Gorteens Castle

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View of the remaining gatehouse of Gorteens Castle and surrounding farm yard

Gorteens Castle is a ruined castle situated on private land in south-east County Kilkenny near the village of Slieverue close to Waterford city. It is in the historic parish of Rathpatrick in the south-east of the Barony of Ida. Along with the ruins of Rathpatrick church and another church, it is one of several ruins in Rathpatrick Parish.[1]

The ruin consists of a gatehouse that may have belonged to a larger structure.[2][3] Gorteens comes from the Irish na goirtinsdhe which means little gorts or gardens.[4] Archaeological excavations near the castle in 1993 indicated that the site was used between the 16th and 18th centuries,[3] with further excavations in 2003 identifying additional castle walls and outbuildings.[5]


The castle was originally built upon lands acquired by Raymond FitzGerald, who died in the late 1100s. The FitzGeralds[6] were the most powerful Norman-Irish aristocratic dynasty in medieval Ireland until the 1500s. Gorteens was included in the Down Survey of Ireland in 1656 as being in the Baronys of Ida, Igrim or Ibercon and in the Parish of Rathpatricke. John FitzGerald, a Catholic, is recorded as being the last FitzGerald holder of Gorteens.[2]

Following the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, FitzGerald forfeited Gorteens under the Cromwellian Settlement and was initially transplanted to Connaught in December 1653, before being assigned lands in Turlough and later in Carra, County Mayo by 1677.[4] The duellist George Robert FitzGerald was descended from this family.[7]

By 1670, the castle at Gorteens was reputedly in the hands of Samuel Skrimsheire or Skrimshaw, a Protestant.[8] In 1700, it was owned by members of the Forstall family.[9][10]


  1. ^ 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. III. A. Fullarton and Company. 1846. p. 139.
  2. ^ a b Heather A. King, Skidoo, Ballyboughal, Co. Dublin (1993). Gorteens. Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 047:01 & 02. Licence number: 93E0013. Record for County: Kilkenny (Report).CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ a b Ponsford, Michael (1994). "Post-medieval Britain and Ireland in 1993". Post-Medieval Archaeology. 28: 119–183. doi:10.1179/pma.1994.006.
  4. ^ a b Carrigan, William (1905). The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory. IV. Sealy, Bryers & Walker. p. 204. Under the Cromwellian regime, John Fitzgerald, the head of the family, forfeited [...] Gurteens [..and..] on his transplantation, was assigned [...] other lands in the Barony of Carra, Co. Mayo [...] by Royal letters of May 30th, 1677
  5. ^ Fintan Walsh, Irish Archaeological Consultancy Ltd (2003). Gorteens Castle. Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 47:1 Licence number: 03E0255. Record for County: Kilkenny (Report).
  6. ^ O'Kelly, Owen (1985). The Place-Names of County Kilkenny. Boethius Press. ISBN 0-9501687-8-5.
  7. ^ "The Fighting Fitzgerald - George Robert Fitzgerald (1746-1786)". mayo-ireland.ie. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  8. ^ "The Down Survey of Ireland". Trinity College Dublin. 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  9. ^ Arthur, Stanley C., Stanley Clisby Arthur, and George Campbell Huchet de Kernion (2009). Old Families of Louisiana. Genealogical Publishing Com. p. 114.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Hearne, John M.; Rory T. Cornish (2006). Thomas Francis Meagher: The Making of an Irish American. Irish Academic Press. p. 33. ISBN 9780716528128.

Coordinates: 52°16′13″N 7°02′41″W / 52.27037°N 7.04473°W / 52.27037; -7.04473