‘The ruins of Ballyloughan Castle, situated in the parish of Dunleckny, and Barony of Idrone East, show it to have been a place of considerable strength and importance. Although at present roofless, the walls are in good preservation. It is of a square form, having two towers in the front; from the outer extremity of one of which to that of the other, being a distance of forty feet. The walls, about five feet thick, are in some places fifty feet high; they are of rude stone work, built of the most permanent manner. Fourteen stone steps conduct to the second floor, which rests on an arch. There are two flights of steps higher up, but they are in a state of dilapidation. An apartment about seven feet in height, with two windows, seems to have been in each of the towers: between the towers was the chief entrance, of arched, cut stone. The appearance of the ground adjacent would indicate that the castle was formerly surrounded by a ditch. At a distance of eighteen yards to the west, stands another ruin, about thirty feet square. It has one stone-cased window, with holes for iron bars. The walls are five feet in thickness, and the structure is about twenty feet in height. Another forty yards from the main building, to the north, is another ruin of small dimensions.’
The Dublin Penny Journal, Vol.III, No.136, February 7th 1835
‘Ballyloughan, an old castle, formerly a place of considerable strength and importance, in the parish of Dunleckny, barony of East Idrone, Co. Carlow, Leinster. Though the roof has disappeared, the walls are in good preservation. The castle is square, and has at the front angles two large round towers. The walls are about 5 feet thick, and in some places 50 feet high; and they consist of rude but stable masonry. The second floor rests on an arch, and is reached by a flight of 14 stone steps. The chief entrance was of arched cut stone, midway between the towers; and an apartment was in each of the towers, 7 feet high with two windows. The edifice seems to have been surrounded by a ditch; and in its immediate vicinity are two small strong ruins, one of them about 30 feet square. Ballyloughan-castle formerly belonged to the Kavanaghs; and, at the end of the 16th century, was occupied by Donagh Kavanagh, second son of Murragh Ballagh, styled king of Leinster. It soon afterwards became property of the Bagenal family, and is now in the possession of Henry Bruen, Esq.’
The Parliamentary Gazeteer of Ireland, 1846 (note how the text freely synopsises that published in the Dublin Penny Journal eleven years earlier).
‘Ballyloughan Castle is the remains of a fine baronial residence, in some respects similar to the Desmond castles in Kilmallock, County Limerick, etc… Ballyloughan has the ruins of an oratory and offices, now detached, and well repays a visit. The writer was so fortunate as to interest the late Colonel Bruen, M.P. some years since in the preservation of it, as it stands on his estate.
From Ierne, Or, Anecdotes and Incidents During a Life Chiefly in Ireland. With Notices of People and Places, By a Retired Civil Enginer, 1861
Oh I bet it was magnificent! I wonder if pictures or drawings from an earlier time are available. I’ll have to check that out.