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Collapse of the ruins of Mylerstown Castle in 1963


Leinster Leader 28/12/1963

Kildare landmark disappears with a great crash

During a stormy night recently, the ruins of Mylerstown Castle collapsed with a great rumble and shudder.

Thus vanished one of the main landmarks in North Kildare on a clear day it was visible in Trim, 20 miles away.

No one saw it fall, and only the Bourke family, Mylerstown, owners of the land on which it stood, heard the crash.  Over 60 feet high, the ruins consisted of a west corner of a great castle, home of Myles Birmingham from whom the parish takes its name.

Like a strong, stubby finger pointing skyward, the old ruin seemed to symbolise the very spirit of the sturdy Celts who built it.

Its exact age has never been determined, but a reference to it in the Annals of the Four Masters indicates that it was “a noble stronghold in” in 1457.  In that year, writes Dr. Comerford (“Collection of the Doicese of Kildare and Leighlin). “O’Donnell, i.e. Hue Roe, son of Niall Gaw (Barbh)…remained for some time in Offaly, plundering and ravaging Meath on each side of him.  He demolished and burned Castle Carbury and Ballymeyler (Mylerstown)”.

The Birminghams probably came to Ireland with the Norman Invasion in 1169.  Powerful rulers and warlike men, they (writes Sir William Wilde) “became in the process of time more Irish than the Irish themselves.” 

Pierce Birmingham received a large tract of land in Leinster.  His surname was dropped by the Irish-speaking people and his Christian name became Feorais.  The Clan-Feorais applied the Irish appellation to their territory, which was co-extensive with the Barony of Carbury and extended along the Boyne in Kildare and Offaly, as far as the borders of Meath.

Leinster Leader report in 1963 on the disappaerance of a well-known Kildare landmark - the ruins of Mylerstown Castle.

[typed and edited by Mary O'Hara]

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