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Revised: October 2000
Granagh Castle stands majestically even though delapidated on the banks of the stately Suir, about 5 kilometres from Waterford adjacent to the main Waterford Limerick road.
According to historians it is also said that Caisleán Greannach,The Castle of the Gravelly Place, was also known as Dón Braum.It is said that Braum erected a fortification here to command the river and later to repel the incursions of the Norsemen from their settlement at Waterford.
When the Normans came, the site fell to the Le Poers who occupied it until Eustace le Poer was executed for treason in 1375.Edward the Third then granted the manor to James 2nd Earl of Ormond.
Tradition says that the Castle was built by the Ormonds during the 14th Century by James, 3rd Earl who also established the Butlers in the Castle in Kilkenny.Butlers also had castles at Carrick-on-Suir and Gowran.
Piers Duagh, the 8th Earl of Ormonde who lived here was married in 1485 to the famous Máiréad NíGearóid, Margaret Fitzgerald, traditionally known as the "Countess of Granny". She was both feared and respected as she ppursued the interests of the Butlers.
She also brought weavers and tapestry makers from Flanders to Kilkenny.
The Castle remained in the Ormond family at least up to the 1640's. In the time of Cromwell it was guarded by Captain Butler for the King but Colonel secured his surrender when he marched on it with two cannon, after having partially demolished it thus ensuring a victory for Cromwell's army.
RESTORATION WORK AND PLAQUES
In the 19th Century its owner George Roche of Limerick carried out repairs in 1824.As it was very delapidated mainly because locals carted off large parts of it for building material. The Board of Works did some restoration in 1925.
There is stone tablet embedded in
the wall of the Castle and it states that it was restored by George Roche
through a Waterford mason by the name of O'Rourke. On a part of the ruin
facing the main road there is a plaque erected by Board Failte. It says:
by Betty O'Toole
Locals tell that the tradition persisted that there was a tunnel under the river Suir over to what is ni now part of the estate of Mount Congreve. The tunnel was said to be a place of retreat to keep the fortifications supplied with food and water during a possible siege.A ruined wall or what was one of the walls was at one time a courtroom. It is said that the Earls held court and condemned men were actually hanged in part of the room.
Grannagh is a large district about three miles from Waterford City. It contains a beautiful castle of much historic interest. The castle is built on the banks of the Suir. It is beautifully built and contains a great fortress.Underneath the castle is a tunnel where prisoners were imprisoned. This castle was built about 1600. It is more modern than Corluddy Castle. It has great stone stairs going to the top. It contains many small rooms with carvings on the walls. The people of the surrounding district still believe that a witch lived in it. She was a very cruel woman, cruel to her enemies and prisoners and very slow to make friends, but then would hold her few friends.
She used to put her prisoners out under the river Suir through the underground tunnels, and let them perish there. The people of the district state that this Margaret Ormond was a witch and that one time her greatest enemy, who was another witch, came up the river in a boat. When the witch in Grannagh Castle saw the other one coming, she put her head out of the window and caused a great storm to rise.
The other witch, seeing her, caused a pair of horns to grow out of her head. In this state, the witch in the castle could not draw back her head so she had to call for mercy and then the other witch had the upperhand. She then made her release all her prisoners. Whenever there is a storm, wierd noises are heard in the castle. The inhabitants of Grannagh state that it is Margaret calling for mercy. Around the castle is a very sharp bend on the river, so that when a storm rises, the wind hits off the castle in its swell round the bend. This would account for the noises.
by Ray Wall