Doonagore Castle is a superb 16th century Irish castle, located on the oceanfront in County Clare, less than a kilometre from the village of Doolin. Although forbidden to the public (the castle has been converted into a private holiday home), Doonagore Castle is still worth seeing from the outside: its round tower and defensive walls are of authentic charm!
Before Doonagore Castle existed, there was already a first castle, built in the 13th century. The present castle only dates back to the 16th century, and was commissioned by Turlough O’Brien of Ennistymon in 1582, who wanted to have a castle on the Irish coast, to better monitor the comings and goings of ships on the Atlantic.
In 1588, Spain tried to invade England… in vain… While Spain was in full retreat, a Spanish ship of the Invicible Armada is said to have been wrecked on the Irish coast, not far from the castle.
More than 170 survivors were taken prisoner by the High Sheriff of County Clare, Boetius MacClancy, who ordered them hanged at Doonagore Castle… Their bodies were then buried in the burial mound of Cnocán an Crochaire, not far from Doolin..
In the course of history, Doonagore Castle was restored at the beginning of the 19th century and in 1970, by the architect Rex MacGovern, for a private American buyer, Mr. O’Gorman, who acquired the castle . The O’Gorman family still owns the castle today, and uses it as a second home… (His visit is therefore forbidden to the public).
Although visits to the halls and other rooms inside the castle are not allowed, it is possible to admire the castle from the outside . It is located on a small hill by the water and has a small defensive wall, protecting the main tower of the castle.
The castle of Doonagore is often nicknamed “the fort of the rounded hills” or “the fort of the goats” (“Le Fort des collines arrondies”, or “Le Fort des Chèvres”), due to its geographical location, and to the high influx of goats in this area .