Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Castle of Clifden

Hello, again! I hope you all had a lovely Easter Weekend, and enjoyed
scrumptious treats from the Easter Bunny. As I mentioned in the last
post, David and I made plans to go out of town, since he had a four
day weekend off from work. I originally thought we were going to be
staying in Galway, which is on the west coast of Ireland and one of the
larger cities in the country. So, I anticipated site seeing, exploring the
town and going to different places for dinners and what not. As it turns
out, the place where we decided to stay was about 50 miles from

Galway in a small town called Clifton. And I'm so glad we went there.
It was almost as if our weekend was immediately planned for us upon
arrival, but we didn't fully realize it until we were half way through.
There could not have been anything more perfect about it!

We did go on one or two site seeing adventures...By foot, of course!
That truly is the best way to see this country. Welcome to the
Castle of Clifden.
First, a brief history of the castle, and then there are plenty of pictures
taken from closer up to show you it's details.


Clifden Castle was built by John D'Arcy (1785-1839) in a Gothic Revival
style. The town of Clifden is surprisingly young, founded by John in 1812,
around the same time that he built his castle. "He was married twice
and had fourteen children in all, leaving one to assume that this was a
very full
and noisy family home," said www.all-ireland.com.


The website continues with the story of the castles history...
"Following John's death in 1839, the castle and town passed to his
son, Hyacinth. Like so many landlords in the West of Ireland,
Hyacinth became bankrupt as a result of debts incurred during the
Great Famine and in 1850 the town and castle went on sale.



"The new owners, the Eyre family from Bath in England, purchased the
town and castle for £21,245. The Eyre's lived at the castle until the
1920s when the lands were eventually purchased by the government
and divided out among the tenants. Sadly, the castle had no outright
owner and, in time, was stripped bare of its slates and timbers and
eventually
fell to ruin."


I took this picture from the website I referred to earlier. We walked
past this on the way to the castle, not sure if it was part of it or not.

Turns out, it was. So, I wanted to include it. Knowing where it is in
proximity to the castle made me see just how big these grounds are!



The scenery around Clifden is extraordinary. (I borrowed this picture
as well.) Clifden's striking skyline is dominated by the spires of
the Neo-Gothic Catholic Church and nearby Protestant church. The
Twelve Bens (the mountains behind) provide a backdrop to the town.



The castle ruins also overlook the Atlanitc Ocean. When we were
standing there overlooking the water, a little part of me wanted to jump
in and swim to the states! Knowing that I was on the edge of land,
with nothing but 'the pond' between me and home made me smile.


Thank you for your attention, class. That ends today's history lesson!
Following are those close up pictures I mentioned before so you can
witness the detail for yourself. Here, you'll see the determination of
plant life as a seed was dispersed to this window sill and it found the
might to grow right here in rock...No soil necessary! Amazing.







I only took three of the photos you've seen so far. David took all the
rest from this post. He was having fun playing with the camera, and I
think he got some fantastic shots! Here, he climbed past the castle
walls, ignoring the signs that said, "DANGER. STAY OUT!". That's
my boy! Inside the wall and just to the right was a small ledge that
he angled himself onto to get this picture and the one that follows.









And here you have a view from the back of the castle.


The path that ran behind the castle lead to what we presumed to be
places for wood storage, animal stalls (which I think is what you're
seeing here), and housing for the help (in the photograph that follows).


And that, my friends, is the Castle of Clifden. I hope you enjoyed the
tour. I'll post a few more details about the weekend along with a couple
pictures in a moment. Until then, cheerio!

2 comments:

Melissa Freeman said...

Wow, Sam. You are so fortunate & blessed to be living in such a beautiful country! This castle is breathtaking in photos, being there in person must have been amazing. Thanks for the lesson - I'm learning so much!

Lindsay Teague said...

um...hello picturesque white steed in front of the castle. Were you tempted to get on him and storm the front gates? This place is absolutely breathtaking. I bet you guys got BUSY here! How could you not? Love it!

lindsay