Harry Avery's Castle

Newtownstewart, United Kingdom

Harry Avery's Castle is situated half a mile south-west of Newtownstewart, Northern Ireland. It is a rare example of a stone castle built by a Gaelic Irish chief, although its origins and history are uncertain. It is associated with and named after Henry Aimhréidh O'Neill (died 1392), whose name was anglicised as Harry Avery.

The standing part of the castle comprises a two-storey rectangular construction fronted by massive D-shaped twin towers. Although having the appearance of a gatehouse, this structure was in fact a simple tower house with the D-towers added to the front. The tower comprised a vaulted basement entered from a large door between the D-towers. Above this was a hall on the first floor level, which was accessed from the courtyard. The southerly D-tower contained a spiral stair linking the two storeys, and both D-towers contained small rooms at first floor, with single windows in their round walls. Traces of a mural stair lead up from the first floor, and there is a latrine chute leading up, suggesting at least a parapet at the second floor. Examination of the structure suggests that it was built in a single phase, rather than being a modification of an older gatehouse.

The design of the castle has been compared to that of Elagh Castle, Inishowen, which also appears to have been a native-built castle featuring D-towers. The inspiration is thought have come from Norman castles such as Carrickfergus Castle and Castle Roche, both of which have true gatehouses flanked by D-towers. The overall design of Harry Avery's Castle is also similar to other Gaelic fortresses such as Seafin, County Down, which were later enclosed by a curtain wall with a tower house.



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Founded: 14th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Michael Avery (12 months ago)
Uncle Harry's Castle! Hahaha. Ran across some cows to see it. Beautiful area and was very cool to see.
John Bashford (3 years ago)
Harry Avery's castle is located high in the hills, less than a mile from Newtownstewart. There is no formal parking on the narrow road beside it, but you can park on the grass verge near the entrance gate. Access to the castle is a short distance across a farm field. There is a warning to be aware of cattle, but the field was empty when I was there. There's little left of the castle, but I spent a good 25 minutes wandering around it and admiring the panoramic 360 degree view. It would be possible to combine this with a visit to Baronscourt forest and estate.
Melissa Meghriche (5 years ago)
Just a small piece of what used to be a castle. If you don’t mind walking/running your way through cows, it’s worth trying the little expedition! Just be careful if you drive there as there’s no place to park a car.
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