Gaelic Castle

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Sleeps: 4 - 8 Bedrooms: 6 Bathrooms: 3
Oliver Approved

Overview

Chateaux & Castles
Heritage Collection
Beach Nearby

*EARLY BIRD 2023*

Book a 2023 villa holiday by 28th February and receive:

  • A welcome hamper on arrival
  • Up to £100 private chef voucher
  • Trees planted to offset 110% of your villa stay

Ts&Cs apply.

Situated in the enchanting green landscape of County Clare is this authentic 15th century Gaelic Castle/or tower house. The castle is 500 years old and has a perfect mix of medieval aesthetics and modern amenities such as underfloor heating facilitating a holiday which is homely as well as providing participation in a medieval experience.

It is a castle with a benevolent and kind personality that enjoys gatherings, which reflects its original use in the 15th Century. The castle accommodates up to 8 guests in 6 bedrooms with Irish linen sheets and pillow cases and authentic woollen blankets from Co. Tipperary to keep warm and cosy. There are three bathrooms floored with Liscannor stone flags and with polished brass sinks.

The top floor of the 6-storey castle is the Great Hall, which preserves the grand atmosphere of the Irish Middle Ages. Many of the floors in the Castle are of Liscannor stone, which is a rare, and beautiful hardwearing limestone from close by.

The ceilings of the castle contain traces of the hazel branches that were used to hold plaster in the 15th century and are marked with the imprints of branches which make it a lovely decorate feature.

The castle has underfloor heating throughout. The thick limestone walls help to keep the heat in the tower. The surrounding Burren limestone provides a similar experience for the cattle that are sent to graze in the winter months.

Outside, the bawn or outer wall naturally decorates itself with small ferns and flowers that grow and self-seed in the crevices of the limestone. These include pennywort, lichens and ivy that act as the perfect refuge for small birds.

The Castle has a stream closeby that forms a boundary. From on top the view is of several  lakes along with breath-taking countryside views of the shelves of sloping limestone of the Clare hills that were deposited by glaciers up to the last ice age 10,000 years ago.

The closest beach to the castle is at beautiful Lahinch Beach. This provides a perfect location for surfing on the Atlantic waves and is close to where you can catch a ferry to see the beautiful Aran Islands of the coast of Ireland.

Oliver Approved

What you should know…

  • The only entrance to the rooms is up the beautiful spiral staircase, however, this can be a problem for small children or people with walking difficulties. The castle works well for families with children from 8 years and older.
  • Guests are advised to try to shower at different times to conserve the hot water supply.
  • Please note: Guest must arrive promptly at 4.00 pm, late arrivals will not be admitted into the property.

Property Features

Working Fireplace Heating Waterfront

The Gaelic Castle contains 6 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. The castle can comfortably accommodate between 4 and 8 guests.

Ground Floor
Arriving at the castle you enter into a splendid kitchen and sitting room. The room boast a welcoming fireplace, stone coffee table, well stocked bookshelves and a turf burning stove. There is plenty of good  quality local crockery.

The fridge freeze, dishwasher and large 6 burning gas ranges for cooking are the 21st century contributions to relaxed rustic living.

There is a cloakroom and toilet located on the ground floor.

Second Floor
There is large bedroom with a double bed. Each of the six bedrooms has been lovingly furnished retaining plenty of the castle charm, using fabrics in keeping with its late 15th century medieval heyday. Linen sheets and pillowcases and wool blankets from Co Tipperary complete the attractive dressing of the beds.

All the furnishings have been carefully selected by experts to reflect late medieval Ireland, a time of hospitality, song and poetry in a Gaelic castle. To this end the best craftsmanship is used throughout the castle to help sympathetically bring it back to life the 500 year old castle. 

Located just above the bedroom in the original garderobe space is a shower room with WC and sink.

Third Floor
From the entrance stone spiral steps lead up to the rooms. At the top of the castle tower is the impressive Great Hall with exposed oak roof trusses. The room is centred around a lovely open fireplace, with large couches and a table for dining.

