Some 11km northeast of Sligo, towards the eastern extremity of Lough Gill, Parke’s Castle is a picturesque plantation fort erected by Captain Robert Parke in the 1620s and elegantly restored in the late twentieth century by the Office of Public Works. A moated tower house once stood here, home of the Irish chieftain Brian O’Rourke, who in 1588 was charged with high treason after sheltering Francesco de Cuellar, one of the few survivors of the Armada ships wrecked off the Sligo coast. O’Rourke was hanged at Tyburn in 1591 and his lands confiscated, later being distributed to the Leitrim planters, whose number included Parke. Reconstructed inside are some of the features of the inner courtyard, such as a blacksmith’s forge, a well and a water gate. You can wander around the battlements, admire expansive views of the lough and also take in an exhibition on the remodelling of the castle with displays on other notable vernacular buildings.
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