Northern Ireland

Ancient castle owners' warning over conservation plan

Inch Castle dates back to 1450. Picture by Save Inch Castle Campaign
Inch Castle dates back to 1450. Picture by Save Inch Castle Campaign

THE owners of the ruins of a 15th century castle have claimed a campaign to have it preserved could be placing the monument in jeopardy.

A social media campaign to rescue the ruins of Inch Castle was launched last month.

The Save Inch Castle campaign focuses on a castle on Inch Island on Lough Swilly.

Built in 1450, the castle played a pivotal role in the events which led to the Plantation of Ulster.

Built by Neachtain O Domhnaill for his father-in-law, Cahir O’Doherty, the castle was part of a network of defences for the O’Doherty territories.

However, the owners of the castle and the land on which it stands, close to the Derry border, have warned that the campaign has led to large numbers of people accessing the delicate ruins.

A spokesman for the Doherty family, which owns the land and monument, appealed to people not to trespass on their land to access the castle. The family warned there was a serious risk of injury as the castle has been in ruins for centuries.

“We feel that issuing this information may be harmful to public safety. It has encouraged people to trespass, to risk their safety and to endanger the protection of the castle ruins,” the family said.

The family spokesman said Inch Castle was a “recorded monument” which meant they as owners liaised with the Republic’s National Monuments Service about safety and maintenance.

“The owners are exploring funding for the addition of historical information plaques or signs close to the site. We want to honour and mark the important heritage of Inch Castle in a way which protects the ruins.

“We believe signage in a publicly accessible viewing spot can help preserve the ruins while allowing the public to engage with them from a safe distance.”

The family asked the Save Inch Campaign to remove its Facebook Page.

The campaign group last night echoed the owners’ call that people should not trespass on private land or place the ruin in danger. However they said they disagreed with claims that it was responsible for increased numbers visiting the monument.