Historic houses and castles

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Desmond Castle / Wine Museum

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Contact details

Address

Cork Street, Kinsale, Cork, Republic of Ireland
T: +353(0)214774855
E: desmondcastle@opw.ie

A good example of an urban tower house, the castle consisits of a keep with storehouses to the rear and domestic offices on the first and second floors.

Desmond Castle was built by Maurice Bacach Fitzgerald, the 9th Earl of Desmond, c.1500. A good example of an urban tower house, the castle consisits of a keep with storehouses to the rear and domestic offices on the first and second floors.

Originally built as a Custom House, Desmond Castle has also served as an ordnance store, prison and workhouse. It was occupied by the Spanish in 1601 during the Battle of Kinsale. In the succession of European wars in the 17th and 18th centuries, the castle was used as a place of confinement for French and Spanish prisoners of war. During the Great Irish Famine, (1845-1850) Desmond Castle was used as a workhouse for up to 200 people. It was declared a National Monument in 1938.

Since 1997, Desmond Castle has housed the International Museum of Wine. This exhibition documents the fascinating story of Ireland's wine links with Europe and the wider world.