Leamaneh Castle is a ruined Irish castle located between the villages of Corofin and Kilfenora, in the heart of the Burren National Park (Co. Clare). Built around 1480, this stately home is still standing, despite the collapse of its roof. Very interesting, the structure was originally a 15th century tower house, and then transformed into a 15th century manor house. Located on a private domain, the site is rather confidential but well worth a stop.
Leamaneh Castle was originally a simple 5-storey Irish tower house, built around 1480-90. Its original owner was Toirdhealbhach Donn Ó Briain of the O’Brien family, one of the last High Kings of Ireland and a direct descendant of Brian Boru.
The castle will gradually pass through the hands of different generations of the family… without any major event occurring.
But in 1639, everything changed. One of the family’s descendants, Conor O’Brien, decided to marry Máire ní Mahon (MacMahon), a widow who had inherited a colossal fortune from her first marriage. This wealth, then, allows them to build a more comfortable mansion from the original tower house.
In order to do so, part of the original building was demolished and replaced by a four-story manor house in 1648. The whole is more solid and luxurious, with larger and better designed rooms.
Unfortunately, her husband Conor O’Brien died in 1651, after having participated in a raid against the English settlers at Inchicronan. His widow quickly feared that the English would confiscate the castle in retaliation. She therefore offered to marry a Cromwellian officer, Cornet John Cooper, who allowed her to keep Leamaneh Castle.
In the 1660s, Oliver Cromwell’s troops used to station themselves in the castle. They appreciated its strength and strategic location.
However, the castle was abandoned by the son of Máire ní Mahon in 1686. He found the manor increasingly dilapidated, almost abandoned. The tower and the manor are in a sorry state, and he prefers to move the family seat to the castle of Dromoland, in Newmarket-On-Fergus, south of Ennis.
The castle fell into disrepair in the 18th century. The barbican gates that adorned the entrance to the property were moved to Dromoland Castle in 1906 or 1908 by Lord Inchiquin. They are still there.
Nowadays, Leamaneh Castle is abandoned. It has remained as it is since the 18th century. The ruins have not moved since: the manor still stands with its 4 walls, and its multiple mullioned windows. The vegetation has grown a bit, but the facade remains clean.
One can still distinguish the vestiges of the old outbuildings, as well as the old garden which stood there.
The site has a serious charm and is worth a visit, but remains difficult to approach. It must be said that the castle is located on a private land, essentially used for agriculture. It is therefore difficult to park, but a road runs alongside the building, which makes it possible to admire it without using the land, by parking on the side of the road.