Object Descriptions Tower House Parlor

Raleigh’s window

Remains of this south-facing, ogee-headed window still exist in the wall of the tower house.  For a contemporary picture, click here.

The view from the window would be of the marsh adjacent to the castle.  The window is dubbed “Raleigh’s window” today because, as legend has it, Spenser and Raleigh sat here and smoked pipes and conversed when Raleigh visited Kilcolman in 1589 (see Spenser and Raleigh). 

Literary Connections

Raleigh’s visit to Kilcolman is immortalized in Spenser’s pastoral poem, Colin Clouts Come Home Againe (1595).  Spenser’s alter-ego Colin Clout describes this encounter as beginning outside, under an alder tree:

Raleigh's Window

One day (quoth he) I sat, (as was my trade)
Vnder the foote of Mole that mountaine hore,
Keeping my sheepe amongst the cooly shade,
Of the greene alders by the Mullaes shore:
There a straunge shepheard chaunst to find me out,
Whether allured with my pipes delight,
Whose pleasing sound yshrilled far about,
Or thither led by chaunce, I know not right:
Whom when I asked from what place he came,
And how he hight, himselfe he did ycleepe,
The shepheard of the Ocean by name,
And said he came far from the main-sea deepe.
He sitting me beside in that same shade,
Prouoked me to plaie some pleasant fit,
And when he heard the musicke which I made,
He found himselfe full greatly pleasd at it:
Yet aemuling my pipe, he tooke in hond
My pipe before that aemuled of many,
And plaid theron; (for well that skill he cond)
Himselfe as skilfull in that art as any.
He pip’d, I sung; and when he sung, I piped,
By chaunge of turnes, each making other mery,
Neither enuying other, nor enuied,
So piped we, vntill we both were weary. 
(Colin Clouts Come Home Againe 56-79).

The “shepheard of the Ocean” is Raleigh.  Spenser’s description of a “piping” contest is a pastoral conceit, indicating that they shared poetry with one another (whether or not they actually played pipes as well).  In the distance is “Mole,” Spenser’s name for Galtymore, the highest mountain in the nearby Ballyhoura Hills to the north of Kilcolman.


William Oram, “Spenser’s Raleghs.” Studies in Philology 87 (1990), 341-62.