There is a second kitchen with a dishwasher, fridge and electric cooker that serves the Great Hall.

Other Floors
Leading off from the other side of the staircase are 4 additional bedrooms. Each located on separate floors in the original bed chamber space.  Two bedrooms have double beds and two offer pairs of single beds.

***Please note the curving late medieval stone staircase may not suit small children or those with a walking disability. Along with the guests WC on the ground floor level there are 2 bathrooms, with shower and toilet, soap etc. 2 towels are allocated to each guest, while the water supply will cope with several showers at a time, guests may need to stagger the times of ablutions ***

Location

About the surrounding area of Gaelic Castle
Beach Nearby <1hr to Airport Outstanding Landscapes Outdoor Pursuit & Activities Tourist Towns & Villages
Loading map

The fifteenth century Gaelic castle of Ballyportry is situated in an area that is rich in heritage, and close to the Wild Atlantic Way. Very few Gaelic castles survive so relatively intact from the late Middle Ages in Ireland.

We encourage visitors to explore hills guarded by cairns, court tombs, and wedge tombs of about 5000 years ago, as well as valleys strewn with ring forts and stone cashels, tower houses and roofless medieval churches. The cartographer Tim Robinson made a map of the Burren some years ago showing every field and boundary wall.  The stone walls are beautiful in themselves, built with skill to keep animals enclosed. Recently many of the ‘green’ roads that were overgrown have been cleared of invasive hazel bushes to make accessible walk ways again.

Visitors come to the Burren to walk and appreciate the flowers and the limestone landscape. They enjoy exploring the paths and ‘green’ roads in a landscape that is shaped by Atlantic winds and nourished by the warm current of the Gulf Stream as it pushes up the Atlantic coast of Clare.

There are at least 25 Burren plants that are really special because of their rarity. Among them the spring gentian is known for its abundance in sheltered spots of the Burren. The mountain avens spread across the limestone pavements on the higher slopes. The hoary rock rose pushes between the crevices to produce an elegant and simple creamy flower. It is a pleasure to walk the rocky slopes and count the varieties of different flowering plants no matter how limited your knowledge of plant names might be. The poet Michael Longley describes the Burren flowers in his poem ‘The Ice Cream Man’

At night the gate of the bawn wall of the castle frames the moon as it rises over the distinctive shelving outline of the Clare hills and nearby Mullaghmore.  A ten minute drive in a car will bring you to its slopes and the lovely Gealáin lake and a series of walks around on the signed ways, and to the National Park of the Burren. 

Another drive might be to Cathair Chomain, a stone cliff fort of the early historic period that was in use until about the year 1200 AD. This is about 20 minutes from Ballyportry by car, an expedition that children always enjoy, stick in hand as they climb to the fort through small fertile valleys visited also by grazing cattle.

In the Burren the cattle ascend to graze the uplands in winter. The situation of Ballyportry is unique and we hesitate to suggest sports activities. In preference we make the suggestions of trips to look at the archaeology, landscape and views of the Atlantic across to the Aran Islands.

There are well known golf links at Lahinch, surfing schools along the coastline of the Atlantic at Fanore and Lahinch. For a full day’s outing take a boat trip from Liscannor to look at the wealth of bird life on the famous Cliffs of Moher and on out to the Aran Islands that once formed a kingdom with the Burren.

Few Gaelic castles survived intact in the years following the sixteenth/seventeenth wars in Ireland after which the Gaelic aristocracy left for the Continent.  Ballyportry castle is the finest and most authentic habitable tower house in the south or west of Ireland, possibly in the whole country. It’s builders, the O’Briens held most of the territory of Clare in the fifteenth Century.
 
The Gaelic Castle was one of a series of castles and churches built by the ’Briens, Gaelic aristocrats of the middle ages. In Gaelic Ireland this was a time of culture, intrigue, aristocracy and poetry. The late fifteenth century Gaelic chiefs would have lived lives of privilege, culture, politics and warfare. It was a time of shifting political alliances.

