Rock Of Dunamase, County Laois

A dramatic 150ft rock outcrop crowned by the ruined walls of Masg Castle (or Dun Masg) soars above the low Laois countryside. Before the arrival of St Patrick in AD432, the rock and surrounding land were the property of the O’Moore clan chieftain Laois Ceannmor, who gave his name to the area. One of the most ancient sites in Ireland, it was shown by the Greek geographer Ptolemy in his map of AD140.

The rock, veteran of many battles, was an important fortification throughout much of Ireland’s history. It was plundered by the Vikings in the 9th century, became a Norman stronghold in the 13th century, was rebuilt by the O’Moores in the 15th century and was finally destroyed by Cromwellian guns from the East in the 17th century.

It is a short walk up the hill to the stronghold, which is easily reached from the rear. The castle’s remains are considerable, partly due to the thickness of its walls.

The Rock Of Dunamase is a must see on your Ireland tours.