No mediaeval town could do without a fortified castle and Cork was no different. Cork's Blackrock Castle is located where the River Lee flows into Lough Mahon. Built for defensive purposes, to protect the town from pirates and other possible invaders, the castle had a round tower added to it in 1600 by the Elizabethan government at the request of the citizens of Cork. In 1608 the Castle was handed over to the City of Cork and from then on was used for banquets and for 'throwing the dart'. This interesting custom, still practised today, is performed every three years and consists in throwing a dart into the river to acknowledge 'the right of jurisdiction granted by charter to the Corporation in all creeks and strands within the harbour as far as high water mark'.
Destroyed by fire at least twice, the original construction has been much changed - the present castle is a neo-Gothic structure built around a courtyard with a castellated gateway and towers. Having changed hands a number of times, it lately reverted to the City again and has just re-opened as Ireland's first fully interactive astronomy centre linked to others around the world. The 'Cosmos at the Castle' project sounds most interesting. The observatory will, among other things, conduct search for extraterrestial intelligence and groups of schoolchildren will be allowed to beam messages towards nearby stars. What a fantastic plan for the old castle! Surely its builders could never have foreseen what purpose it would serve.
The Castle is intact....
...but there isn't alot here either (but plz read on for suggestions)...if you are tight for time it may or may not be worth it.....
If you wish to drive passed, you can get to this from Blackrock to get close, or view it from across the water near Glounthaune also.
If you wish to just drive by and see, go there, if you were planning on spending time exploring it, then be warned beacuse you may not even get to enter as it is oftne closed, there is not alot to it inside, and it has had variuos uses, including a pub.
Dont be thrown off by this, I'm trying to portray a picture of my image.
There are nice walkways closeby, just passed the Castle where you can walk by the Water (River Lee).
Bus Route: No. 2 for Mahon, ask to stop at Blackrock Castle for you. There may be a bit of a walk, so best get directions also, but the stop i know is just a straight walk, but the road is narrow enough -may not be suitable for children.
The Blackrock Castle a small, but an interesting castle. I got a good look at it, while our ship was sailing throught the River Lee.My profile picture is me standing in front of the Blackrock Castle.
The castle is small compare to the other castles in Ireland. This is one of my personal favorite castle. It has a great surrounding. It sits on the river and it has a draw bridge that lowers down onto any platform of a boat that is in the river.