The Dunne’s formerly owned a number of castles in the midlands of Ireland. Today little remains of most of these castles, many were destroyed during the Cromwellian Invasion of Ireland.
The principal seat of the Dunne family was Tinnahinch Castle. Originally known as “Baun Riaganach”, the castle was built by Tadhg MacLaighnigh Ui Duinn in 1475 and was the residence of the chief of the Dunne’s. Tinnahinch Castle was located at the Barrow River, one mile south of Tinnahinch bridge. The name Tinnahinch originally means “house of the island”, a tributary stream of the Barrow river surrounding the castle gives it the appearance of an island. Tinnahinch Castle was destroyed by during the Cromwellian Invasion by forces led by Colonel Hewson in 1653. At the time it was strongly defended by Charles Dunne and it required a full park of artillery from the invading forces to level the castle. After the destruction of Tinnahinch Castle the principal seat of the Dunne family moved to Brittas Castle. Unfortunately there remains nothing of the original castle apart from a wall which may have been part of the original building.
After the destruction of Tinnahinch Castle the Dunne Chief built a new home at Brittas, near Clonaslee, County Laois. Originally there was a thatched lodge located there and the O’Duinns built a mansion at his location. In 1869, Major-General Francis Plunkett Dunne built a neo-gothic mansion at this location. The house had extensive gardens and also lake which was originally created as a reservoir. In 1942 the building was burned down in a fire.
It was a coursed rubble and limestone building built between the River Clodiagh and River Gorragh by the Dunnes on the location of an earlier castle which was destroyed by Cromwellian invasion forces. It was built by Colonel Terence O’Dunne in 1680 who was killed at the Battle of Aughrim and is buried at the graveyard in Killeigh.
Teige O’Doyne built the Dunne castle Coolnamoney Lower near the Glenlahan River. Not much is left of the castle today, but some of the original features can be seen in the ruins.
Castlebrack Castle was built by Tadhg MacLaighnigh Ui Duinn in 1475. It was built to be occupied by the Tanist, which was the name of the position held by the clan’s deputy chief. This castle was second in size and importance to Tinnahinch Castle, which was the principal residence of the Dunnes. Terence O’Dunne completed a major refurbishment of the castle in 1688, however by 1838, all that was left of the castle was ruins.
Clarahill Castle was built by a junior/younger branch of the Dunne family. It was built in 1600, and in 1900 it was destroyed for road material.
The Dunnes also built Ballinahemmy Castle near the town of Corrigeen, in County Laois, and its location is marked on the Ordnance Survey map.
Raskeen Castle was built by Donal O’Dunne in 1584 and destroyed in 1691.