There are few castles in Ireland as unique as the mighty McDermott’s Castle.
As you can see from the photo above, it’s quite literally plonked on a little green island smack bang in the middle of a lake.
In the guide below, you’ll find out everything that you need to know about this incredible fairytale-like castle.
Welcome to McDermott’s Castle
You’ll find McDermott’s Castle in County Roscommon on Lough Key, 3km northeast of the town of Boyle.
Stretching around 10km across and forming a rough circular shape, Lough Key contains over 30 islands scattered throughout its chilly waters.
One of these islands is aptly named ‘Castle Island’ and it’s here that you’ll find the ruins of McDermott’s Castle.
A tale of tragedy
Local legend tells the story of a girl called Una, the daughter of the McDermott chief, who fell in love with a boy from a lower class.
Una’s father refused to let her leave the island, in the hopes that this would deter the budding relationship.
Unbeknownst to her father, Una’s boyfriend began swimming across Lough Key to reach the castle. It was during one of these crossings that tragedy struck, and the boy drowned.
It’s said that Una died from grief and that both she and her partner have remained buried beneath two intertwined trees on the island ever since.
Getting to McDermott’s Castle
If you fancy seeing more of Castle Island and McDermott’s Castle, there are several tour providers that offer trips to and around the island.
If you’re visiting the area, make sure to spend some time in Lough Key Forest Park. It’s home to around 800 hectares of gorgeous, picturesque wood and parkland with a lake and several wooded islands.
For those exploring the park, take some time to ;
- Check out the observation tower
- Have a gander at the wishing chair
- Stroll through the underground tunnels.
- Ramble along the Trinity Bridge
- Have a snoop around the Bog Garden
- Soak up some of the history of the area in the visitor centre and soak up some of the areas rich history
Have you visited McDermott’s Castle? Did you hop on one of the boat tours? Let me know in the comment section below!
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.