Portumna Castle is a very interesting example of Irish architecture in the transition between the medieval fortified tower house and the neoclassical large country manor. It was built in 1618 on the banks of Lough Derg as the principle residence of Richard de Burgo, the 4th Earl of Clanricarde. De Burgo was a man of great wealth and influence in England and Ireland and this house remained in the de Burgo family for over 200 years. Although it was aesthetically pleasing to the eye the de Burgos were taking no chances as the the large rectangular block had defensive towers at each corner, gun loops, the grand front door, battlements and a machicolation (a floor opening in the battlements, through which stones, or other objects, could be dropped on attackers!). In 1826 the castle was gutted by a fire and then remained as a roofless shell until very recently. Since 1968, the Office of Public Works along with teams of skilled crafts, archeologists and historians have carefully and sympathetically restored the structure and it’s 17th century gardens to their former glory. Please refer to www.heritageireland.com for opening times. Photo courtesy of Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaelthacht (DAHG).

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