Rising out of the flower-rich limestone lands of County Clare, this stunning 500-year-old castle tower is one of the few remaining intact after the 17th-century exile of the Irish aristocracy. For over a century, the county and the castle were the territory of the aristocratic O’Brien clan during the Middle Ages, descendants of the famous Brian Boru, High King of Ireland.
Restored through extensively researched conservation techniques by American architect Bob Brown in the 1960s, the result is one of the best examples of medieval conservation anywhere in Ireland. A building of national importance, it is in the constant process of conservation, in keeping with the period, traditional craftsmanship and local materials.
Set on over five acres on a rugged rocky outcrop, the property is enclosed by a bawn wall with a boundary of a small stream to the south. It is beside the Burren National Park, and is in a protected landscape.
Constructed of locally quarried limestone, the towering structure is six stories high and designed in a formation unique to the middle ages. Through the ground floor entrance you will find the principal kitchen where you have the option of having your stay catered by the castle guide who is an accomplished chef.
The elegantly crafted spiral staircase ascends through each of the six levels, with six bedrooms of varying size staggered throughout with a romantic master bedroom that includes its own wood burning stove. Thoughtfully furnished with detail that reflects the period along with 21st-century comfortable beds, each room will take you back in time.
At the top of the tower house is the Great Hall, with a grand fireplace and arched cathedral ceilings designed for conviviality and good conversation, poetry and song. There is an additional kitchen that can serve guests at the dining table here as well as special access to the very top of the castle walkways and battlements. It is an unforgettable experience to watch the sunrise and sunsets from the very top of the tower.
Outside the castle, the surrounding lands are beautiful and peaceful with few immediate neighbors other than the grazing horses and cattle, with small rolling pastures and lakes and hills in the distance.
Celebrated in song, poetry and Gaelic lore, this is one of those magical once-in-a-lifetime places that remind you of the timeless nature of history, which will stay in your memory for a long time to come…
Chefs trained at Ballymaloe, the top cookery school in Ireland, can prepare dinner every evening. Traditional musicians can come to play in the Great Hall. Tours by Gordon d’Arcy, the environmental writer, artist and educator can be arranged for your family.
Books, CD audio player, landline telephone for local calls only. WiFi is available five minutes away at the National Park and Wildlife Centre in Corofin. Parking on site.
Please note that the curving late medieval stone staircase may not suit small children or those with a walking disability.
The tower house is cleaned completely before and after guests have stayed, and in accordance with the sensitivities of the conservation programme.
Situated between Connemara and Kerry, Ballyportry is between Galway City and the county town of Ennis. North Clare has some of the finest surviving prehistoric and medieval landscape in Ireland. The Burren is renowned for its rare flora, and creviced sheets of limestone rock formations.
The Wild Atlantic way, a newly signposted tourist route that follows the entire Atlantic coastline of the West of Ireland is within a half hour’s drive. It will take you to the Cliffs of Moher and on to the light house of Loop Head. Traditional pubs with restaurants can be found in all the towns.
Ennis, County Clare, Ireland. Nearest Airport: Shannon Airport (45 min)
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Spring through Fall
Click for more vacation home rentals at BoutiqueHomes.