Abandoned castles in Ireland: Castle Roche in County Louth
Alamy/Rafal Rozalski

New Book's Gorgeous Photos of Deserted Cottages and Abandoned Castles in Ireland

As timeless as Ireland's lush landscapes may appear at first glance, the many ruined castles, churches, ancient sites, houses, and mills scattered across the island reveal the folly of thinking the place (any place) exists outside history. What remains of these structures tells the tales of early religious orders, foreign invaders, clan wars, mass emigration, 20th-century partition—in short, the story of Ireland itself. 

Abandoned Ireland, a new photo book from Amber Books, takes readers to dozens of intriguing deserted sites across the island, showing them off in 180 remarkable images and putting them in context with informative descriptions provided by author Dominic Connolly. The book invites travelers not only to admire the ruins but to seek out their forgotten histories as well.  

Scoll on to see a selection of photos from the book, along with captions provided by the publisher

Pictured above: According to Abandoned Ireland, the 13th-century Castle Roche in County Louth was built for Lady Rohesia de Verdun, who supposedly promised to marry the architect. But when he went to claim her hand, she had him thrown out of what's known today as the structure's "murder window." 

Abandoned Ireland: cottage on Isle of Doagh in County Donegal
Alamy/Sharon Williams
Isle of Doagh, County Donegal

From Abandoned Ireland: "Doagh is still called an island but the channel between it and the mainland has silted up. Despite this, it still shows signs of rural depopulation, including this house. Donegal is sometimes known as the 'forgotten county' because it is remote and difficult to access."

Abandoned castles in Ireland: Minard Castle on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry
Dreamstime/Miroslav Liska
Minard Castle on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry

From Abandoned Ireland: "Constructed in the mid-16th century for the Fitzgerald clan, the structure of this castle was so strong that it withstood four charges being detonated at its corners by Oliver Cromwell’s English troops in the 1650s. However, all occupants were killed in the attack and the castle was rendered uninhabitable." 

Abandoned Ireland: Moore Hall in County Mayo
Dreamstime/David Ribeiro
Moore Hall, County Mayo

From Abandoned Ireland: "This house was built at the end of the 18th century by George Moore, who had made a fortune in Spain in the wine and brandy trade. His descendants continued to live here until the house was burned in 1923 by opponents of the Anglo-Irish Treaty (the then-owner, Maurice Moore, was pro-Treaty). Moore Hall was designed by John Roberts, who was also the architect for Tyrone House in County Galway as well as both the Protestant and Catholic cathedrals in Waterford. The Moore estate stands amid the limestone karst landscape of County Mayo, which provides the conditions for various exotic plants to grow."

Abandoned castles in Ireland: Clifden Castle in County Galway
Shutterstock/Elena Schweitzer
Clifden Castle, County Galway

From Abandoned Ireland: "Built for landowner John D’Arcy in 1818, this Gothic Revival–style house fell on hard times when the Great Famine struck. Many tenants could not pay their rent or emigrated. The D’Arcys went bankrupt. In the 20th century, the house was leased to joint tenants who stripped it of its remaining valuable assets."

Abandoned Ireland: cottage in Waterville, County Kerry
Alamy/David Lichtneker
Waterville, County Kerry

From Abandoned Ireland: "Across Ireland there are many derelict cottages—signs of rural depopulation, as people have been drawn elsewhere by better prospects than living off the land. Ironically, this dwelling is in a village that acted as a focal point for the Irish side of the first transatlantic cables."

Abandoned castles in Ireland: Blarney Castle in County Cork
Shutterstock/Barbara Barbour
Blarney Castle, County Cork

From Abandoned Ireland: "The castle is most famous as the home of the Blarney Stone, said to give the gift of eloquence if kissed. The edifice was built by chieftain Cormac MacCarthy in the 15th century. Legend has it that England's Queen Elizabeth I coined 'blarney' as a word for 'coaxing talk'—exasperated at excuses regarding taking the castle, she purportedly called them all blarney."

Abandoned Ireland book cover
Amber Books Ltd

All preceding images were taken from the book Abandoned Ireland by Dominic Connolly, published by Amber Books Ltd and available from bookshops and online booksellers for $29.99.