Why does Ireland have more ruined castles than Scotland?

Ireland has more than 30,000 castles and castle ruins known of (too many to count) whereas Scotland has just over 2,000.

For numerous reasons:

  1. Early medieval Ireland was a big plain filled with forests and bogs. Holding it was a nightmare so castles were a good way of creating a terrain that could be more easily defended.
  2. Due to Ireland being a place that was constantly war torn for centuries castles were constantly built, destroyed and then rebuilt.
  3. Ireland is also slightly less mountainous than Scotland so there was more land suitable for castle building. Also, the lack of mountains in the centre and Northern part of the country meant that good strategic positions to defend were harder to come by.

That would appear untrue:

Category:Ruined castles in Scotland - Wikipedia

Category:Ruined castles in Ireland - Wikipedia

I count more for Scotland.


I am not sure that Ireland has more ruined castles than Scotland. But I am pretty certain that more castles were burnt deliberately in the early 20th century in Ireland than in Scotland as a consequence of the Irish war of independence when both Anglo-Irish aristocratic ancestral seats and vacant mansions and castles belonging to an absentee English landlord were typical targets of firebomb and arson attacks. In the early to late 20th century these castles and houses went on the market during a relative slump in the Irish economy.

Whereas the Scottish equivalents would have remained in near constant occupancy.


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