In its early years, Castle Salem, was known as the Benduff Castle. The castle is situated in a secluded valley that is surrounded by steep hills and it was built in 1470. It is a uniquely built castle, far from the conventional style of castles being built on elevated ground. It is built in a secluded valley and in the past was secure since it was surrounded by hills. Also, a dwelling house has been built on to the castle making it possible to get to the castle from the house. The walls of its central tower were eleven feet thick , with passages and recesses and the usual stone stairway, thus making the castle difficult to get plundered.
In the 17th century, the castle was renamed from Benduff Castle to Castle Salem, meaning Peace, by an officer in Cromwell's army. The top of the castle was then taken off and put on a slated roof. During this period, Benduff was used by the Quakers as their burial ground. William Morris, who was the successor of Cromwell's army, was later buried in the burial ground of the Quakers, who were then offended by such an act that they never made any further burials there. This Monument, along with other famous attractions, puts Clonakilty on the map as one of Ireland's best tourist attractions.
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