Local Amenities
Nearest Airport Shannon Airport

(40 km )

Nearest Ferry Port Dublin Ferry Port

(241 km)

Nearest Village Corofin

(2 km)

Nearest Town/City Ennis

(15 km)

Nearest Beach Lahinch Beach

(24 km)

Nearest Golf Ennis Golf Club

(16 km)

Nearest Train Station Ennis Train Station

(17 km)

Nearest Supermarket Ennistimon

(7.9 km)

Nearest Tennis Ennis Lawn Tennis & Badminton Club

(15 km)

Kids

Best Suited For: Teens
Ideal for Teens

The 15th century Gaelic Castle is the ideal residents from which you can inspire and engage teenagers into the rich and magical Irish history of Co Clare.

Kids Activities Close-by

  • Beach Nearby
  • <1hr to Airport
  • Outdoor Pursuit & Activities
  • Tourist Towns & Villages

Onsite Facilities

  • Board games
  • Waterfront

Services Available

  • Chef/Cook Available

Extras

Oliver's Extras

  • Chef/Cook Available
  • Basic condiments, tea and coffee are supplied

At Oliver’s Travels we pride ourselves on going that little bit further for our guests. From private chefs to travel services we can help you arrange those little extras that make it a truly memorable holiday. Simply fill in the concierge request form or contact the Oliver’s Concierge Team who will be happy to help.

At The Gaelic Castle the hostess and guide for the castle Tanya will advice you about everything to do with the castle during your stay. In the same way that being on a boast is different from being on dry land we ask you to realise that this is a very different dwelling from a 21st century house.

At The Gaelic Castle the hostess and guide for the castle, Tanya, will advice you about everything to do during your stay. In the same way that being on a boat is different from being on dry land we ask you to appreciate that this is a different dwelling from a 21st century house.

Tanya will prepare a delicious 3 course dinner with local produce on your first night costing £30 p/p. This is essential part of the experience of the castle and needs to be booked in advance of your visit.

Other services we can typically help you arrange include any of the following:
- Private chef/cook/catering to be arranged.
- Welcome hamper/pre-stocked fridge
- Local day-trips or tours


Please note that all extras are subject to availability and must be requested in advance of the holiday (prices on request). Due to some rural/remote locations, not all services will be available at all properties. However, we will always do our best to fulfil your requests!

Oliver's Travels Chef Service: A Gourmet Dining Experience
Make hosting a memorable dinner party at your villa an absolute breeze with our superb Chef Service. Our chefs will take care of everything for you from start to finish so you can just sit back and enjoy the gastronomic experience. They will bring all the necessary ingredients, cook and serve the food and even clean up afterwards. To find out more visit www.oliverstravels.com/chefs

Terms & Conditions

***Please note the wonderful curving late medieval stone staircase may not suit small children or those with a walking disability. Along with the guests WC on the ground floor level there are 2 bathrooms, with soap etc. 2 towels are allicated to each guest, while the water supply will cope with several showers at a time, guests may need to stagger the times of ablutions ***

Additional Terms
- Please note: Guest must arrive promptly at 4.00 pm, late arrivals will not be admitted into the property.
- There is No Wi-fi access at the Castle.  The walls are made of stone which is 5’ thick at the base with stone layers that are similar. It would be difficult to get a signal. We suggest that guests can use a device with a satellite connection and that guests would visit the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis if they have a need for a lengthy use of Wifi.
- There is no TV at the castle
- The castle is constructed of limestone and is around 500 years old. It can therefore at time be dusty. The castle is always full cleaned by two people before guests arrive in accordance with the conservation principles. All the floors are washed down and swept and vacuumed. It is always the same two people who do the work for a number of years and they know the castle very well and in all weathers and times of the year.
- The owner kindly request you to be good guardians of the catle and to respect and take care of it during your stay.
- Tanya will prepare a delicious 3 course dinner on guests first night stay for costing £30 p/p. This is a mandatory requirement for all guests staying at the castle.
- Only 8 guests are permitted to stay at the castle. The names of each guest must be submitted the time of booking.
- All meals that are cooked are served by Tanya are prepared ans served downstairs. However if you do wish to enjoy a gala dinner upstairs in the Great Hall prepared by Tanya, the guests are required to bring the meal up from the downstairs kitchen.
- No furniture is to be moved between rooms.
- Extra furniture cannot be brought in without the owner's permission prior to arrival.
- There is no running in the castle due to the stone floors the surface can be slippery. There are plenty of board games to play and books to enjoy instead.

