Glimpsing into life in Ireland is possible for Irish Car Hire users who take a scenic drive to the historic Barryscourt Castle. Located to the east of Cork city, the former ruins have been transformed so visitors can take a realistic look into 16th century castle living. The land on which the structure is constructed has a long, interesting history and is believed to have been occupied since the seventh century. Experts have uncovered indications of watermills being used, which may have helped Ireland’s farmers as they toiled the land many years ago. As time passed, the site housed the Barry family, who first arrived on the emerald isle in the 12th century. They made the castle their home and its vast structure bears the battle scars created by the political unrest at that time.
Spread over three levels, the turreted stone structure dates from the 1500s and was restored in the 1990s in a bid to return it to its medieval glory. A stone tower and imposing walls surround a courtyard and an inner Main Hall located on the first floor combine to transport visitors to the past. In addition, the hall has been decorated with replicas of furnishings that would have been used in the 16th century, which also help to bring the past alive. Moving on to the second floor, tourists are free to marvel at the Great Hall that has also been installed with fixtures and fittings that resemble those in use during the 1500s.
A restored bedroom, dining room and chapel reveal the lifestyle of the family who occupied the building during the medieval period. Visitors can also take a look at the castle’s dungeons, which were designed to receive prisoners via a drop hole located above the dark pit. Outside, the walls bear the marks of cannonball fire that hit the structure in the 1600s during the Irish Confederate War.
Holidaymakers can also spend time viewing the site’s external areas, which have also undergone refurbishment so they resemble the original historic gardens visited by the Barry family. Near the castle’s walls, the air is permeated with aromas drifting from the tended herb garden, while an orchard has also been cultivated on the attraction’s grounds. A special exhibition called the Arts in Ireland: From The Invasion To The Plantation 1100-1600 runs at the castle and details the work of the artisans from this time period.