McDermott’s Castle is in County Roscommon on Lough Key. Lough Key contains over 30 islands scattered throughout its chilly waters. One of these islands is aptly named ‘Castle Island’ and it’s here that you’ll find the ruins of McDermott’s Castle. Lough Key (Irish: 'Loch Cé') is a lake in Ireland.

Local legend tells the story of a girl called Una, the daughter of the McDermott chief, who fell in love with a boy from a lower class. Una’s father refused to let her leave the island, in the hopes that this would deter the relationship. Unbeknownst to her father, Una’s boyfriend began swimming across Lough Key to reach the castle. It was during one of these crossings that tragedy struck, and the boy drowned. It’s said that Una died from grief and that both she and her partner have remained buried beneath two intertwined trees on the island ever since.

In 2019, Archaeological excavations were also undertaken on the island. These concluded that the island itself is essentially a multi-period fortification, with the earliest elements dating to the early medieval era. Medieval buildings dating to the thirteenth century were excavated on the northern side of the island above the earlier fortification, but were not found to be connected to the standing enclosure wall. High-status Gaelic artifacts were discovered, including silver pins, a gaming piece, and large collections of butchered cattle, boar, and sheep.

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