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Built in 1300 for Richard de Burgo (the Red Earl of Ulster), Ballymote Castle was once the strongest fortress in Connacht. The castle had 10ft high walls, six towers, and a surrounding moat. However, its impenetrable reputation was shortlived. From 1317 until 1690, the castle changed hands between Irish and British forces several times, before its defenses were finally destroyed. Today it retains much of its former glory with an imposing entrance gate, double towers, and enormous outer walls. Ballymote Castle also has an important literary connection. In 1391 The Book of Ballymote
was written here. This 500-page book has provided scholars with the key to deciphering the ogham alphabet. Contact the local tourist office for further information.