Limerick City of Culture 2014 – Fanning’s Castle

As group 5, we were assigned Fanning’s Castle for Limerick City of Culture 2014. On Wednesday 16th of October, myself and one other member of my group met up in Limerick city to find Fanning’s Castle, which Google Maps told us, was just off Mary Street. Luckily my group member Matthew, being a native of Limerick city, was able to easily locate the castle as it was right up the street from his old secondary school. I met Matthew just off the bus at O’ Connell’s Street and it was just over a five minute walk from there to Fanning’s Castle.

Over time Fanning’s castle has deteriorated quite a bit. It seems very out of place, crumbling away in a somewhat abandoned part of the city, over shadowed by a multi-storey car-park on a deserted street. All that is left of the castle is one standing front wall, a standing side cable and the rest has been leveled. A fence has been placed around the castle and surrounding area of the grounds, as well as an automatic gate (that we were slightly wary of) for health and safety reasons.

Even though it’s official name is Fanning’s Castle it’s not actually a castle but a medieval fortified tower or tower house. It was supposedly built by Dominic Fanning, the mayor of Limerick at the time, for himself in approximately 1641. The walls of the tower are made up of limestone blocks of various different sizes. Although it was once five storeys high, the first storey is now almost at ground level due to building development in the area. The doors on the upper levels  suggest that at some point the tower would have had external balconies or stairs. The castle would have naturally enough adopted a turret staircase and battlements this again added to its beautiful look. It was said that the eye catching look of the building reflected the Fanning’s who lived there.

Image courtesy of Google Maps

The building was the prominent residences of the mayors and bailiffs for the city during that time, from the mid 15th century up until Cromwell’s victory, when English Protestant families took over.

Dominic Fanning led the resistance against Cromwell but was caught and had to give up his residence at Fanning’s Castle. He was executed by Cromwellian forces in 1651.





2 thoughts on “Limerick City of Culture 2014 – Fanning’s Castle

  1. Thank you for the pictures of the Fanning castle. Dominic Fanning was my ancestor. His cousin, Edmund Fanning migrated to the Americas in about 1653 because anyone that was related to Dominic lost their lands and were on the list to be transplanted to Connaught, Ireland from Limerick. I don’t know if you’re interested but there is a book that was published in 1904 called, “The History of the Fanning Family, Vol. 1” with loads of information on the Fannings. Thanks again.

    Nancy Fanning-Petri

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