2008:161 - Ballintotis, Cork

County: Cork Site name: Ballintotis

Sites and Monuments Record No.: CO077–002 Licence number: 08E0459

Author: Margaret McCarthy, Rostellan, Midleton, Co. Cork.

Site type: Tower-house

ITM: E 593188m, N 572686m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 51.906275, -8.098994

The proposed restoration of Ballintotis Castle near Castlemartyr in east Cork led to a request for an impact assessment to be prepared. The principal objective in the consideration of the development proposal for the castle was the preservation of the existing fabric and character of the historic structure and the mitigation of any archaeological impacts. The site is located c. 3 miles west of Castlemartyr village in the parish of Ballyoughtera and the barony of Imokilly. It is a small square tower-house that was built as an outer defence for the Castlemartyr estate in the 16th century. The castle and lands were granted to George Moore in 1579 in gratitude for his contribution to the wars in Scotland and Ireland. The castle is included in the Down Survey of 1655 and the lands of ‘Killurgane and Ballytotis’ are listed as being the property of Edmund Fitzgerald at this time. The castle survives today as a small, standard four-storey tower-house of the 16th century. It is entered at ground-floor level by an arched door near the north end of the west wall. There is an entrance to a straight flight of mural stairs on the south side of the doorway and further inter-mural spiral stairs provide access to the upper floors. The castle consists of two main chambers with a number of stairwells and ancillary intramural rooms. Part of a high rubble limestone wall survives to the west of the tower, which is interpreted as part of the original bawn wall or part of a former building which abutted the castle.

The tower-house is located at the extreme southern end of a narrow field which was once part of the original curtilage around the castle. The initial phase of monitoring centred on the removal of topsoil for a new driveway leading from the castle to the public road. All works associated with the insertion of services and the removal of waste from the tower-house were also monitored. It is proposed to take the waste from the castle via means of a pipe from the lower section of the garderobe chute and insert a service trench from here to the percolation area. The topsoil maintained an average depth of 0.38m across the site and it overlay firm orange/brown boulder clay with frequent small stones. No features of archaeological significance were identified on the surface and the finds consisted of three fragments of post-medieval ware.