Glinsk Castle

Ballynakill BallymoeCounty Galway

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Glinsk Castle

In the decades preceding the 1641 Rebellion, a number of Irish landowners were building houses that tried to combine the need for spacious and luxurious living with an adequate means of positive defence. Inevitably, such houses differed from contemporary English manors in having fewer windows, high basements, musketry loops, bartizans and other defensive features. Nonetheless, many succeeded in projecting the air of a gentleman's residence, and few more successfully than Sir Ulick Burke's handsome strong house at Glinsk, probably begun around the time he was raised to the baronetage in 1628.

Glinsk was gutted by fire at an early stage and survives as an exceptionally well-preserved ruin. It has a three-bay rectangular plan of three storeys over a raised basement with an attic floor in its high gabled roof. The main entrance was at first-storey level on the south front, where the centre bay has been recessed, while the service door is in the centre of the north front basement. Both the door and narrow windows of the basement have flanking gunloops, while the main floors above have finely sculptured mullioned windows. The exact plan of the interior is unknown as there were only timber divisions, but the fireplaces were in the end walls where the stacks rise with tall, elegant shafts that are undoubtedly the best examples of their kind in Ireland. The house was provided with some machicolations, but had no proper flanking defence, though there was a bawn on the south side, of which one round flanker may still be seen.

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Glinsk Castle, reputed to be the last castle built in this country, stands as an impressive reminder of the architectural skills and styles of the Norman era, while nearby Ballinakill Abbey holds the remains of the earliest Gothic church in Connacht.
This Castle was the principal residence of Mac David Burke, lord of Clonconway. It was built in the mid 17th century on the site of an earlier Castle.  This Castle was the principal residence of Mac David Burke, loard of Clonconway. It was built in the mid 17th century on the site of an earlier Castle. The landed gentry of Ireland at that time were starting to build houses instead of Castles. Really a Tower House, it is an important example of this transformation from castle to house, The plan is unique in Ireland, it was one of the last- if not the last Castles to be built in Ireland. 

The Castle has some fine architectural features, the most outstanding of which are the two fine chimney shafts, each being a battery of five diagonal stacks which give the Castle a great sense of elegance, The finely sculpted mullioned windows are very well preserved. The plan is a rectangle with tow square towers projecting from the south. It was once surrounded by a bawn wall with turrets but little of this now remains.

There was a link between the "Sister" castles of Glinsk and Donamon. Tradition has it that Nuala Ni Finaghty, who was know as "Nuala na Miodoige", (Nuala of the dagger) murdered here husband and married Sir David De Burgo and that through this unholy alliance, David and his descendants become lords of Clonconway.

In the decades preceding the 1641 Rebellion, a number of Irish landowners were building houses that tried to combine the need for spacious and luxurious living with an adequate means of positive defence. Inevitably, such houses differed from contemporary English manors in having fewer windows, high basements, musketry loops, bartizans and other defensive features. Nonetheless, many succeeded in projecting the air of a gentleman's residence, and few more successfully than Sir Ulick Burke's handsome strong house at Glinsk, probably begun around 1628.

Glinsk was gutted by fire at an early stage and survives as an exceptionally well-preserved ruin. It has a three-bay rectangular plan of three storeys over a raised basement with an attic floor in its high gabled roof. The exact plan of the interior is unknown as there were only timber divisions, but the fireplaces were in the end walls where the stacks rise with tall, elegant shafts that are undoubtedly the best examples of their kind in Ireland.

Located 6.5 km (4 miles) SE of Ballymoe off a minor road to Creggs village

References

Landed Estates DB, NUI Galway Ireland VIEW SOURCE

Type of Building:

Castle

Communities Associated with this Building

Ancestors Associated with this Building