Kilbrittain castle is the most formidable castle of West Cork. The first fortification was probably built by the O’Mahonys around 1100. With the Norman conquest the de Courcy, who became baron Kingsale, acquired the territory.
The de Courcy under pressure from the McCarthys Reagh gradually lost territories, and in 1449 Kilbrittain castle was taken by the MacCarthy Reagh, probably with the help of the O’Crowleys, at the time the Chief of the clan was David O’Crowley, son of Conor. The O’Crowleys settled around Kilbrittain and Skeaf and giving rise to the distinctive O’Crowley Og sept, protection the main castle residence of the MacCarthy Reagh.
The O’Crowleys who provided the MacCarthy Reagh with several marshalls (head of the private army) and constables, were resident as part the Prince of Carbery retenue.
The castle is a formidable fortress, it was credited with 9 flankers or towers in the 1600s. Continuously occupied, over the centuries the castle has gone though several transformation at the neo Gothic age. The bawn wall is very impressive with sophisticated and intricate wall walk through the towers.
By Michael-Patrick Crowley