A castle in transition

Portumna Castle was built in 1618 and is regarded as a interesting example of Irish architecture in the transition between the medieval fortified tower house and the classical large country manor. It was built by Richard de Burgo, the 4th Earl of Clanricarde as his principle residence. De Burgo was a man of great wealth and influence in England and Ireland. Although it was designed to be aesthetically pleasing the De Burgos were taking no chances as it had defensive towers at each corner, gun loops, a grand front door, battlements -and a machicolation ( floor openings in the battlements, through which stones, or other objects, could be dropped on attackers!). The De Burgos managed to hang onto the house for nearly 200 years until 1826 when the castle was gutted by a fire. It remained as a roofless shell until very recently but since 1968, the Office of Public Works along with teams of skilled craftsmen and archeologists have carefully restored the structure and it’s 17th century gardens to their former glory.