Castle Ellen House, near Athenry, County Galway, was built in 1810 by the Lambert family, who had by then outgrown their original home, a small castle which had been built in 1679. The ruins of that castle can be seen today as you stand at the front door of the larger, restored Castle Ellen House.
Enter through the impressive gated entrance which gives way to a long, winding avenue. Shaded by native trees, the avenue widens at the end to provide a stunning view of the house.
In its heyday, Castle Ellen hosted guests including Sir Edward Carson, known as 'The Architect of Northern Ireland', whose mother was Isabella Lambert. Carson spent many summer holidays in Castle Ellen House and it has often been speculated as to whether or not he was joined on any of these visits by his good friend from Trinity College, Oscar Wilde.
Castle Ellen was purchased by Míceál Keaney in 1974 in an advanced state of disrepair. Its restoration has been a slow and painstaking labour of love in the years that followed, with Míceál working tirelessly on the project.
Architectural features of Castle Ellen include a swept limestone entrance, basement wine cellar with brick arched compartments, decorative plasterwork, and limestone flooring in the basement kitchen. A wide variety of open fireplaces remain in the house that burn wood, retaining the historical accuracy, as no coal or oil heating is used in the house.
Míceál is passionate about the Irish language and he would be delighted to converse with you as Gaeilge if you have a cúpla focal. Castle Ellen is a haven of peace and tranquillity where you can escape from the hustle and bustle and reconnect with the rich history and nature of Ireland's Hidden Heartlands.
- Historically accurate and lovingly-restored castle, open to visitors in the summer months.
- Offers accommodation close to Galway City, but in a tranquil woodland setting.
- Part of The Athenry Castles Heritage Cycle Tour (Three Castles cycle tour).
- Practice your Irish language skills with the owners.