If you are looking for a unique and memorable stay in Galway, you might want to consider Castlehacket House, a historic manor house that dates back to the 18th century. Castlehacket House is located in Belclare, a rural village in the heart of County Galway, surrounded by scenic landscapes and rich heritage.
Castlehacket House was built in 1703 by John Kirwan, who was the Lord Mayor of Galway at the time. He was a descendant of the Kirwan family, one of the Tribes of Galway, who were a group of merchant families that dominated the political, commercial and social life of the city from the 13th to the 19th century.
The Kirwan family acquired the lands of Castlehacket through marriage with the Hackett family, who were Anglo-Norman settlers that built a 13th century tower house at the foot of Knockma Hill. The tower house, also known as Hackett Castle or Castlehackett, still stands today and is a protected structure.
The Kirwan family decided to build a new residence on their estate, and chose a site near a lake that had a natural spring. They named their new house Castlehacket, after their ancestral castle. The house was designed in a Georgian style, with three stories and seven bays. It had a symmetrical facade, with a central door and window above it, flanked by three windows on each side. The roof was hipped, with chimneys at each end. The interior featured spacious rooms, high ceilings, ornate fireplaces and a library.
The Kirwan family played an important role in the social and economic development of Galway. They were known for their generosity and kindness, especially during the Famine, when they provided food and relief to their tenants. They were also instrumental in bringing the railway line to Tuam, which boosted trade and transport in the region.
One of the most notable members of the Kirwan family was Denis Bernard-Kirwan, who became a Lieutenant-General in the British Army and was appointed as the Governor of Bermuda before the Second World War. He was known as “The General” and he returned to live in Castlehacket House after his retirement.
However, Castlehacket House also witnessed some tragic and turbulent events in its history. In 1923, during the Irish Civil War, the original house was burned down by the IRA, who blew off the roof with explosives. The General received 30,000 pounds from the British government to rebuild the house, and he returned 1,000 pounds after completing the reconstruction in 1929.
The Kirwan family’s ownership of Castlehacket House ended in 1985, when Percy Paley, the last heir of the family, died. The house changed hands twice since then, until it was purchased by Joyce McDonagh in 2016. She restored and renovated the house with care and respect for its heritage, and opened it as a bed and breakfast for visitors who want to experience a slice of history in a cozy and elegant setting.
Castlehacket House offers a range of accommodation options for guests who want to enjoy its historic charm and natural beauty. You can choose from double rooms, apartments or a dormitory room that can sleep up to six people. All rooms have private bathrooms with showers and hairdryers, and some have views of the lake or the garden. You can also enjoy free WiFi throughout the property.
One of the highlights of staying at Castlehacket House is the delicious breakfast that is served every morning. You can choose from a full Irish breakfast or a continental breakfast, both made with fresh ingredients from local farms and gardens. You can also enjoy homemade breads, jams and cakes, as well as special dishes like berry bliss porridge or smoked salmon omelette.
Castlehacket House is not only a historic building, but also a cultural and artistic hub. It has been used as a filming location for several movies and TV shows, such as “Foreign Exchange”, a teen drama series. It also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, such as art exhibitions, yoga retreats, and more.
If you are interested in staying at Castlehacket House or learning more about its history, you can find out more information on their website. You will surely enjoy your time at this historic gem in Galway.
CastleHackett House B&B
Beautiful manor house! Quiet and elegant place to spend a night, a week, or longer holiday. A delight place of arts and history, make this a memorable experience Ali g with a full Irish Breakfast!
The owners is a gifted chef and a delightful hostess. We very highly recommend this exceptional lodging experience.
Brian C. Donnachie