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Castle Bourke as it looks today. As you can see very little remains of the once important castle. 


The story of Castle Bourke as told by Pat Kelly, aged 70, and recorded by Micheál O' Gealbháin, teacher in January 1939. The castle is located on the western bank of Lough Carra in the parish of Carnacon. 

Castle Bourke - Dúchas link

"One of the owners of the castle was a noted tyrant. He was half-mad. He built a house outside the castle. You can see some of the walls standing yet. The people call it the Hanging House to this day, for Bourke would hang there any tenant who would not, or could not, pay his rent: or any poor person around the place that he didn't like; for he was a tyrant and could do, and did do, anything he liked with the poor people. There was no law for the poor people in those days.

Well there was a poor woman living above near the castle. She was a poor widow woman. The son was very airy. Nothing would do him but card-playing and gaming and the poor woman could not keep smacht on him.

One night the son did not come in until morning and so the poor woman goes up to the Big House the next morning to complain about her son to the landlord, Bourke.

"If your Honour would speak to him, the mother said, "he would surely be said by your Honour. For he is aerach itself, he is a very good-hearted boy"
"Send him up to me" said Bourke "and by word, he will give you no more trouble"

The widow woman went home and says she to her son "Johnny," says she, "the master wants you above at the big House. Don't make delay or it would put anger on him." Johnny, the son, lost no time in going up to the big House. Bourke took him out to the Hang House. 

In the evening he sent word to the widow woman that he wanted her at the house. The widow woman threw a shawl over her head and ran up as she was.

"Believe me, your son will not give you much more trouble" says Bourke. "Come with me, my woman" He took her into the Hang House and there she saw her son hanging cold dead. The tyrant had hanged him.

The woman put her seven curses on the Castle and on every one of the Bourkes. Soon the Castle began to "fall from each other" and a melt came on the Bourkes. Look at them now, a widow's curse is sure to fall. 

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