Cassidy Keep

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Location: Cassidy Keep
First Seen: May 2003

Birthplace of Thomas (Black Tom) Cassidy and Theresa Cassidy; previously owned by Sean Cassidy; as of Christmas 2006, nominally owned by Terry.

Caretakers: Bobby Drake & Terry Cassidy

Located in County Mayo on Ireland's west coast, Cassidy Keep was built in 1185 and occupied continuously by the same family until the time of Cromwell drove them from residence. In 1659, the Cassidy family through a distant relation took possession of the keep, changing the name.

The history of the Cassidy family is recorded in the Great Hall, where portraits of generations of the family tell their own story of Ireland's stormy history. Many additions and alterations have been made but the contours of the surrounding lands have changed little in 800 years, retaining a sense of the past. The hall of the castle is of Norman architecture but it is not known whether it dates from the reign of Henry IV or from that of Edward IV when the original building was considerably enlarged and embellished. The circular towers flanking the facade were added in 1765.

At the heart of the medieval castle is the Oak Room, approached by a winding stone staircase and lit by Gothic windows added in 1820 when the room was enlarged and the front hall below was created. The room is lined with carved oak from floor to ceiling, representing scriptural subjects, now black with age and polishing. Some of the carving is of Flemish origin, including six panels representing biblical scenes opposite the window.

In the 1970s, Cassidy Keep changed hands when the current lord of the Keep died, leaving the family residence not to Tom, his son, but to his nephew, Sean. Sean allowed Tom to remain and Tom expressed no bitterness over the situation. However, years later Tom would tell Terry that Sean had won the Keep from him in a poker game. Sean gifted the Keep to Terry as part wedding gift and part Christmas present in 2006. Bobby and Terry chose to move to the Keep in order to take over stewardship in April 2007. The Keep is currently being restored and renovated.

The Keep is a protected landmark and open for tours Monday-Saturday. When the family is in residence, tours are restricted to the grounds except by appointment.

Meta: The history and appearance of Cassidy Keep is partially based off Malahide Castle.


Emerald Isle