Skiddy's Castle

 

Skiddy's Castle

The shop on the left of the photograph, number 103 North Main Street, occupied part of the site of Skiddy's Castle. The lane between the two shops was once known as Skiddy's Castle Lane.

John Skiddy, a member of one of the merchant families which controlled Cork in medieval times, built Skiddy's Castle in 1445. The 'castle' was actually an urban tower house. Skiddy's Castle stood near the junction of present-day Adelaide Street and the North Main Street. It is clearly shown on the earliest maps of Cork.

The marshy soil did not provide a stable foundation for the stone tower house. An oak raft held in place by timber stakes driven vertically into the underlying soil provided a floating foundation for Skiddy's. The vertical stakes also helped to squeeze water from the underlying soil. The area of the castle was 44 square metres with walls 2.2 metres thick and 1.4 metres high.

Different families, including the Skiddys and the Terrys, owned the castle at different times. Sometime after 1601 it became the property of the crown and was used as a gunpowder magazine for much of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is called 'The King's Storehouse' on Phillips' map of 1685. Cork Corporation asked the Lord Lieutenant to remove the magazine from Skiddy's in the 1760s because of the danger of an explosion in the heart of the city but it was still used as a munitions store in the 1770s.

Most of the building was demolished in the late 1770s but parts of it were still standing in 1896. A decorated mantelpiece from Skiddy's Castle is set into the wall of number 13 North Main Street and carries the inscription 'NG 1597 GS'.

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