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Visiting Leamaneh Castle in County Clare, Ireland

Leamaneh Castle, County Clare, Ireland

On the outskirts of the Burren in County Clare, Ireland, the ruins of Leamaneh Castle stands gloomily in the middle of private farm lands. The castle has been in ruins since the 18th century, so you can’t do more than admire from afar. Learn more about seeing Leamaneh Castle on your next trip to the Burren.

Leamaneh Castle History

The original tower house of Leamaneh Castle was built in the late 1400’s by Turlogh O’Brien, King of Thomond, one of the last of the High Kings of Ireland. The castle’s five-story tower house has narrow arrow slit openings, small chambers, and a spiral stairwell.

In the 1640’s, the O’Brien family built a four-story manor house as their living. The fell into ruin by the 18th century, and parts of the building were even relocated to other castles and great estates.

Leamaneh Castle, County Clare, Ireland

Red Mary

Máire Rua MacMahon, or Red Mary, had a personality as fiery as her red hair and a bad temper. She would hang servants who displeased her out of the windows, and she would encourage visitors to ride her wild stallion that would send them to their deaths over the edge of the Cliffs of Moher.

Red Mary even accompanied her husband on raids against English settlers. She and her husband were very much against Oliver Cromwell’s reign of terror in Ireland, but after her husband’s death in a rebellion against the English, Red Mary realized that their punishment for rebellion would be to lose her estate. She then married a Cromwellian soldier, thus keeping her castle.

There are many stories about Red Mary that she has become part of Irish folklore. Some even say that, once her soldier died, she went on to marry 25 more men. Depending on what story you believe, she either divorced them or she killed them and moved on to the next man.

Whatever the tale, Red Mary had a heavy hand in shaping the history of the castle.

Visiting Leamaneh Castle

Most bus tours of the Burren, the vast rocky landscape that covers the southern region of County Clare, will stop here for a quick minute to allow you a photo opportunity. There is a small pull off on the side of the road where you can stop to take pictures.

Since the castle is privately owned, you aren’t allowed to go in it; you’ll have to be content with admiring from afar. But that also means that it’s free to see!

Castle Count: 11

For another great castle to visit in County Clare, check out Bunratty Castle.

Ready to visit Leamaneh Castle in County Clare, Ireland? Plan your trip with these tips.



Visiting Leamaneh Castle in County Clare, Ireland

Have you visited Leamaneh Castle in County Clare, Ireland? Tell me about your trip in the comments!

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