Clifden Castle

Clifden Castle is located in the Connemara region of County Galway, Ireland. The early 19thcentury manor house overlooks the Clifden Bay and was built in the Gothic Revival style for John D’Arcy and his family. The castle boasts a rounded tower, a square tower, and an entry tower with two round turrets. In 1839, the estate passed to D’Arcy’s oldest son, Hyacinth. Unfortunately, Hyacinth didn’t run the properties as well as his father and had difficulty dealing with the tenants. In 1845, when famine struck, many emigrated and D’Arcy’s rent incomes fell. By 1850, the D’Arcy’s estate went bankrupt. Clifden Castle was purchased by the Eyre family who added a new roof and altered the façade with decorative elements. The Eyre family used the castle for holidays, but they were known as absentee landlords. The castle was placed into a trust for the six Eyre children and run by agents. Unfortunately, the castle fell into ruin and the lands were leased for grazing. In 1917, J.B. Joyce, a local butcher, purchased the castle estate, but there was great controversy over his purchase as some of the former tenants had purchased parts of the 200 acres for farming from the Congested District Boards in 1913. The farmers turned the town against Joyce. They chased away Joyce’s cattle, put their own stock in the field, and barricaded the gates against Joyce. Through arbitration Joyce agreed to sell the land in 1920; the tenants divided the land amongst themselves. The contents in the house were auctioned, the roof, windows, and timber were stripped away, and the castle fell into ruins.  Today, the castle is currently owned by several families.