These terms and conditions may be amended from time to time.

Security deposit €1000 paid directly to the owner 2 months prior to arrival. Any damages and all utility for heating, electricity and gas is charged by the meter, logs for the fire are measured by the bag and deducted from the security deposit. The Security deposit will be refunded within 4 week of departure.
Energy costs included? No these will be deducted from the security deposit
Arrival time Guest must arrive promptly at 4.00 pm, late arrivals will not be admitted into the property
Departure time 10.00 am
Linen & towels included? Linen bedsheets and irish woolen blankets are provided
Pets welcome? No dogs because the castle is surrounded by fields with grazing cattle and we have donkeys or horses on the land immediately around the castle. The farmers do not like visiting dogs.
End of stay cleaning included? Yes
Smoking Allowed? No
Minimum stay 3 day minimum stay. If you would like to stay for a shorter period a 3 day payment would still be required.

Rental Rates

Please note: All rates below are subject to 9% Gaelic Castle

Prices based on an occupancy of 4 people:

Rental period 3 Nights 4 Nights 5 Nights Weekly
Feb 1st 2023 - Jun 28th 2023 £2,845 £3,425 £4,006 £4,063
Jun 28th 2023 - Aug 26th 2023 £3,425 £4,105 £4,760 £4,760
Aug 26th 2023 - Dec 20th 2023 £2,845 £3,425 £4,006 £4,063
* Christmas + New Year £3,425 £4,105 £4,760 £4,760
Jan 3rd 2024 - Jan 5th 2024 £2,845 £3,425 £4,006 £4,063
Jan 5th 2024 - Jun 26th 2024 £2,845 £3,425 £4,006 £4,063
Jun 26th 2024 - Aug 4th 2024 £3,425 £4,105 £4,760 £4,760

Prices based on an occupancy of 4 people:

Rental period 3 Nights 4 Nights 5 Nights Weekly
Feb 1st 2023 - Jun 28th 2023 €3,027 €3,645 €4,263 €4,324
Jun 28th 2023 - Aug 26th 2023 €3,645 €4,368 €5,065 €5,065
Aug 26th 2023 - Dec 20th 2023 €3,027 €3,645 €4,263 €4,324
* Christmas + New Year €3,645 €4,368 €5,065 €5,065
Jan 3rd 2024 - Jan 5th 2024 €3,027 €3,645 €4,263 €4,324
Jan 5th 2024 - Jun 26th 2024 €3,027 €3,645 €4,263 €4,324
Jun 26th 2024 - Aug 4th 2024 €3,645 €4,368 €5,065 €5,065

Prices based on an occupancy of 4 people:

Rental period 3 Nights 4 Nights 5 Nights Weekly
Feb 1st 2023 - Jun 28th 2023 $3,288 $3,959 $4,630 $4,697
Jun 28th 2023 - Aug 26th 2023 $3,959 $4,745 $5,502 $5,502
Aug 26th 2023 - Dec 20th 2023 $3,288 $3,959 $4,630 $4,697
* Christmas + New Year $3,959 $4,745 $5,502 $5,502
Jan 3rd 2024 - Jan 5th 2024 $3,288 $3,959 $4,630 $4,697
Jan 5th 2024 - Jun 26th 2024 $3,288 $3,959 $4,630 $4,697
Jun 26th 2024 - Aug 4th 2024 $3,959 $4,745 $5,502 $5,502

Please note that these prices/rates are a guide only and may not be correct at the current date. For an accurate quote, please enquire.

