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The castle stands about half way between Hackball's Cross in County Louth and Ballsmill in Co Armagh. It occupies a prominent and strategic promontory giving extensive views over the flat Co Louth countryside and the hilly and mountainy southern part of County Armagh. Rohesia de Vernon began the construction of the castle about 1226. She is reputed to have defenestrated the architect, on its completion, to preserve the secrets of its construction.
Oliver Plunkett is said to have made a number of visits to the castle when the owner was Sir John Bellew. It was sacked by the forces of Oliver Cromwell in the mid-seventeenth century.