There’s nothing like a towering castle and rolling gardens to make you feel miniscule and Portumna Castle is one of the most imposing buildings around. Dating back to the 1600s, the castle and demesne sit on the shores of Lough Derg and are a hugely popular visitor attraction for those interested in both Irish architecture and the site's lengthy history.
Currently open to the public with access to the ground floor with a tempting tea room on site, you’re definitely going to want to pay Portumna Castle a visit once you’re immersed yourself in its past…
Constructed in 1618 by the 4th Earl of Clanricarde, Richard de Burgo, this semi-fortified house is a Jacobean-style building with geometrically-laid gardens to the north and is truly an awe inspiring structure. The gardens incorporate several varieties of trees and shrubs and, equipped with a Willow Maze, the sea of green’s central path is lined with ornamental fruit trees. The scent of lavender will fill your senses as you make your way through the twists and turns.
Marking the transition from Medieval tower houses to Renaissance style manors, Portumna Castle masterfully incorporates influences from both eras. A home to the de Burgo clan for well over 200 years, the building was scorched and gutted in 1826 by a devastating fire. Given the fire’s destruction and the ravages of time, the building gradually fell into disrepair and stood as a shadow of its former self for many years.
In 1968, the Office of Public Works began the gradual restoration of the castle with a well-needed re-roofing and their skilled team of craftsmen continued the conservation and renewal of the site until it was reestablished to its original splendor. This included the revival of a 17th century potager kitchen garden which was organically planted with flowers, herbs, hollies and veggies and offers a unique insight into cultivation techniques of yesteryear.
Today, 402 years since its inception, members of the public can immerse themselves in 17th century life in the castle’s ground floor where a virtual presentation brings this building’s intriguing story to life. Surrounded by Lough Derg, the River Shannon and Portumna Forest Park, an afternoon gazing out the castle’s windows at the picturesque formal gardens is time well spent.
Find out more about Portumna Castle right HERE.