Smiths Castle

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Sleeps: 8 Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 2
Oliver Approved


Wedding Venue Chateaux & Castles Quirky Great Value
Heritage Collection
Beach Nearby Romantic

COVID-19 Update: Change of Dates

Should Coronavirus related travel restrictions mean your villa holiday cannot go ahead then simply request a change of dates. Read full T&Cs here

Step back in time at Smiths Castle, a 15th century Irish castle renovated for modern holidays. Here, you can find peace and quiet on almost 5 acres of mature grounds overlooking a river valley but travel easily to all that County Clare’s west coast has to offer.

Just a few miles away, you can walk the longest sand beaches in Ireland, marvel at the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, take a ferry to the rugged Aran Islands or play golf at two championship courses. Spend a day at the Lisdoonvarna spa, and make sure to explore the unique Burren landscape. Its “fertile rock,” limestone, hosts rare flora and fauna as well as prehistoric monuments.

After your explorations, gather for a candlelit dinner in the large banqueting hall with a 17th century carved wooden table. With 3 cosy double bedrooms and romantic sleeping for two in the minstrels gallery overlooking the great hall, the castle sleeps 8. You’ll find antique furniture in every room, but updated bathrooms and kitchen.

This Irish castle is 45 minutes from Shannon Airport and near the N67 and N85 roadways, 2.5 miles from Kilfenora. 

Oliver Approved

What you should know…

  • Attractions and entertainment are a drive away, so a car is essential
  • The characteristic features of a medieval castle, like the stone spiral staircase, make it unsuitable for the disabled, elderly and young children
  • Please note that there are no TV's at the property due to the poor signal - ideal for those in search of a digital detox!

This home is a part of our Great Value and Heritage Collection!

This is a historic home, and as such:

  • It has probably been standing for over 100 years, which means it's full of historic value and charm but it may also have one or two quirks!
  • Some of the decor and furnishings may not be brand new, but that should not detract from your holiday experience in this unique setting that allows you to take a step back in time!

Property Features

Working Fireplace Heating Waterfront

- Great Hall
- Fully-equipped kitchen
- Minsterels gallery overlooking the Great Hall with mezzanine sleeping area for 2
- Bedroom with double bed
- Bedroom with double bed
- Bedroom with double bed
- Family bathroom
- Two family shower rooms

Exterior Grounds
- Large grounds

Additional Facilities
- Dishwasher
- Washing machine & dryer
- Parking


About the surrounding area of Smiths Castle
Beach Nearby Rural Location Walking/Hiking Paths Golf Nearby Fishing Outstanding Landscapes Outdoor Pursuit & Activities Tourist Towns & Villages
Loading map

There are hundreds of things to see and do in the neighbourhood, from experiencing the countryside to one of the many cultural events or extensive sports facilities.

County Clare is a land of ancient castles, prehistoric cliffs and diverse landscapes, of uncrowded byways and fascinating sightseeing, from quiet lakes to vast, sandy beaches and the eerie landscape of 'The Burren'. The wild Atlantic coast line offers a wealth of exciting and diverse adventures.

Lahinch (6 miles): This lovely seaside resort has a lot to offer. Stretching around one of the longest sand beaches in Ireland, it also has a fantastic Seaworld Aquarium and leisure centre with swimming pool and two championship golf courses.

Cliffs of Moher (6 miles): Some call it the largest tourist attraction in Europe. Rising 650ft out of the Atlantic Ocean and extending for 5 miles, the sheer rock face of the Cliffs is an awesome sight.

Doolin (6 miles): The mecca for Irish music, pubs and celtic craft is Doolin. The three Aran Islands lie in the entrance to the Galway Bay and can be reached by ferry. 
Kilfenora (2.5 miles): The smallest diocesan of Ireland with its cathedral and famous highcrosses. Nearby, Lickeen Lake is an insider tip for every passionate freshwater angler. The Burren Exhibition Centre has a fabulous display, and guests should not miss the traditional Irish Dancing at Vaughan's Barm.

Liscannor (6 miles): Famous among deep-sea anglers, step on board one of the boats and explore the waters of Galway Bay. Visitors may see blue sharks, basking whales, dolphins or even killer whales.    

