Newtown Castle, Co.Clare
his unusual sixteenth century tower house takes the form of a cylinder
supported by four
boldly projecting spurs which are commanded by shotholes ingeniously placed in
the apex of pointed notches at the fusion of the cylinder and the spurs.
One of these notches, or ghost-gables, lies over the door which is also
commanded by one of four machicolations projecting from the parapet.
The tower has five storeys with dome vaults over the ground
and third storeys, both of which have well-preserved impressions of
wickerwork matting. The hall on the fourth storey has mullioned windows
with the spiral stair projecting into the room. The top floor, originally
a bed chamber, has now been incorrectly restored as a gallery, presumably
so that visitors can admire the new conical oak roof.
The castle was originally built by a sept of the O'Briens and later
passed into the hands of the O'Loughlins (O'Lochlainns), the self-styled
"Princes of the Burren". It was still inhabited by the family at the end
of the nineteenth century, but later fell into ruin.
In 1994 the castle
was restored as an exhibition centre for the adjacent Burren Art College.