Kilshanny, Co. Clare
Kings. Rebels. Cromwell. There is no telling the amount of Irish history witnessed by this stronghold. For over 500 years, Ballynagowan Castle has sat vigilant on the wild Atlantic West Coast in County Clare. If walls could talk…
In the 21st century, Ballynagowan finds itself with a more peaceful occupation; as self-catering accommodation in the heart of the beautiful Irish countryside. Set in almost five acres of countryside overlooking a river valley, yet just a short distance from the many attractions this region of Ireland has to offer.
Sleeping up to eight guests, Ballynagowan Castle is ideal for families and small groups; it's the perfect destination for special occasions for those with a desire for 15th-century style and 21st-century comfort.
With four double bedrooms, two showers and one bathroom (recently renovated), Ballynagowan Castle can comfortably sleep up to eight guests. All rooms offer beautiful historic features only to be found in walls so old. The castle is centrally-heated throughout and is decorated in a historical antique style.
The Great Hall
After a day exploring the local countryside, The Great Hall (pictured above) was a wonderful place to relax and abandon all cares. It's hard not to feel like royalty with the original Gothic fireplace lighting the room with its warm glow.
The Kitchen/Dining Room
Upon entering the kitchen, we were immediately drawn to the large, 17th-century richly-carved table, comfortably seating eight. The integrated kitchen is fully equipped with all you need to create an opulent knights’ banquet, including a good range of cooking and serving utensils. Large range cooker, microwave, fridge-freezer, dishwasher, washing machine and clothes dryer are all available to make sure you don’t miss the convenience of home.
The Minstrels Gallery
This was our favourite of the four bedrooms. It overlooks The Great Hall and includes a four-poster bed.
This area of Ireland is full of things to see and do! Some of our highlights:
- Take in the incredibly scenic Cliffs of Moher, stretching over 14km and reaching 214m at the highest point.
- Visit ancient monuments and historical sites spotted all over Clare, some even dating back to the Neolithic period, such as the Poulnabrone Dolmen from 4200BC.
- Go for a picturesque hike in the wild and beautiful Burren National Park, or ascend the bizarre terrains of Mullaghmore Mountain.
- Enjoy the world-renowned golf course in Lahinch.
- Experience the eery underground world at the Aillwee and Doolin caves.
- Stop by the Father Ted Parochial House and have a “lovely cup of tea”.
- Explore the ruins of countless castles that were irreversibly destroyed in Cromwellian battles.
Only a few castles in the West of Ireland have survived to the present time. Ballynagowan Castle has played an exciting role in the history of North Clare, taking its name from ‘beal-atha-an-ghobhan’, meaning the ‘mouth of the smith’s ford’.
It was first mentioned in 1551 when the last King of Munster, Murrough O’Brien (also known as the Tanist, was created 1st Earl of Thomond and 1st Baron of Inchiquin in 1543), willed the Castle of Ballynagowan to his son Teige before his death.
Over the years it accommodated many famous characters of Irish history. Records show that in 1600 the legendary Irish rebel “Red” Hugh O’Donnell rested there with his men during his attack on North Clare, spreading ruin everywhere and seeking revenge on the Earl of Thomond for his being in alliance with the English.
In 1649 Oliver Cromwell’s army came from England with death and destruction. The castle was attacked with cannons when Cromwell’s General, Ludlow, swept into North Clare, striking terror everywhere he went.
In 1650 Conor O’Brien of Lemeneagh became heir of the castle. His death, however, came shortly afterwards in 1551, as he was fatally wounded in a skirmish with Cromwellian troops commanded by General Ludlow at Inchicronan. With him had fought his wife Maire Rua O’Brien (“The Red Mary”, named after her long red hair), one of the best-known characters in Irish tradition. She had lived in the castle as a young woman and it is the ferocity and cruelty attributed to her, which has kept her name alive. Legends tell that to save her children’s heritage after Conor’s death she married several English generals, who were killed in mysterious ways, one after the other- she supposedly ended her bloody carrier entombed in a hollow tree.
During 1652 almost all inhabitable castles in Clare, including Ballynagowan, were occupied by Cromwellian garrisons, a time of terrible uncertainty as Clare was under military rule.
Over the next decades, Ballynagowan Castle was the seat of army generals, the High Sheriff of County Clare and Viscount Powerscourt, one of the most powerful aristocrats who had their main residence - a monumental Neo-Gothic palace - in Dublin.
The castle was last inhabited mid-19th century and, until its recent restoration, served as a beloved meeting point for couples - songs and poems about it finding their way into the local pubs.
Ballnagowan Castle is available for self-catering stays for up to eight guests.A minimum stay of three nights is required.
|2020||3 Nights||4 Nights||5 Nights||6 Nights||7 Nights|
|January - pre-Easter||€1250||€1325||€1400||€1475||€1550|
|Easter - June||€1450||€1540||€1625||€1715||€1800|
|July - August||€1650||€1750||€1850||€1950||€2050|
|October - December||€1350||€1425||€1500||€1575||€1650|
|Christmas / New Year||€1650||€1750||€1850||€1950||€2050|
Ballynagowan Castle is in Kilshanny, County Clare. This position on the West Coast of Ireland allows guests of Ballynagowan easy access to picturesque coastal towns such as Doolin, as well as areas of extreme natural beauty in the Cliffs of Moher and Liscannor Bay.
"It took us just over an hour to get here from Galway, with Dublin around three hours away."