Lisdoonvarna (3 miles): Founded at the discovery of its sulphur, iron and magnesium rich spa wells, this town is home to welcoming restaurants and some excellent traditional pubs. Guests can treat themselves to a sulphur bath, have a massage, wax treatment or sauna in old-fashioned Victorian surroundings. Don't miss the unsurpassed taste of the world famous salmon from the Burren Smoke House.

Within 10 miles, there are also many sports facilities including pony trekking, surfing, diving, abseiling, caving, pitch and putt, cycling, tennis, and of course hundreds of miles of scenic walking routes.

Shannon Airport is about 45 minutes by car. The castle is 2.5 miles from the nearest town.

The History of Smiths Castle

Only few castles in the West of Ireland have survived into our times. Ballynagowan (Smiths) Castle has played an exciting role in the history of North Clare, taking its name from ‘beal-atha-an-ghobhan’, meaning the ‘mouth of the smith’s ford’.

It was first mentioned in 1551 when the last King of Munster, Murrough O’Brien, (also known as the Tanist, was created 1st Earl of Thomond and 1st Baron of Inchiquin in 1543), willed the Castle of Ballynagowan to his son Teige before his death.

Over the years it accommodated many famous characters of Irish history. Records show that in 1600 the legendary Irish rebel “Red” Hugh O’Donnell rested there with his men during his attack on North Clare, spreading ruin everywhere and seeking revenge on the Earl of Thomond for his being in alliance with the English.

In 1649 Oliver Cromwell’s army came from England with death and destruction. The Castle was attacked with cannons when Cromwell’s General, Ludlow, swept into North Clare striking terror everywhere he went.

In 1650 Conor O’Brien of Lemeneagh became heir of the castle. His death, however, came shortly afterwards in 1551, as he was fatally wounded in a skirmish with Cromwellian troops commanded by General Ludlow at Inchicronan. With him had fought his wife Maire Rua O’Brien (“The Red Mary”, named after her long red hair), one of the best known characters in Irish tradition. She had lived in the castle as a young woman and it is the ferocity and cruelty attributed to her, which has kept her name alive. Legends tell that to save her children’s heritage after Conor’s death she married several English generals, who were killed in mysterious ways one after the other- she supposedly ended her bloody carrier entombed in a hollow tree.

During 1652 almost all inhabitable castles in Clare including Smiths were occupied by Cromwellian garrisons, a time of terrible uncertainty as Clare was under military rule.

Over the next decades Ballynagowan Castle was the seat of army generals, the High Sheriff of County Clare and Viscount Powerscourt, one of the most powerful aristocrats who had their main residence - a monumental neogothic palace - in Dublin.

The castle was last inhabited mid-19th century and until its recent restauration served as beloved meeting point for couples -, songs and poems about it finding their way into the local pubs.

Local Amenities
Nearest Airport Shannon

(50 km)

Nearest Ferry Port Dublin

(170 km)

Nearest Village Kilfenora

(3 km )

Nearest Town/City Ennistymon

(6 km)

Nearest Restaurant Kilfenora

(3 km)

Nearest Bar/Pub Kilfenora

(3 km)

Nearest Beach Lahinch

(7 km)


Best Suited For: All Ages
Ideal for Teens

The castle is filled with fascinating historical features and offers a wonderful insight into the past for children staying at the castle. Furthermore the position of the castle offers guests with an exciting and diverse selection of unique landscapes and tourist sites to explore with children of all ages.

***Please note all bedrooms are on separate floors and the spiral stone staircase is not ideal for very young families.

Kids Activities Close-by

  • Beach Nearby
  • Fishing
  • Outdoor Pursuit & Activities
  • Tourist Towns & Villages

Onsite Facilities

  • Fenced Grounds
  • Waterfront

Terms & Conditions

- There is a maximum capacity of 8 guests at the castle. Groups that exceed their booking size will not be granted access to the castle.

