Clifden Castle

Caisleán an Chlocháin

Clifden Castle

Caisleán an Chlocháin

Set in the stunning Connemara scenery, the ruins of Clifden Castle are an evocative reminder of the ambitious d’Arcy family.

Clifden Castle was constructed in around 1818 in the gothic-revival architectural style for John d’Arcy. He was a wealthy magnate who founded the nearby town of Clifden with the ambition to create a centre of commerce and industry in this rural and impoverished region in Connemara. He managed to acquire the services of the famous engineer Alexander Nimmo, who was sent to the area in 1822. Nimmo constructed a quay at Clifden, and a road to Galway, thus connecting the new town to the outside world. Thanks to the vision of d’Arcy and the expertise of Nimmo, Clifden began to flourish. By the time d’Arcy died in 1839, Clifden had expanded from nothing to a prosperous town with a population of more than 1,000. Today Clifden is a vibrant place that is increasingly popular with tourists. The name for the town itself derives from from the Irish An Clochán – meaning stepping-stones, a fitting name for a town that is so often used as a stepping stone by tourists eager to explore the stunning Connemara region!

Later History of Clidfden Castle 

Unfortunately for the d’Arcy family, John d’Arcy’s son and heir, Hyacinth, is said to have lacked his father’s vision and drive. He also had many confrontations with his tenants. Hyacinth led the family into bankruptcy in the hard years of the Great Famine of the middle of the 19th century, and both the castle and the town were sold to the Eyre family from Bath in England, and it is their crest that is depicted above the entrance. In the early 20th century, the lands of the castle were acquired by the state and redistributed amongst the tenantry. With no owner, the castle soon fell into disrepair, and many of its fixtures, fittings and useful building materials were stripped, quarried and recycled away for use elsewhere. Today the castle is a roofless ruin, and an evocative reminder of the wealth and ambition of John d’Arcy.

Visiting Clifden Castle – Information

No Visitor Centre
Partial Wheelchair Access
Orange Icon showing there are some family friendly facilities at the site

Coordinates: Lat. 53.491786, Long. -10.056739
Grid Reference: L 63543 51031
Opening Times:  Open all year round.
Nearest Town: Clifden (2km).
Entry Fee: Free.