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Surrounded by seven acres of lawns, park and woodland, Carraigin Castle is an idyllic holiday home in a beautiful setting on the shores of Lough Corrib, one of Ireland’s biggest lakes, famous for its brown trout and its multitude of picturesque islands. From the Castle one can enjoy boating and fishing on the lake, walking, riding and sightseeing all over Galway and Mayo, or just relax by the open hearth and contemplate the charm and simple grandeur of this ancient dwelling, a rare and beautiful example of a fortified, medieval “hall house”.
Family groups or close friends will love the relaxed atmosphere of this authentic 13th-century manor house, which has been restored by the present owner after languishing for more than two centuries as a crumbling, roofless ruin. Carraigin's church-like structure sits on a rise reached by an avenue across the tree-lined Pleasure Ground. The ancient-looking, nail-studded front door on the ground floor, often mistaken for an authentic antiquity, was actually made by the owner during the building's restoration in the 1970s. Round the corner, an imposing stone staircase leads to another grand entrance, into the lofty, oak-beamed Great Hall featuring a wide, stone-arched fireplace that provides a comforting aroma of turf and wood-smoke.
The Great Hall is the central living and dining area of the castle. It features a mix of old oak and comfortable modern furniture surrounding the welcoming hearth. Its white walls are extensively decorated with art including tapestries, brass rubbing portraits of ancient kings and knights and a magnificent triptych featuring a Galway galleon (as on that city’s coat of arms). There is a tiny but well-equipped kitchen next door with a view over the tall trees of the Pleasure Ground.
On the same level as the Hall is an oak-beamed double bedroom with a king-size bed and bathroom. A stone staircase winds upwards over this master bedroom to a family loft room overlooking the Great Hall. Another winding stairs leads up to a little single bedroom in the corner tower. From both of these second-floor rooms you can stroll out onto the castle parapets with fabulous views of Lough Corrib and the hills of Connemara and Mayo, and even those of Clare, on the other side of Galway Bay.
The rest of you sleep in the four cosy 'Vaults' on the ground floor below, their walls also lined with tapestries and other artworks. The Vaults have much picturesque charm with their oak-timbered partitions, arches and vaulted ceilings, and they work if you know each other well as the rooms lead one into the other. Vault I, the largest of the four, sleeps two in bunk-beds and features a fair-sized work table and chairs for busy teenagers and a mini-sofa for one or two in the window embrasure. Vault II (off No. 1) has a double bed and a similar window seat. Vault III (also off No.1) has one double and one single bed and a window seat. Vault III in turn gives access to Vault IV, a small single room with a three-light gothic window looking out at the standing stone sundial on the lawn.
Christmas/New Year Dec 20 - Jan 2, 2015 7 night min stay
Additional information about rental rates
Refundable Damage Deposit€500
There is an additional Euro60 per week charge for every additional guest. Children under the age of three are free,
25% booking deposit. Balance due 4 weeks before arrival together with a Euro500 guarantee deposit.
The deposit will be refunded 2 weeks after departure minus the cost of oil, electricity and possible damage.
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About the owner: When Christopher bought the site of Carraigin Castle, his friends and family panicked at the idea of his attempting to restore what looked like a shapeless heap of stones. Even the builder who undertook to have a go at putting the place together thought he was 'cracked'. Chris had grown up near a ruined castle, and it had been his childhood dream to restore one. He was, therefore, quite determined to go ahead with the project. By doing a lot of research into medieval hall houses and visiting nearly every castle in Ireland, Chris lovingly designed every corner and corbel of the building, including the roof and the original door latches. I am particularly fond of the down-stairs front door. It took Christopher 7 years (!) to design it and collect the materials – hand-forged nails, oak planks etc. Finally he took one whole month off to build it, and although I am his wife and I say so myself, the result is quite delightful. In spite of its authentic medieval appearance, Carraigin is as warm and comfortable as any modern holiday home.
Why the Owner Chose Headford: Chris had grown up near a ruined castle on the other side of the lake. After a long search all across the West of Ireland he found (and fell) for the ruin.
The Unique Benefits at this Castle: We come for the fishing, fabulous walks, fireside chats and peace and quiet aplenty. There's a boat to rent, with outboard and fishing rods.