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Local Studies Department

Groses's Antiquities of Ireland: - County Kildare in the 1790's

KILKEA CASTLE.

THIS was one of the castles which Lacy erected in Leinster in 1180, and is, like the rest of them, of great strength. In 1414 the O'Mores and O'Dempsies wasted the English pale; to curb their outrages, Thomas Crawley, Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Justice, set out from Dublin, but proceeded no farther than Castledermot; the troops went forward under military leaders, he remaining engaged in processions and prayers for their success. The event answered his expectation, for the enemy were defeated with great slaughter at Kilkea.
Kilkea Castle IN 1426 John, the sixth Earl of Kildare, strengthened Kilkea with so many new works, that he might be said almost to have new built it. It is situated on a rising ground, and commands an extensive prospect; the river Grisso runs at a small distance, and to the eastward is a church, the resting place of the Kildares and St. Legers.
YOU enter the bawn, which is behind the castle, by an arch; this entrance is defended by a round tower projecting from the castle. In the front of the building is another, and at the west end a round tower. In one of the rooms over the chimney-piece, under the Leinster arms, is the date 1573; this was done by Gerald, the 11th Earl of Kildare, who was wonderfully preserved after the execution of his father. In 1552, he was restored in blood and honours by Edward VI. and had that year the Lordship of Kilkea confirmed to him. He signalized himself in all the subsequent Irish wars, and was a firm support of the English Government.
The castle of Kilkea is the property of his Grace the Duke of Leinster, and is at present inhabited.

THIS view, which represents the south-west aspect, was drawn by Lieutenant Daniel Grose, anno 1792.

(pp. 80-81, Vol. I)
The accompanying Plate is entitled 'Killea Castle'); in the table of contents in Grose it is listed as Kilkea or Killea Castle.