Brittas Castle

When the main residence in Tinnahinch was blown up in 1653, the Dunne Chief had to build anew. At this time there was a low thatched lodge located at Brittas, near the present village of Clonaslee. The Dunnes built a mansion at right angles to this, facing north-east. Concurrently, they heightened the thatched building to accommodate the servants.

Major-General Francis Plunkett Dunne built a neo-gothic mansion at Brittas in 1869, to a design by John McCurdy. It was extended ten years later by Millar and Symes. It is believed that General Dunne obtained loans from Germany to build the castle, and rental income from his tenants was used to repay the lenders.

Brittas Castle went on fire on Thursday, June 25 1942 and, despite the best efforts of the Tullamore Fire Brigade, it was destroyed. It is believed that Colonel Dunne built a road between Brittas and Kinnity Castle around the time of the famine (1845 - 47). The Dunnes had allies in Kinnity at this time and the road would have made an effective escape route in the event of an attack. This road became known as the General's Road. The name Brittas comes from the French word "bretache" and this was the term which was used by the Normans to signify a tower.


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