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Mornin Tower House

Mornin Tower House like other Tower houses are a common form of castle in Ireland. Most are from the 15th and 16th centuries, but some date as late as the 17th century. They were the private residences of the affluent native Gaelic and Anglo-Norman families.

Mornin tower house is also known as Moydow Castle. It dates to the 16th century and is situated on a plateau which overlooks the surrounding flat landscape and would likely have been fortified by a wooden palisade fence when it was first built.

Mornin Tower House was a stronghold of the O’Farrell clan, who were the lords of Annaly (as Co. Longford was previously known). The branch of the O’Farrells that owned Mornin retained its lands through the turmoil of the 17th century during which many Irish families lost their lands.

They eventually lost them to the Jessop family in the 18th century following a series of court cases. There are three ringforts nearby in the same townland, which suggests that the area was inhabited since the Iron Age.

The limestone castle stands four storeys high and originally had finely-carved stone quoins at its corners and windows, which have since been lost. The windows would have had pointed arches in the delicate ‘ogee’ style, a shape which is reminiscent of the top of an onion and dates from the late medieval period. The ground floor has a vaulted stone ceiling, forming the floor of the main reception hall above.

The upper levels of Mornin Tower House were accessed by a stone spiral staircase which is built into the walls. The entrance was on the north elevation and was protected by a ‘murder-hole’ from where missiles or hot oil could be rained down upon any intruder that breached the outer fortifications.

A short distance north of Mornin is Castlerea tower house, which was part of the Mornin estate.

Please note that this tower house is in private ownership, and the owner’s permission should be sought before approaching it. It is in ruinous condition and therefore should be viewed from the roadway close to the base of the tower for safety reasons.

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