- The owners do not accept weddings at the property

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

Security deposit £500 credit card authorisation required. This is paid prior to arrival and will be refunded in full after departure subject to damage inspection.
Arrival time After 4.00 pm
Departure time Before 10.00 am
Energy costs included? All booking placed before 01/08/17 will have all utility charged by the meter and deducted from the security deposit. All bookings placed after the 01/08/17have all utility charges included in the rental rate
Linen & towels included? All linen and bath towels are included in the rental price.
Pets welcome? No Pets allowed
End of stay cleaning included? Included. Please leave the property in the state that you found it.
Smoking Allowed? No smoking in the property
Insurance It is recommended that all guests take out insurance to cover against potential cancellation and any accidental damage caused during your stay at the property.
Other Ts and Cs Unfortunately the nature of this medieval building makes it unsuitable for the disabled, and children under 10.
Other 2 Please note that new bookings cannot begin on the same day as another booking departs - they must instead start the following day

Rental Rates

Prices based on an occupancy of 8 people:

Rental period 3 Nights 4 Nights 5 Nights Weekly
Oct 26th 2021 - Dec 20th 2021 £1,630 £1,710 £1,791 £1,992
Dec 20th 2021 - Jan 7th 2022 £1,992 £2,099 £2,207 £2,475
Jan 7th 2022 - Mar 31st 2022 £1,509 £1,590 £1,670 £1,871
Mar 31st 2022 - Jun 30th 2022 £1,751 £1,847 £1,944 £2,173
Jun 30th 2022 - Sep 2nd 2022 £1,992 £2,099 £2,207 £2,475
Sep 2nd 2022 - Sep 30th 2022 £1,751 £1,847 £1,944 £2,173
Sep 30th 2022 - Dec 19th 2022 £1,630 £1,710 £1,791 £1,992
Dec 19th 2022 - Apr 29th 2023 £1,992 £2,099 £2,207 £2,475

Prices based on an occupancy of 8 people:

Rental period 3 Nights 4 Nights 5 Nights Weekly
Oct 26th 2021 - Dec 20th 2021 €1,815 €1,895 €1,976 €2,218
Dec 20th 2021 - Jan 7th 2022 €2,218 €2,325 €2,433 €2,755
Jan 7th 2022 - Mar 31st 2022 €1,680 €1,761 €1,841 €2,083
Mar 31st 2022 - Jun 30th 2022 €1,949 €2,046 €2,142 €2,419
Jun 30th 2022 - Sep 2nd 2022 €2,218 €2,325 €2,433 €2,755
Sep 2nd 2022 - Sep 30th 2022 €1,949 €2,046 €2,142 €2,419
Sep 30th 2022 - Dec 19th 2022 €1,815 €1,895 €1,976 €2,218
Dec 19th 2022 - Apr 29th 2023 €2,218 €2,325 €2,433 €2,755

Prices based on an occupancy of 8 people:

Rental period 3 Nights 4 Nights 5 Nights Weekly
Oct 26th 2021 - Dec 20th 2021 $2,106 $2,186 $2,267 $2,573
Dec 20th 2021 - Jan 7th 2022 $2,573 $2,681 $2,788 $3,197
Jan 7th 2022 - Mar 31st 2022 $1,950 $2,030 $2,111 $2,417
Mar 31st 2022 - Jun 30th 2022 $2,262 $2,358 $2,455 $2,807
Jun 30th 2022 - Sep 2nd 2022 $2,573 $2,681 $2,788 $3,197
Sep 2nd 2022 - Sep 30th 2022 $2,262 $2,358 $2,455 $2,807
Sep 30th 2022 - Dec 19th 2022 $2,106 $2,186 $2,267 $2,573
Dec 19th 2022 - Apr 29th 2023 $2,573 $2,681 $2,788 $3,197

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.


  • A great time!

    Posted by Mingyu on 05/04/2019

    Well preserved castle, friendly caretaker and locals, peaceful Irish countryside. We lived in a piece of history and had great time.

  • An absolute blast!

    Posted by Mary on 18/10/2018

    Staying at this castle was an amazing experience. Our 4 children ages 2 - 12, had an absolute blast. It was so wonderful to be able to stay in such an historic building with such a fascinating past without having to do without modern comforts. Angela was so helpful and thoughtful and made sure our every need was met. The countryside around the castle is lovely and it is well-situated for touring and seeing many sites around County Clare. We would highly recommend staying at Smiths Castle to anyone.

  • A Real Castle

    Posted by Alison on 13/09/2017

    Smithtown Castle was truly an authentic Castle Experience!!! The Property Manager onsite was fantastic too.