Reviews

  • Nowhere quite like it!

    Posted by Marty on 10/10/2022

    Your ‘blast from the past’ experience here at Ballyportry was one of a kind and I don’t think there are many places left in the entire world like this. Add to that the gracious and warm Irish hospitality, the magic of the Burren, getting to spend time with Gordon and gobble down the feast prepared by Tanya, and just the gorgeous countryside- a few days that can never be forgotten. Many, Many thanks.

  • The birthday of dreams.

    Posted by Annie on 02/10/2022

    What a magical experience... one of the most memorable Birthday weekends of my life. Thankyou for EVERYTHING. Will return.

  • Stunning

    Posted by Sophie on 25/08/2022

    This has been a beautiful 24 hours that will linger long in my memory and give me the bounce and energy I need.

  • Memories that we will cherish forever.

    Posted by Elizabeth, Theresa and Christine on 19/08/2022

    3 Canadian ladies from Victoria, BC and from Edmonton and New Brunswick! A great time was had by all. We had a dance night in the Great Hall, a memory we will all cherish forever. Donkeys were treated very well to carrots and apples. Good food, great company and Good Times in the past. Thankyou.

  • Like a set of a medieval movie!

    Posted by The Loewens on 17/08/2022

    Thankyou for an amazing stay! It was almost surreal like staying on the set of a medieval movie. So awesome.And the food was also amazing. Our daughter named the donkeys Shadow and Smokey. She spent some time earning the dark one’s trust so that she could pet both. They followed her around a lot. It was adorable.

  • A stay to remember

    Posted by The Mc Call Family on 10/07/2022

    We had a magical stay here between the breathtaking views on the roof, the donkeys greeting us in the mornings and the fact that we were staying in a castle. My siblings and I especially love not sharing rooms. We made sure to spend a lot of time together, though, when we ended each day sitting by the fire reading, talking and playing games. Some places that we went to and recommend are Cliffs of Moher, Ennis, Galway, Doolin and many ruins we passed on the drives there. The house was wonderful. We spend only one of our 3 nights eating out so we could be here longer. Every day we would spend time with the donkeys who we named Wally (lighter one) and Matilda (darker one). Both were very sweet and would wait for at the fence. Overall, we wish we were able to stay more nights but we are now going to Cork. This was definitely a stay to remember.

  • A wonderful stay

    Posted by Anonymous on 07/07/2022

    Our group of college friends from the University of Illinois had a wonderful stay here. Such a unique experience in an absolutely lovely setting. So grateful for dear friends and time in this magical Irish place.


  • A brilliant family holiday

    Posted by Anonymous on 23/06/2022

    Our family had a magical time staying in the castle. We sang birthday songs, read toasts at wonderful meals, read by the fire, played cards, drank tea, imagined what life was like in the castle over time, and laughed together. We will always remember this week of making memories as a family.

  • Magical!

    Posted by Anonymous on 23/06/2022

    Our family had a magical time staying in the castle. We sang birthday songs, read toasts at wonderful meals, read by the fire, played cards, drank tea, imagined what life was like in the castle over time, and laughed together. We will always remember this week of making memories as a family.

  • The perfect place for birthday celebrations!

    Posted by Jennifer on 21/06/2022

    What a fit it has been to share this incredible home with our extended family. The hiking, local music, local kindness, delicious food and the inviting landscape have been all a delight.
    Visiting the donkeys was charming and we adventured for a swim in the little lake nearby. The two meals cooked by Tanya will be long remembered. We are moved and amazed by the local handmade appointments here, the linen, wool, sheepskin, down, wicker, craft pottery etc, It is very inspiring to be surrounded by simple and elegant household items. We tried to come 2020 to celebrate my mother’s 70th birthday but we got to share the 72nd instead.

  • Memories to last a lifetime!

