Desmond Castle was built by the Earl of Desmond c. 1500. A fine example of an urban tower house, the castle consists of a three storey keep with storehouses to the rear. Originally built as a Customs house, the castle also served as a prison in the 18th century (it is known locally as the French Prison) an ordnance store during the Battle of Kinsale (1601) and as a workhouse during the Great Famine. By the early decades of the 20th Century Desmond castle had fallen into decay. It was declared a National Monument in 1938. Today Desmond Castle hosts the International Museum of Wine Exhibition, an intriguing story that documents the unique history of Ireland’s wine links with Europe and the wider world.
“Winegeese” is the name given to the emigrant Irish families who, from the 17th century onwards, engaged in the wine & spirits trade in the various countries that they adopted. Famous people such as Michel Lynch of Bordeaux, McGuigans of Australia and Hennessy Brandy to name but a few.