Republic of Ireland news

Campaign launched to save Inch castle ruins from collapse

Inch Castle in Lough Swilly. Picture by Save Inch Castle Campaign
Seamus McKinney

A campaign has been launched to rescue the ruins of a 15th century castle which played a key role in the events which led to the plantation of Ulster.

Built by chieftain Neachtain O Domhnaill around 1450, Inch Castle stands on a promontory on Inch island in Lough Swilly, which is served by two causeways from the mainland.

O Domhnaill built the castle for his father-in-law, Cahir O’Doherty, as part of a network of defences for the O’Doherty territories.

By 1609, when Inch Island was granted to Lord Deputy of Ireland Sir Arthur Chichester, the castle had fallen into disrepair.

Some of the walls including a tower still remain, presenting a spectacular silhouette in the landscape.

The castle has won new supporters since the opening of a walkway around one of the Inch causeways which provides perfect views of the monument.

However, a local group fears what remains of the castle could fall into more serious disrepair and possibly collapse.

As a result, a campaign group has now been established to build support to have the structure preserved.

The group, which has launched a Facebook page, hopes to restore the structure.

Spokesman Calvin Jones said it would be a shame of such an iconic monument was allowed to collapse.

“Hopefully we can garner some support from the local community and maybe politicians and councillors to get behind it and restore something that is really an important part of Inch Island, part of the culture and the history there."

Mr Jones said if action was not taken now, the castle could be lost forever.

He called on people to support the “Save Inch Castle” Facebook campaign and for anyone with expertise in conservation to contact the group.

“During the [coronavirus] pandemic, it might be a great project to get a bit of good community support; to lift the spirits. It would be great to see that being restored,” he added.

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