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|A Survey of Monuments of Archaeological and Historical Interest in the Barony of Bunratty Lower, Co. Clare by William Gerrard Ryan|
Part 4: Castles and
tower houses c.1500
CLONMONEY WEST CASTLE (Site of)
Nat. Grid Ref. R427608; ½” Sheet 17
For information on this levelled castle (i.e. Tower House) refer to: a) photo above b) written description and references overleaf.
Description of site:
Field examination found that here we in fact have only the site of a castle, with no visible ruins. However the large number of loose stones, especially to the south of the site, testify to its former position and existence.
The “castle” was built on outcropping rock, some of which is clearly visible to the west, immediately below the site. In fact the occurrence of so much outcropping limestone in the area makes a thorough examination of the site area very difficult. However what we do have is a rise, again consisting of outcrop, which is 10 metres high to the south and 8 metres to the north.
The original entrance area approach was probably from the east, where there is a more gentle rise in land. Below the site, to the south, is a low wall of earth and stone. This also may be followed to the west and east.
In the north this low “wall” area does not follow the rise but moves away from it and using some of the outcrop in the region encloses a triangular shaped area, 55 metres maximum length and a width of 23 metres. This may have been a bawn, or enclosure, associated with the castle (tower house?).
Occupation certainly continued to 1580 A.D. as the College List informs us it was then owned by the Earl of Thomond (O’Brien) who lived in nearby Bunratty Castle.
The fact that this site does not appear on the First Edition O.S. Sheets (1839) suggests it must have been levelled by that early date.