Towards the end of the 17th century and into the 18th century larger and more comfortable houses became the fashion for the ruling ascendancy, sometimes like Castletaylor built onto the earlier tower house. Castetaylor was called after the Taylor family who were granted lands in Ardrahan in the quake of the Cromwellian Wars of 1641-1649. The property fell into the hands of the Francis Manly Shawe in 1843 after the death of his father in law through marriage Sir John Taylor. After his inheritance Francis Manly Shawe took the additional surname Taylor, and the family became known as the Shawe -Taylor's. The castle which is now in ruins was bought by the Whelan family in 1951.
The second of the three major landlord residences in Ardrahan was Cregclare. Originally the home of the Lambert family the house was built in the early 1800s . The Lamberts like many Irish landlords became bankrupt in the quake of the Irish Famine and the estate was sold off in the Encumbered Estates Court in 1854 when it was purchased by Lord Clanmorris (Bingham). The estate was eventually broken up and sold off in 1918 and the big house was demolished in 1938.
In terms of Ardrahan's big houses Tulira Castle is the jewel in the crown. The oldest portion of the castle is a towerhouse believed to have been built by the DeBurgos in the 15th or 16th century. The property by the end of the 16th century came into the hands of the Martyn Family. The main part of the present castle was built in fine cut limestone by Edward Martyn in the latter half of the 1800s designed by George Ashlin one of the best Gothic Architects at the time. The estate is recorded to have been over 4000 acres in the 1870s and also included , gate lodges, stables, court yard , walled garden and farm buildings.
Tulira like nearby Thoor Ballylee and Coole Park played a major role in the Gaelic Revival as a meeting place for W.B. Yeats , Lady Gregory, George Moore (A.E) and George Bernard Shaw among others. Edward Martyn along with Yeats and Lady Gregory was a founder of the Irish Literary Theatre in 1897. He was also a novelist, a playwright, a founder of the Palestrina Choir, a nationalist ,first president of Sinn Fein as well as patron of the arts, patron of Tur Gloine (first Irish Stain Glass workshop), patron of St Brendans Cathedral, Loughrea. Edward Martyn died in 1923 after years of poor health and through his will donated his body to medical science, he is buried in a paupers grave in Dublin. Edward died unmarried and on his death the estate passed on to his cousin Mary and her husband Captain Fitzroy Hemphill. The house stayed in the Hemphill familyﾒs hands till the 1980,s it is now in private hands.
|Address||Ardrahan, County Galway|
|Category (ies)||Heritage/Culture Tourist Attraction|