  • 5* stay

    Posted by Bruce B on 07/08/2017

    It was wonderful time and will be a treasured memory.

  • What an amazing trip

    Posted by Thomas E on 20/07/2017

    Our family had an absolutely amazing time at Smithtown Castle. The location was only 10 minutes from Doolin (Aran Islands/Cliffs of Mohr). There was plenty of space for our family of 7. Angela is the caretaker there and she is the one that made this place so special. She went above and beyond with recommendations and making us feel at home. Words cannot express how grateful we were for all she did for us. The castle has the 16th century feel with all of the 21st century amenities (great showers, oven, dishwasher, washer and dryer). Our time flew by there. You cannot beat the value of this place. We absolutely loved it and will always cherish the memories.

  • Terrific Stay in a Traditional Castle!

    Posted by Tracy T. on 23/05/2017

    Our family enjoyed our time at the castle. Having fires at night and morning walks. For several of us, this was our first trip to Ireland and are so glad we got to experience the castle life, with modern amenities. Thanks.
    PS. Ennistymon was a great stop for breakfast + pub with live traditional music.

  • Magical!

    Posted by June S. on 22/05/2017

    "You have got to be kidding me!" This was the theme of our stay! Three nights of BLISS is what we'll forever call our stay in 'our very own' castle! From the gate entry to the fairy tree to the gargoyles and the tippy top princess room, and everything in between! We even went into dodin and brought back rocks that we're writing our names on and adding to the magic you've created here. That's what this castle is - MAGIC! We each got a new name (I'm Queen Lady Lady, and our youngest wanted to be the servant girl and named herself Mary) I know it's corny, but we really felt like we were transported in time! We can't thank you enough! MAGICAL!

  • Unforgettable

    Posted by Taylor E. on 14/03/2017

    Thank you for everything, Angela! Memories to last a lifetime here.

  • Had a Great Time

    Posted by Kristen C. on 14/02/2017

    My husband and I had an amazing time in the beautiful country of Ireland. The stay at the castle was truly majestic. Angela was absolutely fantastic she and her adorable sweet dog were welcoming and made us feel right at home. Although my 'Macho' husband seemed to follow me everywhere in the castle, I however felt extremely calm and relaxed. Pretty sure he was on 'guard' haha! Would we do it again? You bet! Thank you again Angela!

  • Incredible Stay!

    Posted by George P. on 23/01/2017

    Terrific time in the castle and county Clare. Much exploring from cliffs of Moher, Burrey to golf in Lahinch (Castle Course) and live music in Ennis. A rainy Friday night found us cooking a roast pork dinner here and were happily able to produce a feast fit for a lord in the castle kitchen. A great time had by all and our appreciation to share such a wonderful piece of Irish history.

  • So Sad to Leave!

    Posted by Sally G. on 27/12/2016

    It is with great sadness we leave this wonderful old castle. From the minute we arrived, you, the castle, the local townsfolk, and Ireland as a whole, provided the ideal setting and atmosphere for an incredible Xmas holiday!Thank you soooo much!

    For those just arrived a couple adventures we loved locally:
    - Cliffs on a sunny morning are breath-taking - spend the time and see both castles it you can.
    - Ennistymon - Folks at Brynes are wonderful (mussels & wifi)
    - James & Micheal at the hardware store have a soultion for anything
    - Dodin - Galway via Blackhead is a fantastic day trip
    - Cork - a bit longer but also worth an overnight!

    Again thank you for the hospitality and hope to see you again!

  • I had a fantastic time

    Posted by Sue Z on 02/12/2016

    Special thank you to Angela for her assistance and attention. She even arranged for a chef one night. Blessings to all.

  • Dream Come True!

    Posted by Brain K. & Tammy K. on 27/10/2016

    Happy B-Day to me!! It's been a dream of mine to stay in a castle. I don't think my wife could ever top this.

    FYI... I have never found a four leaf clover before until now. Actually I found 7 in 10 minutes. But have not seen any since. If you look outside straight across from the garden hose, you might find some too!

  • Amazing!!!

    Posted by Bill C on 06/10/2016

    Three nights with crazy knights! and of course Marie Rue was very hospitable. Would we do it again? You Bet!

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