One of Ireland's oldest inhabited castles, dating back to the 14th century has gone on sale in Offaly.
The outstanding Cloghan Castle, presented by Savills, is set in beautiful parkland, dotted with mature, ancient and ornamental trees. It is on sales for €975,000.
The wonderful 600 year old castle is not only surrounded by its own high stone walls and towers but some of its guarding yew trees are thought be much older.
The mile long drive is entirely tree lined while also with a vista of the battlements in the distance.
The castle was open to the public for many years with three tour guides on duty. Many newspapers and magazines have written about Cloghan Castle.
The present owner has written a book to be published about the story of the castle, starting with a Bronze Age dagger found in the front park; the Monastery of St Cronan 1,400 years ago; the coming of the Normans 800 years ago; and the capture of the land in battle in 1336 by the famous Prince and Clan Chief Eoghan of the O' Maddens, who was a noted builder of castles of stone and wood.
There was once a crossing of the River Shannon at Meelick, two miles west of Cloghan Castle and for at least 1,000 years the main road from some of the monasteries passed by the castle.
The English Army captured the castle in a well documented battle in 1595 and the Crown granted it 6,000 acres to Sir John Moore whose descendants were noted horsemen and winners of three Victoria Crosses.
The Cromwellian armies were here from 1650 until 1683 and it was then occupied by soldiers of Colonel Oxburgh' s regiment for King James II in 1689. Some Jacobite money dated 1689 has been found in the yew walk and the remains of the Jacobite gun emplacements in the front park.
The castle was enlarged by the son of Sir John Moore in 1625 (now comprising the great hall and bedrooms above).
Today, it is still an exceptional residence. The front entrance is flanked by imposing and stunning guard towers. This in turn leads through a walled garden to an entrance porch and the great hall.
The great hall is a two-storied room with eight windows, a fine Georgian plastered ceiling and a large wooden carved mantelpiece. The arms and armorial banners relate to past occupiers.
The original front door into the keep leads to a hallway. On the left is a door opening into the stone spiral staircase leading all the way up to the battlements. To the right is the little chapel which is thought to have been a monk's cell from the days of St Cronan's Monastery.
The next room, formerly the "main guard," is now the dining room. Here a huge stone fireplace is kept lit for most of the year.
Many centuries ago, a passageway was dug through the twelve-foot-thick walls leading to an outer porch and a spacious, well lit kitchen. The stone flags and beams are reminders of the past.
Spiraling up through the castle, there are numerous bedrooms, bathrooms and exceptional views of the surrounding countryside.
The rooms beyond the kitchen once served as separate staff accommodation and could easily be made so again.
The castle stands on 157 acres in total - lands fall into three categories: woodlands planted 20 years ago and thousands of other trees of very much older vintage, pasture which flood in winter when the rivers flood. These lands are feeding grounds for White-Fronted Greenland Geese, and the gardens.
The castle is surrounded by four towers and a gated entrance with high stone walls, some three hundred yards in length.
Two gardens are enclosed within the walls and there is a separate walled enclosure with an ancient yew walk and a double grass tennis court.
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