Castle Durrow

Updated: Jul 23



The 18th-century manor is located Durrow village in county Laois. The name Durrow comes from "Daurmagh Ua NDuach" meaning "The Oak Plain of Ui Dutch", a group of original settlers in the area.


The area was once a beautifully oak rich forest. The Normans established a self-governed settlement here in the 1200s, what would grow into Durrow village.


William Flower (a Politician and member of the privy council of Ireland) arrived in 1716. His son gained the title of Viscount Ashbrook and over the next 200 years, the family oversaw the construction of much of the old town which grew into a bustling centre of business and trade.        


The Flower family, resided here until 1922 when they were forced to sell up and return to Britain, due to the bank's foreclosure. The Castle was sold to a party who's interested rested in the estate's valuable forest. The Land Commission eventually gained the estate and the property was divided among them and the forestry department.


The town itself was bought by Bank of Ireland and over 4 decades sold off the properties.       



The manor remained empty until 1929 when it was purchased by the church and converted into a convent. It was further converted into a primary and secondary school until its closure in 1987.


Finally, in 1998 the hotel was sold once more and converted into the hotel we know today.



The town of Durrow has become famous for its annual Scarecrow festival which has grown since its first in 2009.  



Now onto the legend.


It was in the 19th century that the local community were terrorised by a gang of thieves led by the ruthless ‘highwayman’ Captain Jeremiah Grant. Upon capture 1816 they were hanged for their crimes. However, it is believed that before their rampage ended, they buried their stolen valuables somewhere deep in the Durrow forest. According to local legend, the forests are haunted by the gang's ghosts, warning off, any who would dare steal their treasure.



© 2020 by Lance Kerrigan.