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Desmond Castle / Wine Museum
Desmond Castle (Irish: Caisleán Deasmhumhan) is a tower house located in the town of Kinsale in County Cork, Ireland. It was built as the Customs House for Kinsale about the year 1500 by Maurice FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Desmond, following the grant of the customs of the port of Kinsale to the Earls of Desmond by King Henry VII in 1497. Presumably there must have been an earlier structure on the site as the 1st Earl was Captain of Desmond Castle.
It was used as a Customs House until 1641 when it was converted into a naval prison, following the construction of a new Customs House. The prisoners kept in the Castle were in the main French and Spanish, and the building became known locally as the "French Prison" as a result.
In January 1747, a fire broke out, killing 54 of the prisoners. In 1791 the castle was donated by James Kearney MP to the town of Kinsale, and it was subsequently used as a town gaol till 1846, and during the Irish Famine as a workhouse. In 1938 it was taken into government hands, and in the 1990s was restored and opened to the public by the Office of Public Works. In 1997 the International Museum of Wine, which details the links between Ireland and the wine trade, and is run by the Order of the Wine Geese, was added.
We thoroughly enjoyed our Irish vacation. Our hotel choices were wonderful, and there was not a snag with our reservations. Thank you for your assistance.
The only change that we might have made was to have a less ambitious itinerary. Our aim was to see as much as we could in such a short
period of time, but, as a result, we weren't able to spend enough time in each location. Now that we've been there once we definitely know
where we'd like to return to on our next visit.
We are grateful for your assistance.
Dolly Trager, Illinois, USA