Ballynagowan Castle S/C
Star Rating:: Self-Catering
Location: Ballynagowen (Smithstown) Castle, Co. Clare, Ireland
Size: 3 Rooms/3 Showers – Sleeps 6-8 People
Nearby: Indulge yourself with an unforgettable holiday in a true 15th century Irish Castle with fascinating history, set away from busy roads on almost 5 acres of mature grounds overlooking a river valley, in County Clare on the West coast of Ireland, at very affordable prices. Authentic in style, yet with all the comfort of 21st century. This castle in Ireland sleeps 6-8 people.
You are choosing the best possible location in the West of Ireland. Only 3-6 miles from the longest sand beaches in Ireland, the world famous Cliffs of Moher, the ferry to the Aran Islands, 2 championship golf courses, the most Western spa in Europe, at the edge of the unique Burren landscape with its rare flora, and prehistoric monuments of international importance, and lots more.
Tenon Recommends: Ballynagowen Castle is an amazing alternative for a small group or family. As it’s a self-catering property, the castle as a whole needs to be rented.
Only few castles in the West of Ireland survived into our times. In the County of North Clare one of the most important castles is Ballynagowan (Smithstown) Castle which takes its name from beal-atha-an-ghobhan, the mouth of the smith’s ford. Ballynagowen Castle has played an exciting part in Irish history over the centuries. It was first mentioned when the last king of Munster, Murrough O’Brien, called the Tanist, who 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 in 1551.
Over the years it accommodated many famous characters of Irish history. Records show that in 1600 the legendary Irish rebel “Red” Hugh O’Donnell with his men rested there during his attack on North Clare, spreading ruin everywhere when seeking revenge upon 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. When his General Ludlow swept into North Clare striking terror everywhere he went, he attacked the castle with cannons. In 1650 Conor O’Brien of Lemeneagh became heir of the castle. However, soon after, he was fatally wounded in a skirmish with Cromwellian troops commanded by General Ludlow at Inchicronan in 1651. 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 and that she ended her bloody carrier entombed in a hollow tree.
During 1652 almost all inhabitable castles in Clare including Smithstown were occupied by Cromwellian garrisons, a time of terrible uncertainty, 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 neogothic palace – in Dublin.
The castle was last inhabited mid 19th century and until its recent restoration served as beloved meeting point for couples-, songs and poems about it finding their way into the local pubs.