Tuamgraney, Tower House, Co. Clare.

Location – In the middle of Tuamgraney on the R463 with roadside parking opposite. 

OS: R 63722 83012

Longitude: -8.5398544

Latitude: 52.897006

Description and History – This is a very nice little tower house that appears to be in very good condition and it is shame that more isn’t being done with it. It is a three-storey structure built of limestone rubble. The main entrance is defended with a machicolation, and there are several loops throughout the site. There is clear evidence that there were once battlements also. Parapets above a string course can still be seen. The castle also has a base batter. The interior was closed during our visit. I am not sure if it ever opened, or just because of Covid-19 restrictions when we were there. However, I understand that there is a surviving barrel vault over one of the floor internally with wicker centring visible. Modern buildings press up against the tower house, meaning it is difficult to see the castle at a distance from some angles. 

It was build some time in the early 16th century by the O’Grady family who were the traditional coarbs of St. Cronan’s church which sits next door. It is likely that the tower house was constructed to protect the church. The O’Grady’s were a prominent ecclesiastical family in the medieval period with several family members being archbishops, including John O’Grady who was made Archbishop of Cashel in 1332. A Nicholas O’Grady served as the abbot of St. Cronan’s in the 15th century. The family are also closely associated with Holy Island/Inishcealtra as well.

This is well worth a visit, especially if you are visiting St. Cronan’s next door and there are plenty of other interesting places in the vicinity to visit as well.

Difficulty – Very easy, on level ground, and you don’t have to walk far. 

Date of visit: 19th July, 2020.

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The door is inset into the batter to position it squarely below the machicolation. 

Looking up at the machicolation...not recommended in the 16th century!

The base batter. 

Here you really see the proximity of the modern buildings around the castle. 

The garderobe chute.