. The castle became dilapidated in 1641 during the Irish Confederate Wars. It was repaired thereafter and became the residence of the rapparee, Captain Cape, and his bandits, who waylaid travellers, and plundered the surrounding countryside.
By the late 18th century it had fallen into ruin, and a mid-19th century description of the castle describes it as consisting of "two structures differentiated by age, altitude, bulk, and architecture - the larger and older of which is oblong, and three-storied". The castle was restored in the mid-19th century, reputedly by Thomas Newenham Deane and Benjamin Woodward. Additional renovation works were undertaken in the 20th century, and the castle used as a family home from the late 20th century.
A cave at the base of the rock on which the ruin stands is believed by local residents to communicate with the Ovens caverns, 4 miles (6.4 km) away. A deep pool, called Hell's-Hole, overhung by limestone cliffs, and situated at a river bend above the castle site is imagined to be haunted by a "monstrous biped, having a mane like a horse, and a body like an eel".
- Fullarton (1846). The Parliamentary gazetteer of Ireland: adapted to the new poor-law, franchise, municipal and ecclesiastical arrangements, and compiled with a special reference to the lines of railroad and canal communication, as existing in 1814-45. 1 (Public domain ed.). A. Fullarton and co. p. 338.
- Fullarton 1846.
- "Carrigrohane Castle, Carrigrohane, County Cork". buildingsofireland.ie. National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
[John] Windele noted in the early 1840s that only its walls remained. It is thought to have been restored by Deane and Woodward from 1849-50
- "The family tragedy behind high society conman's fall from grace". Independent News & Media. 3 August 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
- "Carrigrohane Castle on sale for €2.5m". Irish Examiner. 26 May 2015. Retrieved 17 November 2015.