Dunmahon Castle near Gibstown in Co Louth is a place that has a long and blooded history not least because over 300 souls where dispatched to their maker at the hands of Oliver Cromwells marauding army during his conquest of Ireland during the 17th Century.
As one walks up to the the four story tower building that was erected in the 15th Century Its almost impossible not to imagine the scenes of carnage that would have ensued as Cromwells Soldiers systemically butchered the inhabitants of the castle. As I rambled up to the Fortress an eerie sense of foreboding came over me as I imagined how over 400 years ago the ground I was standing on hungrily drank up the blood of Ireland’s beleaguered defenders who where hopelessly outmatched against Englands rampant New Model Army.
Today, the Castle, all things considering, is in relatively good shape with an intact stairwell that leads to the top of the battlements. The stairs are located in the north eastern section of the building and lead past the vaulted ceiling which hovers over the ground floor.
When one reaches the top it’s not hard to see why this area was chosen as the location for the Castle as it facilitates long views out over the surrounding countryside.
But dangers do exist, In 1979 a 13 year old boy fell 70th feet from the top the Castle to his death and so anyone intending to go to the top of the battlements should do so with caution. Located on the north entrance of the fortification is an ominous sounding hole that is nicknamed ‘The Murder Hole’ which leaves little to the imagination when it comes to its former function.
The Crows that stalk the place add a ghostly feel as they circle the building occasionally perching on top of the Battlements and bellowing out their cries to their compatriots. There is no monument or nothing that marks the scene of the massacre that happened here so in their honour and in honour of the young boy who lost his life I grasped my hands said a silent prayer dedicated to the many souls who perished at this location.