near Birr, County Offaly, Ireland
Clonony Castle is located outside the village of Birr on the side of the Shannon River, 1/2 mile from Shannon.
Constructed mainly of limestone, the castle was built as a large Tudor tower house with a fifty foot high tower, two defensive walls, moat and gardens.
The north wall has been destroyed but the towers on the remaining three sides are still visible. The restoration has covered the first and second floors of the tower house which includes the spiral staircase destroyed to stop people entering the castle whilst derelict. The barrel vaulted ceiling on the second floor has also been restored to it former glory.
Clonony Castle is open to the public but restoration work is still ongoing and dependent on the Irish weather and money.
The grounds are equipped with picnic tables and it is possible to stay the night but beware there are no electric lights so it is candlelight only.
The castle does have its own Tea Room and Banqueting Hall.
Clonony Castle was built by the MacCoughlan clan in the 1500’s and was the site where the firing of muskets was first practiced.
In the early 17th century the castle was assigned to King Henry VIII who in turn handed it over to Thomas Boleyn and made him Earl of Ormond; the reasoning behind this was to win the hand of his daughter Ann in marriage. Two cousins of Queen Elizabeth; Mary and Elizabeth Boleyn, spent their lives at the castle and are buried underneath a hawthorn tree in the grounds.
During Cromwell’s invasion of Ireland the castle remained relatively untouched but was left abandoned and fell into ruins in parts. It is now in the hands of a private owner and renovation is progressing slowly with the help of donations.
The ghost of a man has been seen at the top of the tower wearing old fashioned clothes. He is said to be surrounded by a halo of mist and is a tall thin figure.
Other Castles in the Area
Athlone Castle, County Westmeath
Ballycowan Castle, County Offaly
Birr Castle, County Offaly
Charleville Castle, County Offaly
Kinnitty Castle, County Offaly
Leap Castle, County Offaly
Portumna Castle, County Galway
Redwood Castle, County Tipperary
Typical Irish tower house, Clonony Castle in County Offaly, Ireland. View from southwest.
Photograph by TomAlt. License: Public Domain. (view image details)
Clonony Castle map