Built by the Norman family, the de Burgo’s between 1450 and 1500, Ballinderry Castle was a moated castle built on the shores of a lough that has since disappeared.
In 1592, the castle was taken over by the O’Donnell family but only remained in their possession for a number of months before being taken by Lord Grey for the Crown. The castle later was took over by Cromwellian troops.
After this period, in 1659, Ballinderry Castle was given to the Nolan family who had lost 20,000 acres of their land in Galway and in exchange received the castle. In the 19th Century the family erected a manor and left the castle. It is believed that the nationalist, Charles S. Parnell stayed at the Castle during the time of the Nolan family. The last military use of the castle was as a British outpost during the troubles.
The castle ground floor would have been used for storage while the floor above it was the guards’ quarters. The third floor was the kitchen which the remains of a large fireplace can be seen. The next floor consisted of a suite of two rooms with the larger having a fireplace and the upper floor consisted of the largest room within the castle which also had a fireplace. Banquets would also have been held in this master room.
Lastly, the castle features an unusually-decorative and slightly-damaged Sheela-na-gig over the main entrance. The Sheela-na-gig has two long plaits or braids in her hair, each twisted into a different pattern, with a rose, a bird, a very Irish marigold and two kinds of triskele surrounding her.