Moross Castle Walk
A reminder of the Mac Suibhne rule in Fanad is Moross Castle which was built on a promontary of Mulroy Bay.
Moross Castle can be accessed by following the L10921 road at Ballina, which is halfway between Rossnakill and Tamney. As the road is quite narrow, parking at Ballina is recommended and follow the road on foot or cycle, a distance of just over a mile.
The McSweeneys/Mac Suibhne clan are one of Ireland's oldest and best known clans. They came to Ireland from Scotland after the Battle of Bannockburn in the fourteenth century. While in Scotland, the Mac Suibhne clan were inaugurated in Iona by the successor of Saint Colmcille. This custom continued in Ireland where they were inaugurated at Doon Rock near Kilmacrennan. This site is near the birthplace of Saint Colmcille.
Moross Castle was built in 1532 by Turlogh Mac Suibhne. His father, Ruaidhri, had previously built a Castle in Rathmullan in 1516, although nothing remains of that Castle now. Ruaidhri's wife, Maire, built a Carmelite Priory in Rathmullan, the ruins of this building can still be seen today.
Looking across the bay from the Castle are splendid views of Umricam, Doocarrick, (where it is believed Turlogh Mac Suibhne fought a battle against one of the clan, Domhnall Mac Suibhne, the latter being victorious), Milltown and Lower Ballyheerin; and the two islands known locally as The Big Isle and The Wee Isle.
Unfortunately, very little remains of Moross Castle, but what can be seen is a reminder of the power held by the Mac Suibhne clan, and importance of this site on Mulroy Bay.
'Winding Mulroy Bay' written by Master Hugh Friel makes reference to Moross Castle -
'My little boat I put to float from Ballyheerin Quay,
Upon my way that sunny day these beauties all to see,
On my right hand, quite near the strand, stood a Castle, ruined and grey, The home of great McSweeney, on the winding Mulroy Bay.
This Castle old, as we are told, was built long years ago,
And fostered there, with love and care, was Hugh O'Donnell Roe, In forty nine, that cruel time, when Cromwell came our way,
Was battered down, that fort renowned, on winding Mulroy Bay.'
- Date: Wednesday, 25 May 2016
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