Ireland is famous for it’s never ending green fields, its wild weather and its ancient and medieval towns, castles and manors. Two of Ireland’s top visited attractions are castles and they are normally one of the highlights of people’s trips to the Emerald Isle. However, there are plenty of castles and old manor houses that many people have never heard of and each of them have a different and interesting story hidden within their walls.
Ireland’s lesser known castles:
This 19th Century castle was built in 1847 by an eccentric craftsman names Johnny Roche. Built in honor of himself, Johnny constructed the building himself and originally it housed a mill, blacksmith shop, general workshop and other apartments. This castle is hidden deep within the forest near Castletownroche and is currently up for sale! It is situated near St. Bernard’s well which legend has it can heal blindness and arthritis and is very high quality mineral water.
Roscommon Castle was built in 1269 by Robert De Ufford, Justiciar of Ireland. The castle was clearly an object of desire as it was faught over bythe Irish and English from its construction date until it was finally dismantled by Cromwellian “Ironsides” in 1652 and eventually burned down in 1690. The ruins of the castle is now open to the public and situated near a natural park which includes a crannog known locally as the Hill o’ Bones, a wildflower meadow, bird walk, lake feature, mounds, children’s playground and car park.
Luttrellstown Castle dates back to the early 15th Century and is situated on the outskirts of Dublin. It was owned by the eponymous Luttrell family for over 600 years and has since been in the possession of numerous well known people. The castle has played host to numerous dignitaries over the years and even royalty as Queen Victoria visited in 1844 and 1900. The profile of the castle was raised by the wedding of David and Victoria Beckham and is currently a 5* Hotel and Golf resort.
This castle is said to be Ireland’s finest example of gothic-revival architecture. This stunning castle is situated in the heart of Ireland’s most ancient primordial oak woods which was once the haunting grounds of Irish druids. This Gothic style fortress took 14 years to be completed and was designed by noted architect Francis Johnston.
This castle has an interesting story behind its construction and dates back to 1236 AD. It is believed that the castle was first commissioned by Rohesia De Verdun. Rohesia moved to Ireland after the sudden death of her husband and immediately requested a fortified castle be built for her. This was made difficult due to her demanding and high tempered personality and eventually she offered her hand in marriage and share in wealth to whomever would build this castle for her. Legend has it however that once built and married Rohesia pushed her new groom from the window of their bridal suite so that the secrets of her castle remain with her. The window has been thereafter named “Murder Window”.
There is a lot of history in the ruined walls of Clifden Castle and it’s also quite sad that such a luxurious castle has been left to delapidate. Built in 1818 by John D’Arcy the manor house was at one stage one of the country’s finest. However, after the death of John, his son Hyacinth inherited the house and he was not as adept as his father in running his land and properties and when the famine struck and emigration hit a high the landlord was no longer able to collect rent and his estate went bankrupt. It was later bought by two wealthy brothers who made an excellent attempt to renovate the manor house however over time and after selling the property the castle now lies in ruins.
If you have an interest in Ireland’s history take a look at some of our other blogs and discover interesting places and landmarks you may not have heard of before! TheIrishStore.com has hundreds of different Irish products including some stunning celtic jewelry, some warm aran sweaters and some tasty Irish food. Make sure to check it out and treat yourself or someone special to a little piece of Ireland.