Castle is a fortified manor house on the crossroads of Corofin and Kilfenora
in County Clare.
in an area know as the known as the Burren, Lemaneagh Castle is actually
2 structures combined. The oldest part on the east end is a five story
tower from the late 15th Century. (1480) The tower features narrow windows,
several small chambers and a spiral stairway.
manor house rises 4 gabled stories above the countryside and features
rows of large stone window frames. The major part of the structure dates
from the the 1630s and is thought to have been built on the foundation
of an earlier hall. The impressive structure houses the kitchens and
work areas on the ground floor with the main living quarters being on
the first and second story.
mention of the castle is in 1550 when the property was granted to Donough
O'Brien. In the 1630s Conor O'Brien inherited the land and built the
manor house on to the original tower.
manor house was built for comfort with large windows to let in both
light and air, extensive walled gardens, a summer house and fish pond.
In addition to improving the house, he surround it with a fortified
wall and an impressive front gate. The high and rounded entrance gate
held an inscription that said "built in the year 1643 by Conor O'Brien
and by Mary ni Mahon, wife of the said Connor." On either side hung
the coat of arms belonging to Conor O'Brien 1643, and his son Sir Donat
wife was red haired Maire Rua. (Maire ni Mahon - daughter of Turlough
MacMahon) She is said to have gone with her husband on raids against
English settlers. Conor O'Brien was killed in 1651 while fighting against
Cromwell's loyalists. Maire then married a Cromwellian soldier to preserve
her son's inheritance. She was indicted for murdering this husband,
John Cooper, but was acquitted. Maire Rua (Red Mary) died in 1686.
her son, Sir Donat O'Brien, who improved the property. In addition to
work on the gardens, a canal was added and the carriage drive lined
with trees. In 1705 Sir Donat left Lemaneagh Castle for Dromoland, ancient
stronghold of the O'Breins. He took with him a fine stone fireplace
and the impressive gate which now rests in the garden of Dromoland.
After he left Lemaneagh Castle fell into ruins.
many stories that surround the property, one is of a particular area
near the fish pond. Inset into an entrance to a walled garden are 2
niches. Legend has it that they were built for a blind stallion belonging
to Maire Rua. He was supposed to be so wild that when let free in the
yard, his grooms had to jump up into the niches to keep from being trampled.
more haunting tale is that the famous Maire Rua roams along the front
avenue, near what is known as the Druids' altar.