Explore the 'Waterfall of the Géitiní'
Askeaton is a town in Co Limerick, the name comes from the Eas Géitiní, which means 'the Waterfall of the Géitiní (Keatings). Askeaton is located in Co Limerick and situated just off the N69 road on the Shannon Estuary Way between Limerick and Tarbert (Ferry Port), built on the banks of the river Deel, some 3km upstream from the estuary of the River Shannon. It is located 27km west of Limerick City, & can be accessed via the 314 bus route, it is 10km east of Foynes. Located 49km from Shannon Airport. The historic structures in the town include The Desmond Castle & bridge- the focal point of Askeaton - which dates from 1199 & a Franciscan friary dating from 1389, Knights Templar located in the grounds of St. Mary’s church of Ireland. Other local amenities include, community hall, swimming pool and leisure centre, two supermarkets, filling stations, café, credit union, library & selection of other shops and pubs.
In the very heart of this County Limerick town stand the impressive remains of a medieval fortress. Askeaton Castle dates from 1199, when William de Burgo built it on a rock in the River Deel. Over the centuries, the castle proved itself key to the history of Munster. It was the power base of the earls of Desmond after 1348. In 1579 it held out against the English general Sir Nicholas Malby, an incident that helped spark the second Desmond Rebellion.
Askeaton Franciscan Friary
The Franciscan friary of Askeaton lies by the river Deel, to the north of the village of Askeaton, Co. Limerick and the impressive castle of the Earls of Desmond, which stands on a rocky island in the centre of the town. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful complete ruins in the country. The friary was founded either in 1389 by Gerald Fitzgerald (1335-98), 3rd Earl of Desmond and Lord Justice of Ireland, or in 1420 by James Fitzgerald Fitzgerald (c.1380–1462), 7th Earl of Desmond. It was plundered in 1579, revived in 1627, plundered again in 1648 by Cromwell’s forces neared. 10 years later it was up and running until the friars finally abandoned the place in 1714. The extensive remains of the friary and its surroundings represent an imposing medieval architectural landscape that was probably planned intentionally in the early fifteenth century. Its design is arranged around a central cloister where the monks would walk and pray and although the original bell tower has collapsed there are still excellent examples of carved windows, stone seats, and tombs. The friary’s cloister is intact and an image of St Francis is carved into the cloister arcade to remind the Franciscan friars of their patron saint as they went to and from Divine Office. There is an interesting carving of St Francis showing his stigmata that has been kissed so much that it is almost worn away!
The Knights Templar
One of the oldest buildings in Askeaton is in the grounds of Saint Mary’s Church. The present church was built in 1827, but beside it are the ruins of an earlier, mediaeval church, and on the south-east corner of the church is an unusual tower, associated in local legend with the Knights Templar. The tower is said to have been built in 1298, which means it predates both the Desmond Castle, which was built in the 15th century on the site of an earlier ruined castle, and the Franciscan Abbey, which was founded in 1389 or 1420.