Minard Castle

Overlooking Kilmurry Bay, aka ‘Beal na gCloc’, the Bay of Stones for obvious reasons are the remnants of 16th Century Minard Castle. A former stronghold of the Knight of Kerry, it was one of the last of the Fitzgerald castles constructed on the Dingle Peninsula until destroyed in the mid-17th century by Oliver Cromwell’s parliamentary forces.

The events surrounding the castle were superbly captured by Ted O’Donnell in his poem “Minard Castle,” written in 1949…

There’s a Castle below by the waters,
Where the wild waves they croon all the day,
And their song is of sorrow and laughter
As they kiss the brown rocks of the Bay.
And my thoughts fly away o’er the long years,
O’er the years to a far yesterday,
And I picture an old-world glory
Where the walls now are broken and grey.

From the Castle the sweet notes are stealing
Of music far over the Bay.
The harpers are softly beguiling
Dull care and dull sorrow away.
The soldiers within they make merry
And they drink to the long, long ago,
The toast is ‘The Kingdom of Kerry’
‘Benburb’ and ‘The Gallant Owen Roe.’

But a black shadow fell on the water
On the summer that Cromwell came o’er
When the gay songs of music and laughter
Would throb in the breeze never more.
Long they fought ‘gainst the might of the Saxon,
‘Gainst the musket and dread cannon-ball.
They fell ‘neath the flag of the country
And they sleep near the old Castle wall.

And now there is left of its glory
The walls and an old-world air, —
The old folk will tell you the story
Of sieges and battles that were, —
And they say when the great storms are breaking
And the winds blow in from the sea
You can hear mid the roar of the tempest
The voice of a lost chivalry.

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