Monday, 29 April 2013

Dromoland Castle, Co.Clare

A castle has stood on the site near Dromoland since the fifteenth century. Dromoland was traditionally the seat of the O'Brien family, a powerful Gaelic Irish family, who had retained status and wealth at the time of the Protestant Reformation by confirming to the state sponsored Church of Ireland. The family was granted the title 'Baron Inchiquin'; in return they vowed to renounce their Gaelic Irish titles and culture, and pledge allegiance to the Crown. The present castle at Dromoland dates from the early nineteenth century, the brainchild of Edward O'Brien, Lord Inchiquin. Inchiquin chose the English brothers, George and Richard Pain as architects. The Pains had already erected the magnificent castle neo-Gothic castle at Mitchelstown, and at Dromoland Inchiquin sought the increasingly popular Gothic for his new home. 

Building on the castle was completed c. 1835. It was mostly completed in local cut limestone, adorned with crenelations, corbles, and gothicised chimney stacks, while a tudor style porch was added at the front. Before the erection of the new castle, the O'Brien's principle home was at nearby Leamanagh Castle. Leamanagh contained a monumental entrance, dating from the seventeenth century. In 1907 Lord Inchiquin had part of this removed an re-erected at Dromoland. This  memorial highlighted the O'Brien family's links with Brian Boru, the one time ancient 'high king' of Ireland. When the sixteenth Lord Inchiquin sold the property in 1962, the castle was subsequently redeveloped as a luxury castle and golf complex. Significant additions were made, but in a sympathetic and harmonious way. The castle's opulence and prestige has attracted celebrities and politicians from all over the world. 

The castle viewed from across the lake 

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