Courtesy of  Paul Markham, excerpt from 'History of Clonderlaw Castle and its Neighbourhood.

The ruins of Knockalough Castle still remain on the island in Knockalough lake, and on Wednesday evening, September 6th [1989], I had the privilege of seeing the ruin of the Old Castle.  Tommy Quinlivan, a local fisherman, provided transport in his rowing boat- a delightful experience.


The island, circular in shape, has a diameter of over 40 metres.  The builders chose the south east for the site, and while this Castle does not appear in the 1580 list at Trinity College, it was built by the Mac Mahons of Clonderlaw.  The only chieftain mentioned in association with Knockalough Castle was Turlough.  He was know as 'Turlough Roe, the liar and deceiver, who by one stroke killed his wife and child'. The remains of the Castle today that exist are just two outside walls (east and west).  Both are irregular and seem quite dangerous.  One remarkable thing, the  thickness of the walls measuring about two metres, the western is about 8 metres high while the other is one metre less.  On the western side the remains of a fireplace exist, whole on the eastern section a number of square shaped spaces remain clearly to be seen, and this could have been the dividing area of the lower storeys.  The building was square in shape with a floor area of eight metres square approximately.  Sycamore trees now surround the remains and two of these trees have dominated the interior, while cranes, crows and rats are very much part of the wildlife on the island.

Images of Knockalough Castle

To the north of the Castle ruins, lies a rectangular shaped building now only about two metres in height and it appears at one stage to have had a door and a window facing south.  Again, this old ruin could have been the property of the Castle occupiers.  The quickest exit to the mainland is just over 100 metres on the roadside direction.  During Tommy's fishing experiences he discovered a shallow area similar to a road, which may have been used by the Castle inhabitants while on horseback going to and from the island.

Some local people claim that this island could have easily been a Crannog dating back to the Bronze Age.

The photographs and video were taken in 2016 and kindly given to us by Martin Murray, which brings the history to life for us.  Thank you Martin. More videos of the island can be found on our YouTube channel - Kilmihil Community.