Built as a custom house by the Earl of Desmond in circa 1500, Desmond Castle has had a colorful history. It was occupied by the Spanish in 1601 and used as a prison for captured American sailors during the war of Independence. The castle was also used as a borough jail from 1791 to the onset of the Great Famine when it was used as a workhouse. Desmond Castle was declared a National Monument in 1938. Today Desmond Castle is host to the International Museum of Wine. This exhibition, which opened to the public in 1997, documents the intriguing story of Ireland’s wine links with Europe and the wider world.