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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  • Great visit , fabulous piece of history. Its definitely worth a visit if you are in the area and some great views from the Sky road. Must have being a beautiful place in its day, . Try and get some...  more »
  • Well worth the walk to see the former home of the man that created the town. What a beautiful loction.  more »
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