Parke’s Castle: History & visit info

Cutting a stunning silhouette at sunset on Lough Gill’s northern shore, Parke’s Castle is one of Leitrim’s top attractions for history buffs.

Parke’s Castle: History & visit info.

Parke’s Castle was born out of the British plantation of Leitrim, but the history of its land goes back much further.

Once home to the tower house of the O’Rourke family, the land ended up in the hands of planter Robert Parke, who built the eponymous castle. After personal tragedy struck, the castle fell into disrepair.

However, following painstaking restoration work in the latter half of the 20th century, Parke’s Castle gained new life and is now one of the region’s top attractions for lovers of Irish history.

Ireland Before You Die’s top tips for visiting Parke’s Castle:

  • The castle is a 45-minute drive from Leitrim’s county town Carrick-on-Shannon. Public transport from Carrick-on-Shannon can take a long time, so we recommend renting a car if you want to visit from here.
  • Parke’s Castle also lies close to the border with County Sligo. The drive from Sligo town is considerably shorter and takes about 15 minutes. The 566 bus from Sligo passes the site.
  • Your visit to consists of an exhibition and a guided tour around the castle.
  • With the exclusion of guide dogs, dogs are not allowed in the castle.
  • Bear in mind that some walkways are uneven. Take care during your visit.

Interesting facts about Parke’s Castle:

  • The castle was built on the site of a tower house owned by Brian O’Rourke, a lord of West Breifnea, a historic kingdom of Ireland between 1256 and 1605. O’Rourke resisted English rule and was imprisoned in London and then hanged.
  • After the plantation of Leitrim in the 1620s, Robert Parke acquired the tower and 1,000 acres of land surrounding it. He demolished the ruins and built Parke’s Castle sometime between 1630 and 1635.
  • In 1677, six years after his own death, two of Parke’s children drowned in nearby Lough Gill.
  • When Parke’s widow remarried, the castle fell into disrepair. It was restored during the 1970s and 80s, and now visitors can enter such areas as the banquet hall, the family room, and the courtyard.

What’s nearby

Food: Riverbank Restaurant (Irish), Shamrock Street Food (Asian), Pack’s BBQ (Barbecue takeaway), OstaW8 (casual dining)

Drink: Stanford Village Inn, The Lough Inn

Accommodation: Castle Dargan Hotel (four-star), Sligo Park Hotel (four-star), Riverside Hotel (four-star)

Other attractions: Sligo Abbey, Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, Seán Mac Diarmada Cottage

Your questions answered about Parke’s Castle

When was Parke’s Castle built?

Parke’s Castle was built sometime between 1630 and 1635.

Who built Parke’s Castle?

Parke’s Castle was built by plantation landlord Robert Parke who arrived in the 1600s.

What castle did the Guinness family own?

The Guinness family owned Ashford Castle in Cong, County Mayo.

Contact and more info

Address: Parke’s Castle, Kilmore, Fivemilebourne, Co. Leitrim, F91 FP71, Ireland

Phone: +353719164149

Email: [email protected]

Opening times: March–November (exact dates vary each year), 10 am–6 pm daily (last admission 5:15 pm)

Price: Adult €5, Senior €4, Child €3, Student €3, Family €13. Note that there is no credit/debit card terminal; admission is by cash only.

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