Cloghaunsavaun Castle

Cloghansavaun Castle 1675 Survey
Clare Library
Site of Cloghaunsavaun Castle
Curtesy of Heritage Maps
Site of Cloghaunsavaun Castle

This castle or townhouse stood in the town land of that name, north east of the famous “Bridges of Ross”. The Irish name comes from Clochan Samhain – The Peaceful Stone Hamlet. It was built guarding access to a headland or peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic and was on the site of an earlier Promontory Fort.

In the O’Brien rental 1390 it was named Cluain Sumain and paid eight pence and an unge (ounce) of gold as head rent to O’Brien , Prince of Thomand . It was built in the late 15th Century by the MacMahons of West Corca Bhaiscin. In Elizabethan Maps between 1570-90 it is named as Dunsamayn and Donesavan. It was held by Turlough MacMahon in 1582 and passed into the possession of the Viscounts Clare when the MacMahon lands were confiscated. Westropp stated the lands and castle were assigned to Daniel O’Brien , 1st Viscount, by letters patent 27th November 1622. In a survey carried out in 1675 (Edenvale) it was a tall battlemented peel tower, three or four stories high with a window slit in each storey.

Mason wrote in 1816 that tradition says that “it was once used for the dreadful purpose of decoying ships to this iron bound coast”. If you look at its position on the map it would have been perfect to decoy ships on to the cliffs.

The castle met its end in 1755 at the time of the great earthquake and tidal wave which destroyed Lisbon and what was left was blown down in a storm in 1802.  By 1836 a visitor to the area noted that “most of the stones have been taken to build cottages”. In 1839 O’Curry in his Ordinance Survey letters noted that hardly a stone remained and without knowing the exact site it would be hard to point out the remains of this ancient castle

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