This old castle, two miles west of Clonaslee, beside the old slí or highway was, according to Lewis' Topographical Dictionary, built by the first Sir Charles Coote in Elizabeth's time on the lands of the Dunnes which had been granted to him. Sir Charles married Dorothea, daughter of Hugh Cuffe of Cuffe's Wood, Co. Cork, a planter and he, presumably, as was customary with some of his fellow-grantees and planters, introduced the name "Castle Cuffe" as a token of esteem for Dorothea and her people.

The old native name of the district was Ballynasagart (Baile na Sagart), which means the townland or home of the priest. (There is a small townland, Ballintaggart - Baile an tSagairt, the town or home of the priest - south of the townland of Brittas, two miles south-east of Mountmellick town).

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