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Welcome to the Irish Walled Towns Network

Working to help make walled towns better places to live, work and visit.

The Irish Walled Towns Network (IWTN) was formed by the Heritage Council in 2005 to help the walled towns of Ireland become better places in which to live, work and visit. The island of Ireland has 56 ‘proven’ walled towns, 29 of which have joined the IWTN.

The role of the network is to unite and co-ordinate the strategic efforts of local authorities involved in the management, conservation and enhancement of historic walled towns in Ireland, both North and South, helping to make Ireland’s walled towns become great places in which to live, work and visit.

Guidance and assistance is provided to member towns by providing grants for town wall conservation and for community festivals and heritage interpretation. Training is delivered to community groups on how best to use their town’s heritage for the benefit of those who live there and we regularly research and publish user-friendly advisory documents.

Where are the IWTN towns?

Featured Towns

Trim

Trim was originally founded in the 12th century by the Anglo-Norman Lord of Meath, Hugh de Lacey and his son Walter de Lacey. They constructed the largest castle in Ireland as their seat of power and a town quickly developed. The town required defences and between 1289-1290 Trim received a murage grant to build stone walls. These walls were needed to protect Trim’s inhabitants from attack, especially when the Lord and his soldiers were absent. When completed, Trim's stone walls enclosed an area of 23 hectares. There were six gates leading into the fortified town, Dublin Gate, Navan Gate, Water Gate, Sheep Gate, Bridge Gate and Athboy Gate. There was a natural fosse (the River Boyne) but not ramparts.

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Limerick

Limerick was founded by the Vikings in the 10th century. They created an early form of walling to protect the town's inhabitants but this was defeated by the Gaelic Dal gCais family of County Clare and then by the Anglo-Normans who took the town in the 12th century. The Anglo-Normans stayed in Limerick for two years, before leaving and then returning again for good in 1195.

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Fethard

Fethard has the most complete medieval town wall in Ireland with over 90% of the original 1,125m stone wall surviving. The town walls date from 1292 when King Edward I of England gave a murage grant towards the enclosure of the town and the protection of its citizens. This was continued by further murage grants in the 14th and 15th centuries.

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Did you know?

Sir Ernest Shackleton the famous Antarctic explorer was from the walled town of Athy, Co. Kildare.

In 1221, Dublin became the first town in Ireland to receive a ‘murage grant’ (money from the King to build town walls)

Sir Walter Raleigh was a famous resident of the walled town of Youghal He was beheaded in England & It Is said that afterwards his wife carried around his severed head in a velvet bag!

When the walls of Kells, Co. Meath were repaired in the C15th the townspeople were forced to pay for the work, causing many residents to leave the town!

Derry/ Londonderry’s walls have never been breached (broken into by an invading army!) It is the only walled town to have survived all attacks & is nicknamed the ‘Maiden City’ because of it!

The walled town of Carrickfergus Co.Antrim was the landing place of William of Orange who fought at the Battle of the
Boyne against his father-in-law & became King of England in 1689.

At one stage, Cork City was a monastic settlement, a Viking longphort & an Anglo-Norman town!

Drogheda was originally two walled towns on either side of the River Boyne that became one walled town.

Climate Change & Historic Towns Document

The Climate Change and Historic Towns document was created in 2019 in collaboration with illustrator, Hazel Hurley. The document is based on presentations which were delivered at the IWTN 2019 conference in Kilmallock, Co. Limerick in June 2019. It presents the...

The IWTN Action Plan 2020-2023

Following extensive consultation with the members of the IWTN, the IWTN Action Plan 2020-23 was launched at the IWTN AGM held at Collins Barracks, National Museum of Ireland, Dublin on 14th Feb 2020.  The 2020-2023 Action Plan is the fourth to have been compiled by...

Discover the Walled Towns of Ireland with 
our New Workbook for Primary School Children!

With the closure of schools and as many of us continue to stay safe at home, the IWTN has created this workbook for children to explore the wonderful heritage of the 29 towns that are members of the Irish Walled Towns Network. The workbook contains lots of...