Ballaghmore castle is a landmark on the main Dublin road, just outside of Roscrea. It was originally built by the Fitzpatrick’s, the lords of Upper Ossery in the late 15th century, and was a border castle of the Ely O’Carroll Territory.
It was strategically placed on the Slí Dála and guarded the route from Tara to Munster to the west and Ossery to the east. Being on the border of Munster and Leinster meant that the castle was always in a dangerous position as two major families, the Butlers of Ormond and the Fitzgerald’s of Kildare were on either side. One of the most impressive features of the castle is the Sheila-na-gig on the south west corner. A Sheila-na-gig is a Gaelic symbol of fertility and was supposed to ward off evil.