Castle Matrix. The castle was built as a fortress during the early 1400s by the 7th Earl of Desmond. In the early 1600's the castle was granted to the Southwell family who converted it to a manor house. Sir Thomas Southwell who was a key figure in bringing Palatine refugees to Ireland, lived at Castle Matrix when he settled 100 families on his estate at Rathkeale. Two famous visitors that came to stay at Castle Matrix were the poet Edmund Spenser and Sir Walter Raleigh.
It needs to be clarified that when you see the word 'Castle Matrix' (two words) it is the Castle that is being referred to, while when you see 'Castlematrix' (one word) it is the Townland that is being referred to. Some Palatine descendants mistakingly believe their ancestors lived in the Castle when they actually were settlers on the townland of Castlematrix.
Killeheen was one of the three Rathkeale parent colonies. Homesteads were dotted along this one mile road/laneway.
The Church of Ireland, Holy Trinity Church, was built at the West end of Rathkeale in 1831 and is on a site that has been a place of worship for over 700 years. The uneven cemetery is the final resting place for many Palatines. Some of the weather-worn memorial stones are difficult to read, but a copy of the inscriptions was published in "The Irish Ancestor" in 1982.
Beside Holy Trinity Church stands Rathkeale Number 2 School that many children from Irish Palatine families attended. It was built almost 200 years ago, at approximately the same time as the church.
Embury & Heck Memorial Methodist Church, Ballingrane.
Built in 1766, it is the last remaining Methodist place of worship in the Rathkeale area. Originally one of three churches built to serve the needs of the local Palatines after many of them became involved with the Methodist movement. It was later extensively renovated and dedicated to the memories of Philip Embury and Barbara Heck, two Palatines responsible for the beginning of the Methodist Church in America. Today this church at Ballingrane serves the local Methodist community which is almost exclusively Palatine.
St. Mary's Church, Old Ross.
St. Mary's Church, (Church of Ireland), at Old Ross. This was rebuilt after being burned in the Irish uprising of 1798. Old Ross was the setting for one of the original Irish Palatine Settlements when Abel Ram took a number of the families onto his estates at Old Ross and at Gorey, Co. Wexford.