Castletownshend has an unusual number of large, stone houses, most of them dating from the mid-18th century, when it was an important port. The main street runs steeply downhill to the 17th-century castle (built by the Townshends, a noted family in the region) and the sea. The sleepy town awakens in July and August, when its sheltered harbor bustles. Sparkling views await from cliff-top St. Barrahane's Church, which has a medieval oak altarpiece and three stained-glass windows by early-20th-century Irish artist Harry Clarke.

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