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The Rock of Dunamase is an imposing and magnificent example of a Celtic fortification overlooking the valley of the O’Moores, just outside Portlaoise, County Laois.

Spectacular views of the surrounding countryside make the towering Rock of Dunamase a place of strategic importance. The site of an early Christian settlement pillaged by the Vikings in 842, Dunamase became one of the most important Anglo-Norman strongholds in Laois. It was part of the dowry of Aoife, the daughter of Diarmuid Mac Murrough, King of Leinster, when she was given in marriage to the Norman conqueror Strongbow in 1170. When Isabel, the daughter of Strongbow and Aoife, wed William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, Dunamase was given as part of her marriage's wedding gift.

From 1325 until 1609, the castle belonged to the O’Moore family of Laois, before ownership passed to the Earl of Thomond. It was finally destroyed during the Cromwellian invasion in 1650.

Despite the castle’s ruined state, visitors can get a sense of its former grandiosity and also have the opportunity to take in stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Tips from locals

Capture some spectacular pictures of the Laois countryside from the top of the rock, especially at sunrise or sunset.

Free car parking
Dog friendly
Family friendly
Free to visit
mapGet directions on Google Maps
Contact details
Dunamaise, Aghnahily, Co. Laois, Ireland
Visit duration

We recommend planning to spend 1 to 1.5 hours here.

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