Clonony Castle, Co. Offaly, Near Shannonbridge.


Clonony Tower House was built by the MacCoughlan family before 1519 and was one of the principal strongholds of Dealbhna Eathra. In 1519 it was the scene of the death of the Prior of Gallen monastery who was an heir to the Kingship of Dealbhna Eathra.

The Annals of the Four Masters record:

A great war broke out in Dealbhna between the descendants of Farrell Mac Coghlan and the descendants of Donnell, in the course of which James Mac Coghlan, Prior of Gailinne, and the Roydamna of Dealbhna Eathra, was killed by a shot fired from the castle of Cluain-damhna.

In the nineteenth century it was converted to a residence by Edmond Maloney. It was at this time that the outer bawn wall was reconstructed.

On the R357 Shannonbridge to Cloghan road in Co. Offaly, 2km west of Cloghan near the crossing of the River Brosna, is Clonony Tower House. The Tower House, originally known as Cluain-damhna, is sited on top of a rock outcrop on the northern side of the road. It has been restored as a private residence but can be viewed from the road.

View of the gate of the bawn of Clonony Castle, Co. Offaly.

The Tower House is three storeys high with an entrance in the west wall with a machicolation above it. There is a fire-proof vault over the ground floor in the interior and a spiral stair leads to the upper floors. There are round-headed, ogee-headed and flat headed windows. The bawn wall with its two square corner towers and entrance which had a coat of arms was reconstructed in the nineteenth century and gives a good impression of how an original Tower House might have looked, with a set of perimeter and internal defences. The inner bawn building in front of the west entrance appears to be a nineteenth century construction.

Within the bawn there is a graveslab known locally as the monument of 'Queen Elizabeth’s cousins', which was brought here from a nearby quarry. The inscription reads:
'HERE UNDER LEYS ELIZABETH AND MARY BULLYN DAUGHTERS OF THOMAS BULLYN SON OF GEORGE BULLYN THE SON OF GEORGE BULLYN VISCOUNT ROCHFORD SON OF SR THOMAS BULLYN EARL OF ORMONDE AND WILSHIRE'

Google Maps image of the location of the Dunsany Waysdie Cross, Co. Meath.

GPS coordinates 53.235017,-7.921357

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