Fodor's Expert Review The Craggaunowen Project

Quin Castle/Palace/Chateau
It's a strange experience to walk across the little wooden bridge above reeds rippling in the lake into Ireland's Celtic past as a jumbo jet passes overhead on its way into Shannon Airport—1,500 years of history compressed into an instant. But if you love all things Celtic, you'll have to visit the Craggaunowen Project. The romantic centerpiece is Craggaunowen Castle, a 16th-century tower house restored with furnishings from the period. It was a retreat for "Honest" Tom Steele, a local squire who famously canvassed Pope Pius VII to change his religion before he had a change of heart and became a key figure in Catholic emancipation. Look for Steele’s initials carved into a stone quoin outside the castle. Huddling beneath its battlements are two replicas of early Celtic-style dwellings. On an island in the lake, reached by a narrow footbridge, is a clay-and-wattle crannóg, a fortified lake dwelling; it resembles what might have been built in the 6th or 7th century, when Celtic... READ MORE
It's a strange experience to walk across the little wooden bridge above reeds rippling in the lake into Ireland's Celtic past as a jumbo jet passes overhead on its way into Shannon Airport—1,500 years of history compressed into an instant. But if you love all things Celtic, you'll have to visit the Craggaunowen Project. The romantic centerpiece is Craggaunowen Castle, a 16th-century tower house restored with furnishings from the period. It was a retreat for "Honest" Tom Steele, a local squire who famously canvassed Pope Pius VII to change his religion before he had a change of heart and became a key figure in Catholic emancipation. Look for Steele’s initials carved into a stone quoin outside the castle. Huddling beneath its battlements are two replicas of early Celtic-style dwellings. On an island in the lake, reached by a narrow footbridge, is a clay-and-wattle crannóg, a fortified lake dwelling; it resembles what might have been built in the 6th or 7th century, when Celtic influence still predominated in Ireland. The reconstruction of a small ring fort shows how an ordinary soldier would have lived in the 5th or 6th century, at the time Christianity was being established here. Characters from the past explain their Iron Age (500 BC–AD 450) lifestyle, show you around their small holding stocked with animals, and demonstrate crafts skills from bygone ages. Be sure to check out the Brendan boat, a hide vessel used by explorer Tim Severn to test, and prove, the legend that Irish St. Brendan discovered America in a curragh boat almost a millennium before Christopher Columbus. The park is hilly in parts, particularly near the wild boar compound. Bring comfortable walking shoes. READ LESS
Castle/Palace/Chateau Building/Architectural Site Historic District/Site Trail/Path

Quick Facts

Kilmurry
Co. Clare  Ireland

061-711–222

www.shannonheritage.com/craggaunowen

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: From €10, Closed Sept.–Mar.

What’s Nearby

Find a Hotel

Related Forum Posts

Around the Web