Clifden Castle

I took a walk around Clifden castle at the week end with my family.

John D’Arcy (1785 -1839 ) founder of Clifden, built the castle for himself and his family while the town was being constructed. It dates from about 1818 and remained in the D’Arcy family until shortly after John died. Due to financial difficulties, it then went up for sale and became the source of a series of disputes that have lasted over a century. Today it is owned by several families which sadly means that it is not likely to be restored any time in the near future.

We walked to the castle via the Beach road, right to the end and then along the cliff until the castle came into view across the fields. An awkward approach on foot, it is nonetheless a dramatic one as you first see the building ( now a ruin ) as a kind of grey specter surrounded by fields and facing out towards the open Atlantic. The area is completely unspoiled and there is a wildness to these fields, a timelessness about them. There are cattle and some beautiful white Connemara ponies on the land so the ground is well trodden and lumpy underfoot. It is easy to imagine the castle in another time as it is such a commanding building on the very edges of this place. I decided to take my photos in black and white which I felt suited the atmosphere.

The colour one below gives a good impression of it’s situation. All the other photos are my own.

 

Clifden castle in colour

Clifden castle from the Sky Road

 

 

 

 

Clifden castle - front view

Clifden castle from the front

 

 

 

Here are some more photos, taken from the eastern side. I took these through the gnarled branches of the old trees. Something about these reminds me of Wuthering Heights, the ominous house in the wild moors.

 

Clifden castle from a different angle

 

 

 

Clifden castle from another angle

 

 

 

More drama on the approaching path where some sheep wool has snagged in the barbed wire.

 

Sheep wool on barbed wire near Clifden castle

 

 

 

I took several photos of the Connemara ponies but unfortunately most of them blurred. This is the best of the lot – I think the sharp movement of the animal suggests wildness again and drama.

 

Pony near Clifden castle

by Deborah Watkins