Cloonacauneen Castle is one
of Galway's best known Tower Houses rising up to over fifty
feet in ivy splendour above the lonely peaty plains of the Curraghline, its floor plan of thirty-one feet sets it
regally among its limestone peers, although many have
crumbled away with the passage of time.
Its stony spiral staircase
leads up from the former storage room at ground level to the
ancient kitchen area, above again the master bedroom, and
higher up to the main banqueting hall, where guests such as
Gernon were wined and dined.
These main rooms occupied a third
of the building, with the rest assigned to lowly servants and defence personnel.
Unlike its peers, the majority of the castle owners have been recorded since
1574 when Richard Beag Burke lived there. The building next came into the
possession of the Blakes with Martin Blake the last of the family in occupation.
Shortly after 1835, he sold it to a Mr. Fair of Ballinasloe, sold both buildings
to the estates commissioners. in 1914 the complex came into the possession of
Mr. James Malley, but by then, it seems, it had become a dilapidated ruin.
All was not lost, however, because when the Lenihan family from Eyre Square
occupied the site in 1963, they immediately set about restoring both buildings
to their former prime. Castle and house were re-roofed and the battlements
raised to their original height. A lord of the manor took up residence again.
Subsequent owners such as the Hanleys, Monaghans, and Heffernans, went much
further, of course, and Clooncauneen has become a centre of joviality again. A
house, while an adjoining function room has transformed the ancient complex into
a centre of recreation. With accommodation also provided, the castle has twined
the ancient charms of the past with the recreational demands of today.
While one may sup in style in the castle's famous restaurant, drink to the sound
of melody in its cosy bar, or dance the night away on the boards of its function
room after a hearty meal (not swelled mutton from a shorn ram!), one can also
share overnight overnight accommodation with the ghosts of time itself. There is
While the upper banqueting hall is used as a special private party room, most
will sip brandy with the past in an entrance hall unique. As you enter though
the twice-recessed stone doorway, where overhead the murder hole once greeted
the uninvited, the storage room is now a place of genteel repose. As you sink
into the carved and cushioned oak wood chairs of the past, the once wickered
arches of window cells urge you to guess what lies behind the doors of this
Castles in County