Abandoned ireland


Clifden Castle

Co. Galway

Documenting our Heritage

Clifden Castle was erected by John d'Arcy (1785-1839) in 1815.

Clifden town (An Clochan), also founded by John D'Arcy was one of the last towns to be built in Ireland. D'Arcy's vision was to create a thriving commercial centre in a resource rich, but poverty stricken region. He hoped that the town would raise the living standards throughout the area by exploiting the rich fishing, wool and marble resources in the locality. Its superb siting overlooking the Atlantic, with easy access to a sheltered harbour, power from the Owenglen river, relatively fertile surroundings and its position at the junction of Connemara's lowlands and highlands augured well for its long term prospects.

John d'Arcy married twice and had fourteen children.

Following John's death in 1839, the castle and town passed to his son and heir, Hyacinth. Like so many landlords in the West of Ireland, Hyacinth became bankrupt as a result of debts incurred during the Great Famine and in 1850 the town and castle went on sale.

The new owners, the Eyre family from Bath in England, purchased the town and castle for £21,245. The Eyre's lived at the castle until the 1920s when the lands were eventually purchased by the government and divided out among the tenants.

Sadly, the castle had no outright owner and, in time, was stripped bare of its slates and timbers and eventually fell to ruin.

Co. Galway