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Construction of Northburgh

  • Northburgh Castle was built in 1305 by Walter de Burgo’s son Richard Óg de Burgo, 2nd Earl of Ulster, also known as The Red Earl.

  • Richard Óg De Burgo controlled parts of Ulster and most of Connacht.

  • At the time he had much of eastern and northern Ulster under his control except for the Inishowen Peninsula and Tír Chonnail.

  • These remained the territory of the Ó Domhnaill (O’Donnells) and the Ó Dochartaigh (O’Dohertys) partly because of help they received from Scotland.

  • The Earl built Northburgh at the mouth of Lough Foyle for two main reasons.

  • To guard the entrance to the Lough from potential invasion from Scotland and

  • To subdue the O’Donnells and reduce their influence in the north-west.

  • The design of the castle is based on examples from Wales, especially Caernarfon Castle.

  • One strange feature is that the castle was split-level – on entering at the gatehouse you had to go upstairs to get to the ‘upper ward’ in the castle

  • This is because it was built on uneven bedrock

  • A Norman church, known as Teampall Maol, was built at the same time

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