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The tower house is situated in one of the most beautiful parts of the West of Ireland, the Burren part of County Clare to the South of Galway Bay and a half hour from the Wild Atlantic Way. County Clare is a peninsula midway between Kerry and Connemara with the Atlantic Ocean, the Wild Atlantic Way and the famous Cliffs of Moher to the West, and the River Shannon as the boundary to the East.
The Burren is a protected landscape, famous for the beauty of the flowers in the limestone hills and the wealth of archaeology. A densely planted wood of deciduous trees marks one end of the 5 acre property. The landscape as seen from the roof of the castle is a pattern of small fields bounded by hedgerows that come into blossom in the early summer. Lakes that change in size with the seasons surround the castle.
Horses, cattle and donkeys graze nearby. Wild irises grow along a stream that makes a gentle sound as it tumbles through some stones, a sound that would have been heard in the centuries past as the Tower House was being built, a time before the New World was discovered by Europeans. The 5 acres of land around the tower house is roughly grazed by a horse and a donkey that belong to a neighbouring farmer.
The tower house stands on a small hill above and about 20 metres in from the adjacent road. A car parking space for about 6 cars is in off the road and there is a gate between the road and the parking space which is down hill from the castle.
The Wild Atlantic Way and the Atlantic Coast of the Burren is 30 minutes away in several directions, and day trips to the Aran islands can be easily arranged. Shark fishing boat trips can be arranged and pony trecking, and a day can be rounded off with an evening listening to quality traditional music of County Clare in one of the many traditional pubs.
The rich archaeology consists of prehistoric stone forts, dolmens, wedge tombs, and other stone enclosures,medieval churches and castles which provide walking and driving expeditions throughout the Burren.
The coast road offers spectacular views of the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. The famous Cliffs of Moher are bounded by the beach at Fanore and Lahinch where surfing, swimming and a lifeguard service are available during the summer.
The small villages provide a variety of tearooms and pubs for a bite of lunch. Throughout the year on Fridays there is a street market in Ennis where organic local food and vegetables can be found.
For those who wish to stretch their legs the day might start with a climb of Mullaghmore to view the limestone rock terrain and flowers close at hand. An afternoons excursion to Caher Commaun, one of the many prehistoric stone forts that survive in the Burren could be followed by a stop at a pub overlooking the Carron Vally and then a leisurely drive along Liscannor Bay.
You may arrange with our housekeeper to prepare dinner for you in the evening, using locally sourced food of the best Burren quality. in this case you might purchase an interesting bottle of wine and an antiquarian book at Patrick Egan's pub as you look out on the Wild Atlantic Way Liscannor. You could stop in Ennistymon at the Courthouse art gallery and take a stroll through the small hilly town, with its river that cascades through the town.
The well known links golf course of Lahinch is worth a visit together with a stroll along the promenade to watch the surfers in their wetsuits who look like seals as they wade out into the Atlantic breakers of Liscannor Bay through out the year.
Further South and close to Loop Head is the Doonbeg golf course, and the lighthouse that marks the start of the Shannon Estuary. Ballyportry Castle is a genuine late medieval 15th century Gaelic tower house, that is sypathetically restored. Ballyportry Castle works well for multi generational family holidays, and for those who wish to experience an authentic and spacious tower house.
Dinner can be prepared for your arrival, and the fridge filled with local foods by the guide who can make suggestions for your exploration of the rich archaeology and amazing landscape of the surrounding Burren, and the nearby Atlantic coast.
Enclosed by a bawn wall, Ballyportry is placed on a rocky outcrop, which gives it extra height and grandeur and long distance views from the roof walk seven levels above ground. Moonrise behind the gentle hills of Clare, and sunsets can be appreciated in quiet contemplation from on high, as cattle slowly graze the rugged pastures around small lakes and a stream murmurs quietly as it curves around reed beds.
There is a large downstairs kitchen/sitting chamber at entrance level. A stone spiral staircase ascends the castle to the principal room, a spacious Great Hall roofed with oak trusses, which has an open fireplace and stone floor.
Heating is ducted underfloor, and a cosy log burning stove in both the downstairs kitchen and the largest bedroom. The tower house is cleaned completely before and after guests have stayed, and in accordance with the sensitivities of the conservation programme.
