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18 September 2014
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Wars and Conflict - The Plantation of Ulster

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Plantation Architecture
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Castle Caulfield
- Nick Brannon

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Castle Caulfield in County Tyrone was built by Sir Toby Caulfield in the years between 1611 and 1619. He had been granted these lands as part of the Ulster Plantation, and he chose to build his castle on the site of an Earlier building occupied by the O’Donnelly clan who were expelled from these lands.

The castle illustrates the paradox of the English colonist coming to Ireland. All had been peaceful in England for decades and the architectural styles in England at the time reflected that. Caulfield brought those with him but had to try to accommodate them to the warfare, to the hostile landscape of the Ulster colonies, and one sees that reflected in parts of the architecture in relation to how the windows were built, how big they were, and the fact that this castle needed a major gatehouse over which the coat-of-arms of Caulfield are still proudly visible.

The site was attacked and captured in 1641 - the O’Donnellys got their revenge - but once the Rebellion was over in 1641, the buildings were reoccupied until the 1660s. Some two-thirds of them now survive although the building of course is a roofless ruin, but wandering round the inside of the building, one can still see traces, through cracked stone and staining, of the massive fire that must have consumed the building when captured and destroyed in 1641.

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