Shrule Castle is a detached, five-storey tower
house with an attached outbuilding to the west elevation and stands
at an important crossings point on the River
Barrow. It was built between 1600 and 1640 during the reign
of Queen Elizabeth 1. (1558 - 1603) by
Robert Hartpole, Constable of Carlow Castle & the Governor of Queens County.
Today the Castle Square Keep still stands at Shrule but there are no remains of the
manor at Killabban.. The castle was constructed of uncoursed rubble
masonry with square double-light ogee-headed, pointed-slit, slit loops and
flat-headed windows. The masonry walls display a slight batter. Internally, the
castle exhibits finely carved stone mantle pieces, dressed limestone doorways,
an intact spiral staircase and abundant remains of render. A significant part of
the masonry was dressed. Fine punch work to window, stairs and door elements was
- according to the
- Topographical Dictionary of Ireland
- by Samuel Lewis
SHRULE, a parish, in the barony of SLIEVEMARGUE, QUEEN'S county, and province
of LEINSTER, 2¼ miles (N.) from Carlow; containing 183 inhabitants. This
parish is situated on the river Barrow, which here separates it from the
counties of Carlow and Kildare; it comprises 784 statute acres, as applotted
under the tithe act. The castle was built in the reign of Elizabeth, soon after
the reduction of Leix to English government, by Sir Robert Hartpole, constable
of Carlow castle, and governor of the Queen's county; his extensive possessions
have since passed through female heirs into other families. The castle, once of
some importance, is a massive pile, situated on the banks of the Barrow: it is
now the residence of Hasting Herring Cooper, Esq. Hollymount, the seat of Wm.
Fishbourne, Esq., is also in this parish. It is a rectory, in the diocese of
Leighlin, forming part of the union of Slatey: the tithes amount to £46.3.1. In
the R.C. divisions it is held with part of Killabin.
Col. Richard Fitzgerald M.P.
Col. The Rt. Hon. Richard Fitzgerald of Kilminchy Castle, Maryborough,
Queen's County and also Mount Offaly, Co Kildare was the 5th son of Gerald
Fitzgerald of Coolanawle, Queens County by his wife Mary daughter of Sir Robert
Hartpole of Shrule Castle, Queen's County.
Richard Fitzgerald married first Margaret, daughter of James 4th and last
Lord Kingston of Mitchelstown Castle, Co Cork by whom he had an only daughter
Caroline who married her kinsman Robert Lord Kingsborough son of the 1st Earl of
Kingston (2nd Creation). He married secondly Mary, daughter and heiress of
Farfex Mercer of Fair Hill, Co Louth, and by her had one son Gerald who by his
second wife Katherine daughter of Sir Lucius O'Brien 3rd Baronet of Dromoland,
Co Clare was the father of the Rt. Hon. James Edward Fitzgerald 1st Prime
Minister of New Zealand.
Richard Fitzgerald was elected M.P.
for Boyle, Co Roscommon on 21st October 1763 and held the seat till he was shot
in a duel in 1776 by the Earl of Kingston.
By Frank Meehan. Source Laois Yearbook 1989
Historical Family Tree
/ FitzGerald / Hartpole
Mary FitzGerald was born c1504 at Shrule Castle, Queens
County, Ireland. (Her
Grandmother was Margaret Hartpole, born c1540. She died on: 11 FEB 1618/19)
Mary FitzGerald married Oliver Grace who was born
c1498 at Ballylinch, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland and died about 1580
Oliver Grace's Father was John FitzOliver-Grace
and her mother was Katherine Poer. She was possibly a descendant of the
Poher family who came from the region of Poher in Brittany, France. The
original family name is called `de Poher', which means someone from
Poher'. Robert le Poer, who took part in the Norman invasion of
Ireland in the 12th century and was granted substantial lands in County
Waterford by Henry II.
The Hartpole Doom from Celtic Folklore
There is a tradition concerning the Hartpole family of Shrule Castle in the
Queen’s County (called the castle on the bloody stream, from the sanguinary
deeds of the owner) that every male member of the family is doomed and fated to
utter three screeches terrible to hear when dying. As to the origin of this doom
the story goes that Sir Richard Hartpole about 300 years ago, in the time of the
Elizabethan wars, committed many savage acts against the Irish, he being an
upholder of the English faction.
One day a priest, named O’More, having come to the castle on some friendly
mission, the savage Hartpole ordered his retainers to seize him and hang him up
in the courtyard.
- "Good God !" exclaimed the priest. "Give me at least a moment to pray ! "
- "Go then," said Hartpole, "you may pray."
- The priest kneeled down apart from the crowd. But Hartpole grew impatient,
and ordered him to rise.
- "You have prayed long enough," he said, "prepare for death."
- And when the priest heard the order for his death, and saw the man approach
to seize him, he swayed from right to left and gave three fearful screams.
- "Why do you screech ?" asked the tyrant.
"So shall you scream, and all your descendants in your last agony," exclaimed
O’More, "as a sign of the doom upon your race. You have murdered my people, you
are now going to take my life; but I lay the curse of God on you and yours —
your property shall pass away; your race shall perish off the earth; and by the
three death screeches all men shall know that you and your posterity are
The words of O’More only made the tyrant more furious, and the priest was
hung at once in the courtyard before the eyes of Hartpole. But the prophecy of
doom was fulfilled — the property perished, the castle became a ruin. The last
Hartpole died miserably of want and hunger, and the whole race finally has