The ceilings contain remains of the original hazel branches, which were used to hold the plaster and bear the impressions of branches. The limestone walls are neither rendered nor plastered. The bathroom counter tops are Liscannor stone, and the kitchen worktop is of Kilkenny marble. The stone floors are also of Liscannor, a rare and beautiful hardwearing stone from the locality.
The castle has lots of books to read or dip into including poetry, biography, thriller, cookery and many more. WiFi is available in the National Park and Wildlife Centre in the village of Corofin, less than five minutes away. Ballyportry is 30 minutes drive from the Atlantic Ocean. The county town of Ennis is 20 minutes away.
Ballportry Castle survived relatively intact after the 17th century decline of the Gaelic aristocracy, while the quality of the architecture marks it as a special among its contemporaries. It was sympathetically restored in the mid 20th century and early 21st century.
Ballyportry sleeps eight guests comfortably. 6 bedrooms. 3 bathrooms, 2 with showers. A Great Hall at the highest level of the tower house. 2 kitchens. Ballyportry stands on 5 acres of land. There is a three night minimum stay. Ballyportry Castle is not suitable for very small children or for those with walking difficulties. No more than four extra table guests permitted.
Ballyportry is a protected monument of national importance.
Half a millenium of history is present in this late medieval Tower House, now an oasis of warmth and tranquility. Ballyportry castle has been beautifully restored with careful attention paid to retaining all original features and style, yet with modern comforts including good heating. It works very well for a family with teenage children or a multi generational family experience that will be memorable....moreless
Local Services & Businesses
The nearby county capital of Ennis has a winding medieval street pattern, small shops and pubs, rivers, swans, music and a good food market on Fridays....moreless
7 lakes can be seen from the rooftop of the castle, all within 10 minutes distance by car...moreless
The 15th century castle itself is a monument. The Burren area is known for the richness of archaeology....moreless
The distincive limestone hills of the Burren form the view from the entrance of the castle, and are part of a preserved landscape (The Burren) known for the most beautiful wild flowers...moreless
The Wild Atlantic way is within easy reach by car with a spectacular ocean view road along one side of Galway Bay and from the Cliffs of Moher there are views of Connemara and across to Kerry....moreless
Small fields with grazing cattle and horses surround the castle which is on a small winding road with views of the hills of Clare,small lakes and the preserved landscape of the Burren National Park....moreless
The village of Corofin is nearby with shops, and the market town of Ennis is within a half hours drive. Other small villages with shops and pubs and good music are within a half hour drive in a car....moreless
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This and all rental must be paid in full before arrival.
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BALLYPORTRY CASTLE is a genuine late medieval 15th century Gaelic tower house, rented as an exclusive let to groups of no more than 8 guests. Unusual in that it survived intact after the 17th century decline of the Gaelic aristocracy. Restored recently.
With expert guides you can learn about the local culture and the ongoing conservation of the Burren and the Aran islands, 'Eco consciousness' is now main stream and so is the growing sense of the relationship between the generations before us, for example with the earth and how our connection with it works.
Ballyportry Castle works well for multi generational family holidays, and for those who wish to experience an authentic and spacious tower house.
Dinner can be prepared for your arrival, and the fridge filled with local foods by the guide who can make suggestions for your exploration of the rich archaeology and amazing landscape of the surrounding Burren, and the nearby Atlantic coast with the Wild Atlantic Way.
Enclosed by a bawn wall, Ballyportry is placed on a rocky outcrop, which gives it extra height and grandeur and long distance views from the roof walk seven levels above ground. Moon rises behind the gentle hills of Clare, and sunsets can be appreciated in quiet contemplation from on high, as cattle slowly graze the rugged pastures around small lakes and a stream murmurs quietly as it curves around reed beds. There is a large downstairs kitchen/sitting chamber at entrance level. A stone spiral staircase ascends the castle to the principal room, a spacious Great Hall roofed with exposed oak trusses, and has an open fireplace and stone floor. It is at the highest level of the castle.
Heating is ducted under floor, and a cosy log burning stove in both the downstairs kitchen and the largest bedroom. The tower house is cleaned completely before and after guests have stayed, and in accordance with the sensitivities of the conservation programme.
