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The evolution of the Irish tower-house as a domestic space

The evolution of the Irish tower-house as a domestic space

By Rory Sherlock

Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 111C (2010)

Abstract: The Irish tower-house could be portrayed as the Irish castle par excellence and it is thought that over 3,000 examples were built in the Irish landscape between AD 1400 and 1650. In some parts of the countryside, particularly in areas of good agricultural land in Munster and south Leinster, the density of tower-house distribution is quite remarkable and in these areas the importance of the tower-house as an artefact of late medieval life in Ireland is readily apparent. Their importance lies not only in their numbers however, but is rooted more significantly in the fact that tower-houses were built by people from a broad social spectrum and from all cultural backgrounds. This paper will explore the role and evolution of the Irish tower-house as a domestic space during this period and, in particular, will present a classifi cation of Irish towerhouses on the basis of their halls and the relationships between these spaces and the principal vaults and private apartments with the buildings.

Click here to read this article from the Royal Irish Academy

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