A 500 year old Gaelic Tower House in Co. Clare. To cross the threshold at Ballyportry is to step back in time 500 years. Protected by an outer wall or bawn, this Gaelic tower house rises 90 feet from turf to battlement. It is an authentic restoration, evoking medieval Ireland at a turbulent time when allegiance was not so much to a sovereign, as to a family, and a man’s home was truly his castle.
Renovated without compromising its integrity, Ballyportry offers the convenience of a modern house, within the protective walls of an ancient fortress.
Here you can experience the comfort and solace of an open hearth and the distinctive smell of a turf fire. See brilliant sunsets and dazzling rainbows from the battlements, or simply savour the quiet serenity of rural Ireland.
Located in the west of your dreams, in the wild country, well beyond the Pale, Ballyportry appears to grow right out of the craggy land upon which it is rooted. Like a stoic sentry, the stately tower house stands guard over a magical part of County Clare called the Burren, from the Irish word “boireann” or rocky place.
Built in the late 15th century by the O’Briens of Lemenagh Castle, Ballyportry remained occupied through the 16th and 17th centuries before falling into disrepair and disuse. The Statistical Survey of County Clare in 1808 makes mention of a poor family still taking shelter at Ballyportry. Miraculously, its four walls were intact, although open to the sky, when the ruin was acquired in the 1960s by New York architect, Robert Owen Brown.
Over the next decade, Brown reverently researched and restored the tower to its original stature. The artistry and ingenuity of the early stonemasons had to be matched by their modern counterparts who were called upon to cut and replace missing stones, steps and arches in the restoration process. Bob Brown made Ballyportry his home until his untimely death in 1983. The present owners acquired the tower house in 1999 and set about conserving it, making it dry. Their work and that of their expert team is now for everyone to enjoy, particularly those wishing to savour the atmosphere and scale of life in an Irish tower house of 500 years ago.