The ceilings contain remains of the original hazel branches, which were used to hold the plaster in position. The limestone walls are neither rendered nor plastered. The bathroom counter tops are of Liscannor stone, and the kitchen worktop is of Kilkenny marble. The stone floors are also of Liscannor, a rare and beautiful hardwearing stone from the locality.
The castle has lots of books to read or dip into including poetry, biography, thriller, and cookery books. WiFi is available in the National Park and Wildlife Centre in the village of Corofin, less than five minutes away. Ballyportry is 30 minutes drive from the Atlantic Ocean. The county town of Ennis is 20 minutes away.
Ballyportry Castle sleeps eight guesst. It has six bedrooms. three bathrooms, two with showers, two kitchens. The castle stand on 5 acres of rugged land.
Three night minimum stay.
Ballyportry Castle is not suitable for very small children or for those with walking difficulties. No more than four extra table guests permitted.
Ballyportry is a protected monument of national importance.
When we stay at the castle ourselves we always take guests to walk in the Burren, with a trip to the prehistoric Caher Commaun fort as an introduction. It is a 20 minute walk along a path into a small deep valley and then a climb up to the plateaus with Burren flowers waving in the wind. A picnic completes the day as you sit on the grassy banks placed on top of a cliff and look across the high over the landscape.
Another pleasure is to walk with visitors up Mullaghmore which is about 10 minutes away in the car. Sometimes wild goats can be seen on the brow of the hill overlooking the lake. Its a scramble of a hike with lots of opportunities to sit on a stone and rest while watching and listening to the sound of the wind and to wonder at the beauty of the stone walls in an ancient glacier landscape.
We enjoy every summer a long day out to look at the famous Cliffs and the colonies of seabirds . Leaving from Liscannor harbour in the early morning allows us to look at the Cliffs from below. Ferry trips leave throughout the long days of summer to the Aran Islands. Its a day of fresh sea air and exhilaration on the Atlantic swell. On the way home we watch the surfers dipping in and out of the waves of Liscannor Bay.
The loveliest pleasure is to arrive back, put the key into the gate of Your castle and to come into the smells of good food cooking as our castle Guide prepares a dinner for your evening pleasure. Somehow the convivial setting of the castle and the knowledge of so many other conversations over the years loosens the talk; we have had so many good times over the years with friends and companions new and old.
Finally the end of a good day and a look at the stars high above as others did in the centuries past who also lived and loved in Ballyportry Castle from the time before Columbus went West across the Atlantic. Those who lived here sang songs and made poetry and journeyed on horseback and by ship across the waves. Remember them!
Year Purchased: 1999
About the owner: Ballyportry is a convivial and happy house and we imagine it to have been this way when it was built 500 years ago.The name translates as The Place of the Harpists. It is an ongoing conservation project, a work which continues. Our experience as an architect and an archaeologist has enabled us to care and restore this tower house in a well informed way. The intention is that this will be in use in another 200 years time as a house that is lived in and appreciated by guests and that they become excited by and about late medieval Gaelic Ireland.
Why the Owner Chose Corofin: The Burren is a unique and beautiful landscape in ireland that is widely considered to be of European importance, and this is one of the finest examples of a 15th century Tower house(castle), built before Columbus sailed for the New World.
The Unique Benefits at this Castle: You enter into a kitchen sitting room with a huge fireplace,a stone coffee table, a turf burning stove and well stocked bookshelves. There is good quality crockery and some serving dishes made in the local pottery. The fridge freezer and dishwasher and a large 6 burner gas range for cooking are the 20th century contribution to comfortable rustic living. The underfloor heating and the thick limestone walls retain the heat well. The tower house is furnished in an authentic way using fabrics in keeping with the late 15th century. The sheets and pillowcases are of linen, and wool blankets complete the dressing of the beds. All the furnishings reflect the time of late medieval Ireland, a time of hospitality, song, and poetry in Gaelic tower houses.From the entrance a winding stone staircase leads up 6 floors to the bedrooms and the impressive Great Hall at the top of the Tower House. An 6 meter high ceiling of exposed oak roof trusses, an open fireplace, couches and a table for dining. There is a second kitchen with dishwasher, fridge, and electric cooker that serve the Great Hall. Please note that the wonderful curving late medieval stone staircase may not suit small children of those with walking disabilities.