*Carrigaholt Castle. 

CARRIGAHOLT CASTLE has been sold following an auction in Ennis.

Managing Director of Sherry FitzGerald McMahon, Diarmuid McMahon confirmed that Carrigaholt Castle sold “considerably in excess of our guide price of €650,000”.

He reported “active bidding from home and abroad” for the historic landmark along with the cottage, both of which are situated on seventeen acres in the Loop Head Peninsula. It had been privately owned but is under the protection of the Office of Public Works and National Monuments.

Built around 1480 by the MacMahons who were the last of the Gaelic chieftains to rule West Corca Baiscinn which is known today as Loop Head Peninsula.

Fortunes of two families, the MacMahons and the O’Briens during the political and religious turbulence of Ireland, England and Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries are reflected in the castle’s story. Both families descended from the High King of Ireland, Brian Ború

Tadhg ‘Caoch’ was the last of the MacMahons, he was known for being rebellious against English colonisation and was eventually banished from the castle at the end of the Tudor period. The MacMahons were succeeded by the O’Briens, who had a recent history of loyalty to the Crown.

The power struggle of the English Civil War between Parliament and the king led to the execution of King Charles I and the rise to power of Oliver Cromwell. He landed in Ireland in 1651 to quell widespread rebellion. Cromwell’s forces took Carrigaholt Castle, but the O’Briens were reinstated after the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.

In 1688, James II was deposed and fled to Ireland where he had widespread support because of his pro-Catholic policies. In the ensuing military campaigns, William of Orange defeated James’ army in Ireland. As a result, the O’Briens of Carrigaholt left for France in what is known as the Flight of the Wild Geese. The MacMahons and the O’Briens continued to fight with the French against the English, many having illustrious military careers. In 1697, the estate was granted to the Earl of Albermarle and quickly sold. The Burton Family acquired the castle and lived here until the end of the 19th century.

Tower houses like Carrigaholt Castle were very popular among the Irish gentry, they dot the landscape of rural Ireland. These small castles became common among the Gaelic chieftains. Over 3,000 were built, and there are the remains of 217 Gaelic tower houses in Co Clare. The tower house, a small portion of a much larger complex, has a steep base batter and is constructed of local flagstone in rough courses with limestone windows and doors.

Over the centuries, Carrigaholt Castle went through many architectural changes. The castle went through many architectural changes over the centuries. The main doorway to the east is under a pointed arch with a wide murder hole inside and a double sloping chute above the doorway fed from the first floor. The ground floor contains a small vaulted chamber with two narrow loops on the E and N walls. The N and W walls have been built up with a brick shelving to serve as a wine store

To the south of the entrance hall is another vaulted chamber containing a wide circular stairwell and a narrow chamber to the east lit by a narrow loop. The spiral stairs were built of local flagstone. The tower house contains two vaults, one over the ground floor and the second over the third floor. All the other floors were supported on beams resting on corbels. One original beam remains in situ over the second floor. Above the ground floor the tower house is lit by double light windows, but all the central mullions are missing. The wall over each window is supported on wooden lintels now badly rotten. These may have been inserted in the 18th century to modernise the old tower. Much refurbishment in brick is evident throughout.

In recent years the fourth floor was repaired, it contains a fine limestone fireplace with the initials “DIB, 1603” carved on it (Daniel O’Brien). To the N.W. of this room, protruding from the castle wall, is a corner machicoulis, or bartizan, defending the north and west walls.

A sketch drawn in 1675 showed a large mansion attached to the western side of the tower at Carrigaholt. Tradition says that Lord Clare trained his dragoons in front of the castle, on a lawn, long since eroded by the water of the Shannon. The ghosts of that Lord, and those of his Dragoons, were supposed to traverse the west, in the stormy nights of winter and to disappear at dawn, into the surges, off Carrigaholt.

Related News

jimi coughlan bruce springsteen 1
'Springteen shows are better than politics' - barber Jimi says politics won't cut it as he opts against election bid
save ennis town 10-10-23 gearoid mannion 1
Save Ennis Town to hold public rally opposing 'destruction of our historic town'
carmel kirby kevin corrigan pat dowling 1
Councillors claim cancelling of Ennis 2040 briefing was illegal & accuse Chief Exec of 'chasing Ministers'
rowan tree ennis
Abbey Hostel getting rid of Ukrainian residents & apply to house international protection applicants
Latest News
save ennis town 10-10-23 gearoid mannion 1
Save Ennis Town to hold public rally opposing 'destruction of our historic town'
carmel kirby kevin corrigan pat dowling 1
Councillors claim cancelling of Ennis 2040 briefing was illegal & accuse Chief Exec of 'chasing Ministers'
rowan tree ennis
Abbey Hostel getting rid of Ukrainian residents & apply to house international protection applicants
gort courthouse 1
Security issues at Gort courthouse must be addressed ahead of Minister & farmer 'cow dung' assault case
shane o'donnell 1-2
O'Donnell named hurler of the month for April
Premium
joe floyd tulla 18-05-21 2
Floyd takes aim at 'scandalous & disgraceful' expenses claimed by councillors as he throws name back in ring for election
fursa kavanagh 1
Green Cavanagh puts Shannon Airport rail link at top of agenda
ennistymon lea debate 1
The Electoral Chair: Ennistymon local electoral area debate
knappogue castle 1
Knappogue Castle to open as private residence this year
garda
Woman sustained broken eye socket, broken ribs, collapsed lung, stitches to face from alleged assault by then boyfriend

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Scroll to Top