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History and Heritage of County Kildare

Situated to the north of Clane, lies the ruins of Rathcoffey castle and house. Once the seat of the Wogan family, all that remains now is a gate-house which has a narrow passage leading to a guard-house and cellar.

Rathcoffey Castle
The lands of Rathcoffey were granted by the king in 1317 to Sir John Wogan, as a reward for his family’s loyalty and service to the crown. The Wogans typified the nature of their class as Palesmen, marrying into other prominent families and securing their wealth and power. The Wogan family held several offices on a national and county level.

They were also powerful enough to remain Catholic during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, at a time when such behavior was regarded as recusant. Many families found themselves unable to do so due to the king’s wish for his subjects to be of the Protestant faith.

In the eighteenth century John Wogan died without an heir and so Rathcoffey was inherited by the Talbot family. They sold it in the 1780’s to Archibald Hamilton Rowan, future United Irish leader. It was he who demolished most of the castle in order to build a house for his place of residence.

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County Kildare Heritage