Castle for Sale: Belvelly Castle

Belvelly Castle

Cobh, County Cork, Ireland
Asking Price € 275,000

This picturesque Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland was once owned by Sir Walter Raleigh.

Belvelly Castle

Belvelly Castle was originally built by the Hodnet family, an enterprising, upwardly mobile, Anglo-Norman family who arrived in Ireland in the twelfth-century. They may have been vassals of the de Barry family, but during the reign of Henry III the two families were in conflict with each over in their properties in and around Cork. The Hodnet’s built Belvelly Castle at a key ford which connected Great Island to the mainland of Ireland, only three miles away from the de Barry’s main stronghold of Barryscourt.

The feud between families continued into the fourteenth-century, and in 1329 the Barrys and their allies, the Roches, besieged and captured Belvelly Castle, renaming it Barrymore.

Castle for Sale

In the year 1581 the castle found a new owner, Sir Walter Raleigh – the explorer and military commander – who during that time was fighting to put down a rebellion started by feudal lords in Ireland. In correspondence Raleigh mentions that the castle had ‘broken down’ and he was hoping to have it repaired. The lozenge coat-of-arms over the front door entrance at ground floor level appears to match that of the Raleigh family crest or coat-of-arms.


By 1636 Sir Peter Courthope, an MP for Cork, rented the castle for about 15 years for the annual rent of £60. He added a new roof and battlements. A nineteenth century History of Cork adds that:

At the foot of the bridge hichconnect Foaty to the Great Island, stands Belvelly Castle, evidently built to guard the pass between the two islands. It is in the possession, and on the property, of Bernard R. Shaw, Esquire, of Monkstown. One of the square towers are standing, and in good preservation. It is 60 feet high; breadth, at base, 30 feet. The arches are beautifully turned; the marks of the twigs, upon which they were turned, look as fresh in the mortar as if the work had been done a few years ago.

During the Second World War the Irish government took control of the castle as a defensive structure, even adding machine gun nests in the interior of the keep.


Belvelly Castle is a four-storey, rectangular tower that rises almost 80 feet high. Its features include a spiral staircase that gives access to all four floors, a murder hole over the main entrance and arrow-slit windows. The castle would require extensive restoration efforts, but the Cork County Council has already given its permission to do this so it could be made into a dwelling. Once finished, the castle could be home to as many as 10 people.

The castle is located just outside the village of Belvelly and a few minutes away from the town of Cobh. The city of Cork and its airport is about a 15-minute drive away, while you can travel to Dublin in about three hours.

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