Few castles in Ireland have a more beautiful setting or a more enigmatic history than Parke’s Castle, County Leitrim. Overlooking the northern shores of Lough Gill, the castle has had several different phases of occupation. Leaving aside the work that has been carried out in more recent times in order to make the site accessible to the public, the building as it now stands has remained largely unaltered since the end of the seventeenth century.

It takes its name from Captain Robert Parke, a beneficiary of the Leitrim plantation scheme, who made it his home some time before 1640. Then it was known as Newtown Castle. However, the structure is more than simply a plantation castle such as those found in parts of Ulster. It was clearly not all built at once and even during the time that the Parke family lived in the castle important structural alterations were made.

Parkes Castle exterior reduced

In 2008 the Foundation’s Research Director, Dr William Roulston, was commissioned to produce a historical overview of this fascinating site for a publication on the castle: Parke’s Castle, Co. Leitrim: Archaeology, History and Architecture (Archaeological Monograph Series: 7, 2012) by Claire Foley, who directed the archaeological excavations here in the 1970s, and Dr Colm Donnelly of the Centre for Community Archaeology, QUB.