Derryhivenny Castle was built in 1643 by Daniel O’Madden, a member of the powerful O’Madden clan that ruled the lands around Derryhivenny from around the year 950 to the middle of the 17th century. The castle showcases some of the features of the late Jacobean style, such as the diagonally disposed chimney-stacks and the mullioned windows.
A tower house is a type of fortified residence that was common in Ireland from the early 15th to the 17th centuries. Tower houses were usually built by the local lords or chieftains as a symbol of their status and power, as well as a defense against raids and invasions. Tower houses typically had four or five storeys, with a single room on each floor. The ground floor was used for storage, while the upper floors were used for living quarters, with fireplaces, windows and latrines. The top floor often had a wall walk and crenellations for defense. Tower houses were usually surrounded by a bawn, a walled enclosure that contained other buildings such as stables, barns and cottages.
At Derryhivenny Castle, the date of building is known from an inscription on one of its bartizan corbels: **D:O’M ME:FIERI:FECIT 1643** (Daniel O’Madden made me in 1643). The castle is well preserved and still retains most of its original features, such as the vaults on all four storeys, the fireplaces, the windows and the chimney-stacks. It is located in a scenic and peaceful area, on the west bank of the Shannon river, near Portumna. The castle offers a stunning view of the surrounding countryside and the water.
Derryhivenny Castle is open to the public and free to visit. However, it is not easily accessible and requires walking across private farmland, so the landowner’s permission should be sought in advance. Derryhivenny Castle is a testament to the rich and turbulent history of Ireland, as well as a beautiful example of architecture and craftsmanship. If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure in Ireland, you should definitely visit Derryhivenny Castle!
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