Abandoned ireland


Lackeen Castle,

Co. Tipperary.

Lackeen Castle, built in the 12th century is a fine example of an Irish tower house.

Standing in a bawn, four stories high and featuring fine fireplaces. A straight stair runs up to the first floor and a spiral staircase runs to higher levels, the third storey is vaulted.

Lackeen belonged to Brian Ua Cinneide Fionn, chieftain of Ormond, who died in 1588. The castle passed to his son Donnchadh, the last Ua Cinneide chief of lower Ormond who further fortified it against the Cromwellians, but ended up surrendering to Cromwell in 1653.

Donnchadh Ua Cinneide descended from Brian Boru, who in the 10th century was High King of Ireland.  Cinneide translates to ‘Helmeted Head’, the Ua Cinneide chiefs were the first to wear a helmet in battle against the Vikings. The name ‘Ua Cinneide’ was anglicised to ‘Kennedy’. Post Cromwell the Kennedy family regained Lackeen Castle.

John O'Kennedy, in the process of rebuilding Lackeen discovered a 9th Century manuscript hidden in the castle walls. Written in Latin, this manuscript called the Stowe Missal was a mass book of the early Irish Church. The book was in use at the monastery of St. Ruadhan in Lorrha, Co. Tipperary around the year 1050 and at some point was hidden at Lackeen for safe keeping.

Lackeen Castle,
Co. Tipperary

Documenting our Heritage

The Stowe Missal was sold to Duke of Buckingham and in 1883 purchased by the British Government. It is stored in the Royal Irish Academy but can be viewed online here:-


Folklore tradition states that O'Kennedy from Lackeen Castle is one of the few men to have caught a Pooka, a fairy shape shifter, capable of assuming a variety of terrifying forms.

O'Kennedy had been chasing some old hags whom he had caught stealing from a body left for burial at the old Eglish Church. The hags called on the Pooka to protect them, and with red eyes and nostrils flaming with fire, the Pooka came at O'Kennedy.

O'Kennedy who was as strong as an ox and as fast as lightning, slashed at the Pooka with his sword, sending him flying. With a few flicks of his rope O'Kennedy had the Pooka tied up and slung over his back. The Pooka cursed and swore the whole way back to Lackeen Castle for not one of his kind had ever been caught in such a manner.

Arriving back at Lackeen, O'Kennedy called on his servants to help him with his prize.

The Pooka shouted to all “If you dare to bring me in your castle I'll burn you all with my breath and you'll be truly gone to the blazes!”

The servant Tim O'Meara, being loyal to O'Kennedy opened up the castle but pleaded with his master “For goodness' sake let the creature loose or neither yourself, nor your family nor none of us will have any peace or ease, or be able to get a decent night's sleep again!”

Eventually O'Kennedy listened to the advice of his servant and let the Pooka go, but first took a promise that the Pooka would harm no breed, seed or generation of the O'Kennedy family. 

Over the years many people have seen the shapes of an otherworldly goats lurking about Lackeen Castle.

Lackeen Castle is owned by the Irish State and is freely open to the public.

If you visit just keep one eye out for any wild Pooka !