The castle of Gortnaclea stands on the edge of the Gully River which seperates the edge of Ossory from Laois. It is a massive building 31ft square externally with an eastern wing now destoryed. The walls are 8 and 9ft thick. The earliest mentioned occupant was Donal Fitzpatrick who received a pardon 30 June 1556. He was brother of Florence Lord Baron of Upper Ossory.
The most noticeable event in the history of Gortnaclea Castle is the imprisonment there of the Black Earl of Ormond. Taken prisoner at Corrondogh near Ballyragget, 10th April 1600 by Owney O’Moore as there was no castle in Owneys region strong enough for such an important capture, he was conveyed to Gortnaclea. The castle of the Fitzpatrick’s, Owneys confederate at the time. Owney thinking this was a risky place to have such an important prisoner, had him conveyed to the woods and fastnessiss of Laois. He had him moved later again to Dempsey’s Castle at Ballybrittas until the 12th June 1600 when the terms of his release was agreed upon. The ransom we learn for his release was £5,000.
GPS: 52.92594, -7.46536.