Caherduggan Castle

Cathair Dubhagáin: Duggan’s Fort

The earliest fortification on this spot may have been by the French-Norman Synan family, but the castle, as such, was probably built by the Roches on an old type Gaelic fort of the Duggans, who had been pushed further west by the Norman advance into their territory. The Duggans, or O’Dugans, are said to have descended from the celebrated magician, Mogh Rúith, who came from Valencia Island in times gone by to assist the forerunners of the O’Keeffes with his magic, when they were struggling against the men of Leinster towards County Limerick. In gratitude the chieftain gave him lands in the rich plains of the Blackwater valley.

Mogh Rúith is said to have been buried under the cairn of Corran Hill above Fermoy and his wife under Labbacallee the ancient dolmen north of Fermoy. His daughter Cliona, later Queen of the Munster Fairies in myth was the wife of Caoimh, ancestor of the O’Keeffes. This may have been a later build-on to the legend since it would appear that the O’Keeffes in fact replaced the O’Duggans as the dominant family of the area. At any rate at the beginning of the 17th century the castle was in the hands of the Roches. Following the Desmond Rebellion Maurice Roche, of ‘Caherdowgan’, son and heir of Daniel, Lord of Fermoye (Fermoy) was pardoned in 1581, and since he was married to the sister of Fames FitzMaurice FitzGerald he must have been under some suspicion. In 1603 Lord Roche demised the castle and lands on a rental basis to Ion Grove of Hendon in Middlesex. Grove married an heiress from Middlesex and when she died in 1609 he used her money to buy Caherduggan and other lands.

His son Henry, who died in 1630, inherited the castle when his father died in 1619.

From “The Castles of County Cork”. James N. Healy, Mercer Press, Cork and Dublin, 1988.