Leap Castle, Roscrea
Though turbulent centuries, Leap Castle kept watch for the lords of Ely O’Carroll and still stands fortress-like on its perch overlooking a vast stretch of the countryside. It guarded the pass from the Slieve Bloom into Munster. From here the O’Carrolls set out for victory and defeat, here they brought their brides and captives, within lurks Ireland’s most intriguing elemental presence – unique in that it is reputed to give off a ghastly ghostly odour.
The Gaelic name for the castle is “Leim ui Bhanain” – which means the Leap of the O Bannons. .The O Bannon clan were the first owners of Leap . Before the O Carrolls went to live in the Castle the O Bannon family were under chiefs of the O Carrolls.The Leap Castle is a keep.The keep it self was built in the fourteenth or fifteenth century Around 1604 or 1605 some of the territory of Ely O Carroll was attached to Kings County which is now known as Offaly.There is a rumour that an O Carroll daughter helped a Darby to escape from the castle and then married him afterwards
Following the failure of the Revolt of the Earls, in 1619 the plantation of Ely O Carroll took place. The English rulers settled the area with loyal Protestant Scots and Englishmen and deprived the local Gaelic population of their land. Leap Castle passed into the hands of the Darby family. Many Darbys became high Sheriff of Kings County.But the most famous Darby who was Admiral Sir Henry Darby fought at the battle of the Nile.Sir Henry Darby escorted Napoleon Bonaparte into exile when he left France.