Nestled on an island in the picturesque Lake Lough Key in County Roscommon, Ireland, McDermott’s Castle stands as a haunting testament to centuries of history, tragedy, and the inexorable passage of time. Steeped in myth and legend, this castle, which witnessed both the rise and fall of the McDermott clan, continues to captivate the imaginations of those who venture to explore its ivy-covered ruins. The saga of McDermott’s Castle begins in the 12th century when the first structure was erected on the island. However, tragedy struck in 1184 when a devastating fire consumed the castle, leaving it in ruins. The inferno claimed the lives of many inhabitants, but Conchobar mac Diarmata and a handful of survivors managed to escape the flames and waters. Undeterred by adversity, a new castle emerged from the ashes, a testament to the resilience and determination of the McDermott clan.
Despite the castle’s resilience, the fortunes of the McDermott clan took a downturn in 1586 when they lost ownership of the island. Faced with this upheaval, the castle was eventually abandoned. Over time, nature began to reclaim the stone walls, with ivy weaving its way through the cracks, transforming the once-majestic fortress into a picturesque yet melancholic reminder of its storied past. While the castle may have been abandoned by its original inhabitants, McDermott’s Castle found a new lease on life in the realm of media. In 2014, the castle played a role in the television series “Moone Boy,” bringing its eerie charm to a wider audience. Notably, in 2016, music icon Bob Geldof visited the castle for a BBC documentary on Yeats, further highlighting the site’s cultural significance.
A Vision for Heritage and Culture: The allure of McDermott’s Castle extended beyond the realm of documentaries. The esteemed Yeats family, captivated by the castle’s history and charm, envisioned transforming it into an Irish cultural and heritage site. The Yeats’ passion for the castle reflected a broader sentiment of preserving Ireland’s rich history and ensuring that the stories embedded in structures like McDermott’s Castle endure for generations to come. McDermott’s Castle stands as a silent witness to the tumultuous tapestry of Irish history. From its humble beginnings in the 12th century to its abandonment in the face of changing fortunes, the castle’s story is one of resilience, tragedy, and cultural significance. As the ivy-clad ruins continue to evoke a sense of mystery and nostalgia, the efforts to preserve McDermott’s Castle, fueled by the vision of the Yeats family, underscore the importance of safeguarding Ireland’s heritage for the enrichment of present and future generations.