Ballyhack Castle Highlights (3)
There are lots of ingenious defence features in this striking fifteenth-century tower house. The machicolation, for example, can be seen from the outside, projecting from the fourth-floor level. From here, missiles would be thrown at attackers – or unwanted visitors! Look out for the arrow-loop windows. These may be narrow, but they were a devastatingly effective defence feature.
The murder hole is directly inside the doorway. It was the next line of defence, only to be used if an attacker succeeded in getting inside. Objects would be dropped from the murder-hole entrance, which is on the second floor, on unwitting foes below.
See if you can find the musket hole, added during the seventeenth century, and imagine the muzzle of a deadly weapon emerging from within.
Take a moment to examine the very well-preserved barrel-vaulted ceiling on the first floor. Can you make out the markings made by the wickerwork that would have been used during its construction?
The oubliette, also known as the dungeon, is on the second floor. It was used as a strong room. Captured enemies and unfortunate offenders would have been imprisoned there.
There are two garderobes – or medieval toilets – in Ballyhack Castle. Have fun trying to locate the exit.
On the outer wall of Ballyhack Castle is a face carved in stone. Will you be able to find it?
On the third floor you will come across a small chapel. The chapel has various interesting components, like a piscina – a shallow stone basin used for washing vessels used in the service – an aumbry or recessed cabinet for storing those vessels, and an altar shelf.