    Posted by The Burket Family on 01/06/2022

    We have been looking forward to our stay here for more than 2 years. We kept thinking how grateful we are to finally be in this magical place. Our tiny family made memories to last a lifetime. We can’t thank you enough for sharing this wonderful place with us.


  • Gorgeous!

    Posted by Muffin on 26/05/2022

    A timely lovely day in a gorgeous environment. Lovely meditation and fabulous food.

  • A beautiful retreat!

    Posted by Eimer on 23/05/2022

    Oh what a beautiful retreat day, the yoga, the food, the hospitality. Cannot recommend highly enough. Thankyou both so much.

  • Great experience.

    Posted by Perry and Ramona on 20/05/2022

    We have been here for a week and have enjoyed our stay very much. We have been to Ireland 5 times and we love it here. We love the history, the castle, abbeys, all the rock walls.

  • This place has stolen our hearts!

    Posted by Denis and Mary on 13/05/2022

    A wonderful six day adventure at the tower! Ireland has stolen our hearts and this place was a large contribution! We loved our experience even though there was no ghost. Loved the donkeys and howling winds.
    Thankyou.

  • A magical place!

    Posted by The Algies on 22/04/2022

    We live in SoCal, flew to England where we got married and we spent a week here for our honeymoon. We couldn’t have chosen a more magical place to start our married life. With the castle so old, it makes one wonder what has taken place inside these walls over the years.
    Tanya greeted us with the most amazing meal; the bed was extremely comfy (thank you for the electric blanket!!) roaring fires keeping us warm, surrounded by the most amazing landscape.
    We definitely recommend a daytrip to The Cliffs of Moher- make sure that you stop by Doolin for fish and chips.
    See you again in the future.

  • A truly memorable experience!

    Posted by The Morse Family on 28/03/2022

    Three nights were not enough... but maybe just enough to leave us wanting? From the Cliffs, to the Burren, from Limerick to Galway... always amazing to come home to Ballyportry. We did not meet any ghosts, but we are pretty sure we had a dragon fly around the tower on the second night. 3 am in the morning. No Better explanation for the sound we heard circling the castle. Our children are ruined to stay in such a perfect legitimate castle on their first go. All else will pale. Thank you to Tanya, for an amazing warm welcome and two delicious meals. Thank you to Robert Brown for restoring this gem for future generations to appreciate.

  • A unique and special place!

    Posted by The Johnsons on 21/03/2022

    What a unique and special place this is. My family had a fantastic time exploring the castle and the surrounding towns. This made our holiday in Ireland even more memorable.

  • So much fun

    Created on 31/10/2021

    We had fun in our own castle. We played games, told stories and spent a lot of time as a family. We ventured to Loughrea, Balliasloe and our favourite, Ennis, What a great town! We visited the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands. We appreciated the warm greeting.We will always treasure our time here at Gaelic Castle, What a great job done in re-creating the Castle Much appreciated.

  • Dream come true!

    Posted by Karl on 21/06/2021

    Our stay at Ballyportry Castle has been a dream come true. We could imagine and almost feel the hundreds of years of history that took place within these walls while still enjoying the comforts of our current century. We were torn between the desire to see the amazing sites of the Burren and the urge to spend our time in the castle absorbing the historical ambiance.

  • A great New Years Eve!

    Posted by David on 01/01/2020

    We had a wonderful time in Gaelic castle in Ireland. Our group of eight stayed for seven nights and celebrated New Years Eve in the castle traditionally without fireworks. There is a lot of room and our favourite place was the kitchen as it was easiest to heat with less logs than the nice
    but big living room. Of course there are some spider webs here and there but you should expect this in a medieval castle. The bedrooms were tidy
    as well as the bathrooms. The view from the top is stunning in clear weather. Make sure to rent a car or bring your own, so you can explore a lot more of Ireland using the castle as a homebase. The
    contact Tanya was very friendly and she helped us out with everything we asked for. I would definitly recommend this castle to everyone!

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