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Shanmuckinish Castle
 

County

Clare

Coordinates

N 53° 08' 20.22"   W 009° 06' 08.76"

Nearest town

Ballyvaughan

Grid Ref.

M 26238 10394

Map No.

51

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

10

Date of visit

Wednesday 12 June 2019

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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Looking at the derelict tower house from the south.


This castle can be seen down a lane that departs on the north side of the N67 to Ballyvaughan.

It was built in the 15th century along with another castle with the same name (Muckinish), but the prefix Shan- (from the Irish Sean) indicates that this one was built first. There is no information about who built the castle, but we know that the MacNamara family lived in it after they were expelled from Dromoland Castle in Newmarket-on-Fergus in 1654.
Shanmuckinish Castle was inhabited till the end of the 19th century during which the building and the bawn wall were repaired.

From the road this tower house might look like a nice tall building, but when one gets closer to it, the tower house reveals to be half collapsed. The only intact part of the tower is the one facing to the southeast (150°), and this shows four slit windows on the central floors, and a large square and mullioned window on the last floor. The base of the tower is battered and on the southeast side there's a small opening, probably a window for the cellar.
The roof level has a machicolation on the entire northeast side, and only a smaller machicolation in the centre of the southeast side.
Walking around the tower house to the opposite side, the situation is totally different. The structure has collapsed and reveals the internal arrangement of chambers, mural staircases and passages. The ruins and rubble have crumbled down to the sea.
Some photos of the beginning of the 20th century show a castle that look like the same as today, so it's likely that it collapsed between 1900 and 1910.

The tower house is about 22 metres tall, and measures 9 metres by 8 metres at the base.

The building has been recently fenced, so any close access or internal visit were impossible.


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