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Clifden Castle, County Galway
30403502
Front (south) elevation
Reg. No.30403502
Date1810 - 1820
Previous NameN/A
TownlandFAKEERAGH
CountyCounty Galway
Coordinates63539, 251024
Categories of Special InterestARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC
RatingNational
Original Usecountry house
 
Description
Freestanding ruinous Gothic Revival castle, built 1815. Now roofless. Front, south-facing, façade comprising three-bay two-storey block having projecting single-bay entrance tower flanked by two-stage round-plan turrets and flanking bays terminated by slender square-plan turrets, and having further single-bay single-storey part set back from entrance tower. Façade continued by further two-storey part having two-bay ground floor and arcaded first floor, and round drum tower to east corner. Three-bay side elevations, two southern bays of that to west projecting from plan. Rear elevation has two-bay east part projection to west bay comprising two buttresses having round-headed niches and flanking possible former window, entranceway to middle of elevation, and projecting multiple-bay two and three-storey part, latter flanked by single-storey block having four-bay west long elevation and having square-plan turret to north-west corner. Screen walls to east and west of castle. Front elevation and turrets are crenellated. Partially roughcast rendered rubble-stone walls, with lined-and-ruled rendering to walls, battered plinths to entrance flanking turrets and to drum tower, string course to front façade except for drum tower, to projection at rear. Entrance tower has moulded cornice to middle bay with roundels flanking rendered slate-hung machicolation over entrance having rendered relief crest c.1860 of Eyre family, foliate decoration flanking crest, rendered brackets supporting machicolation and having foliate ornament, and wreaths between machicolation and first floor window below. Entrance turrets have corbels to wall walk having palmette decoration to front and towards machicolation, other corbels being undecorated and of limestone and having lion masks to base of corbels and wreaths between corbels. Rendered crenellated chimneystacks, with lion mask moulding to corbels of east elevation with raised rendered cross, and turrets. Square-headed window openings to entrance tower and flanking bays and to west elevation, pointed openings to rest of front façade except for square-headed openings to top stage of drum tower. Round-headed window openings to rear elevation and to north bay of east elevation, square-headed elsewhere to east elevation, most openings of front and east elevations having rendered hood-mouldings and sills. Windows missing. Three-bay arcaded portion of front façade is rendered limestone and comprises three three-light windows with linked rendered hood-mouldings having human mask stops. Decorative square-headed and cruciform arrow loops to turrets and tower of front elevation. First floor window of entrance bay has moulded render architrave and sill with rendered corbels. Order arch doorway to main entrance bay with moulded rendered arches springing from banded colonettes with rendered keystone and moulding above. Round-headed door opening to rear elevation having raised rendered arch. Crenellated rendered rubble stone screen wall to west has pointed archway having roughly dressed stone voussoirs, east enclosing wall has decorative arrow loops and pointed archway leading to causeway over stream. Additional enclosing rendered rubble-stone wall to former courtyard to rear elevation of castle having round-headed archway with flanking piers to north-east elevation. Long winding drive to castle with four standing stones, one of which is possibly prehistoric.

Appraisal

This is a picturesque ruin of an early nineteenth-century castle overlooking Clifden Bay. It was built by John D'Arcy, the founder of Clifden. The Famine ruined the D'Arcy estate and the castle was acquired by the mortgagee Thomas Eyre of Bath who used the castle as a holiday home. The present rendering and decorative features mostly date from the time when the property was in the possession of the Eyres. The house remain inhabited until 1894, when John Joseph Eyre, nephew of Thomas Eyre died and it is now owned by several local families.
 
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