Monday 18 February 2019

Review into Mountgarret Castle (1401)

Mountgarret Castle, New Ross
Mountgarret Castle, New Ross

David Looby

The collapse of the north wall of Mountgarret Castle in New Ross has led to a review of the 15th century structure by Wexford County Council.

A large section of the north wall of the building collapsed in late January. This followed the collapse of the southern wall four years ago.

Director of Services Eamonn Hore said specialists from the Department of Heritage will be assessing the castle, along with officials from Wexford County Council.

Mr Hore said: 'It's listed as a national monument. The review is at very early stages. After a wall collapsed on the castle four years ago, the north wall was deemed to be relatively safe, but with the weather it collapsed.'

Senator Jim Walsh, who lives near the castle, said the north wall should have been lowered some time ago. Senator Walsh said some work was carried out on the east and west walls three years ago, but the combination of high winds and wet weather affected the mortar holding the north wall together, causing it to collapse. Part of the east wall was also damaged.

The impressive building on the ring road, overlooking New Ross, was the residence of Patrick Barrett, Lord Chancellor of Ireland and Bishop of Ferns, who rebuilt and reconstructed it in the early part of the fifteenth century (circa A.D. 1401).

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan announced a €15,000 grant for Mountgarret Castle in July 2012 and works were carried out. Senator Walsh said the real tragedy was the loss of the south wall as it had some attractive features including an arch and small windows with stone surrounds.

'Ever since the south wall fell we, as local residents, have been conscious that it could happen again.'

The castle has been sealed off from the public for safety reasons in recent years.

New Ross Standard