Clifden Castle, Clifden

3.6
Clifden Castle is a ruined manor house west of the town of Clifden in the Connemara region of County Galway, Ireland. It was built c. 1818 for John D'Arcy, the local landowner, in the Gothic Revival style. Uninhabited after 1894 it fell into disrepair. In 1935, ownership passed to a group of tenants, who were to own it jointly, and it quickly became a ruin.
John D'Arcy, founder of Clifden, had this house constructed for himself and his family even while he was busy building up the town. The Castle dates from around 1818 and served as the main dwelling of the large D'Arcy family for the next decades. The land surrounding it was among the first drained and reclaimed in the Clifden area by D'Arcy.
In 1839, John D'Arcy died and his oldest son, Hyacinth, inherited the estate. However, Hyacinth was not as adept as his father at running the family properties and at dealing with his tenants. More disastrously, in 1845 the famine struck. Hunger, starvation and fever incapacitated large numbers of people as the potato crop failed. In desperation, many emigrated. As a consequence, rent income of the D'Arcy's plunged. On 21 September 1846, Hyacinth D'Arcy's tenants gathered en masse on his front lawn, begging for work or food.
In the end, the D'Arcy estate went bankrupt and Clifden was one of several D'Arcy properties put up for sale on 18 November 1850. Thomas and Charles Eyre, brothers from Bath, bought the Castle, most of the town and surrounding lands for 21,245 pounds. They had been the mortgagees of the estate since 1837, shortly before John D'Arcy's death.
The Eyre family used the Castle as a holiday home. In the 1850s, a new roof was added and the facade altered to suit the taste of the new owners. Thomas Eyre eventually bought Charles' share and on 16 July 1864, two years before his own death, gave the Castle and the Clifden estates as a present to his nephew, John Joseph Eyre of Saint John's Wood, London.
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  • This castle is located on the Sky Road. From the road this castle is not to be seen. Note A gateway to the left of the road (Castle Demesne, photo attached). A parking space for a piece or 8 cars is provided for this purpose. Through the entrance gate you walk in a minute or 15 to the castle. Along the way you'll also encounter a few standing stones. Only a few minutes before you get there, you see the castle on the right. Nice hike with beautiful views of the castle and the sea.
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  • We were told by the visitor center to make our way to the castle and they had a map and pictures. We were told where to park and when asked if we could enter the castle for pictures we were told of co...  more »
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