Castlewarden is a townland monastic site and former parish situated between Ardclough and Kill in the County of Kildare. The earliest evidence of human habitation in the area was the discovery of a flint dated to 4800 -3800 BC at Castlewarden below Oughter Ard Hill, a rare find on a dryland location.
Castlewarden hill is an ancient site associated with the 10 Ui Dunchada Kings of Leinster between 750-1050, whose inauguration took place on nearby Lyons Hill.
Castlewarden House has it’s medieval earthwork complex, a motte and bailey and a rectangular enclosure that are all listed monuments under the Kildare development plan.
The golf course of Castlewarden Golf Club occupies lands that were, many centuries ago, the demesne land of a medieval manor centred on the motte and bailey. The manor was first settled in the early fourteenth century and was, from 1412 to 1636, one of the many holdings of the Earls of Ormond. In 1640, during the ownership of the Percival family, William Read, a direct ancestor of Arthur Guinness, was the herd on those demesne lands. The lands were owned by the Palliser family from about 1711 to 1907. The Pallisers built Castlewarden House and the nearby stable block in 1803/33.
After the Anglo-Norman invasion some time before 1173, Leinster was inherited by Strongbow, Richard Fitz Gilbert De Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, through his marriage to Aoife of Leinster, daughter of Diarmuid MacMurrough who was one of the Kings of Leinster. The name Castlewarden (Castellum Warin in Latin) appears to derive from Warinus, Abbot of St Thomas Abbey in 1268 Castellum Warin (Latin). Adam de Hereford had bestowed the lands on the Abbey of St Thomas, along with Wochtred (Oughter Ard) after being given large territories of land by Strongbow. The church was vacated by the early 1600s. The Castle remained in good repair until the 1700s.
Local places of interest
The neighbouring villages of Ardclough and Straffan have a particular local interest. Ardclough is a village and community in the parish of Kill Co Kildare. Ardclough contains the historic round tower at Oughterard. It also is the burial place and probable birthplace of the well known Arthur Guinness, maker of the now famous alcohol beverage. His mother is said to have returned to the maternal homestead of the Reads of Huttonread to give birth in the tradition of the time.
Straffan is a village in Co Kildare, situated on the banks of the Liffey 25km upstream of the Irish Capital, Dublin. Straffan is home to the Kildare Country Club, better known as the K Club where Europe defeated the USA in the 2006 Ryder Cup. As with the rest of County Kildare, racehorse breeding and training is a prominent local activity. In the 1920s Straffan Station Stud was the leading horse breeding stud in the country owned by Edward “Cub” Kennedy. Straffan is also known for housing the Steam Engine Museum.
Archaeological Heritage Features at Castlewarden
There are three archaeological features at Castlewarden that are listed as National Monuments in the “Record of Monuments and Places (RMP)”.
Castlewarden House is listed as a building for human habitation that dates back to the 16th or early 17th century.
The Castle Motte and Bailey (between the 10th, 12th and 13th greens) is listed as an early form of castle consisting of a flat-topped, steep-sided earthen mound supporting a wooden tower with an associated courtyard or bailey which is often raised and enclosed by a bank and fosse. Constructed by the Anglo-Normans in the late 12th and early 13th centuries.
Artists impression of Motte & Bailey around 10th & 12th and 13th Hole.