history-timeline

1014

Donough O’Brien, a son of Brian Boru, controlled Dromoland when it was a defensive stronghold. It was similar in structure to Bunratty Castle, which was also an O’Brien stronghold at that time. For the next 900 years a branch of the O’Briens lived and ruled from Dromoland Castle.

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1543

The chief of the Clan O’Brien, Murrough, 57th King of Thomond was forced to surrender his royalty to King Henry VII, thus becoming the Baron of Inchiquin and First Earl of Thomond. Records show that the castle was rebuilt during this period.

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1651

Conor O’Brien of Lemenagh Castle was killed in battle by the Cromwellian army. His widow Maire Rua or Red Mary O’Brien agreed with General Ireton as a mark of good faith to marry an officer in the Cromwellian army in order to save the family estate. She married Cornet John Cooper thus preserving the Estates…

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1650

Sir Donough O’Brien moved the most powerful branch of the O’Briens to Dromoland in the late 17th century. He was an astute man and managed to avoid declaring for either King James II or King William. He was at that time reputed to be the richest man in Ireland.

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1700-1730

The second castle/house at Dromoland was built; it was more residential in appearance with a design of the Queen Anne period. The Queen Anne Court, the charming quadrangle of 29 guestrooms, is a century older than the rest of today’s castle. It was rebuilt inside and redecorated in 1963 when the castle was redesigned as…

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1730

Sir Edward O’Brien, the 2nd Baronet, was revered as a famous racehorse owner and trainer. He built the Turret on the hill opposite the entrance to Dromoland Estate, from where he would observe his horses race. He once gambled the estate on a horse race; mercifully, Sean Buis won the race and saved the estate.…

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1800-1836

The present main building of Dromoland Castle, with its high Gothic-styled grey stone walls, was rebuilt and designed by the Pain brothers, famous architects of that period. The castle was built by the then Lord of Dromoland, Sir Edward O’Brien, 4th Baronet, at great expense. The cost of cutting and hauling its stone from a…

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1803-1864

Dromoland Castle was the birthplace and boyhood home of William Smith O’Brien, M.P. Despite his aristocratic background, Smith O’Brien fought militantly for the rights of oppressed Irish Catholic peasant farmers and led the Young Irelanders rebellion against the British authorities in 1848. He was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered, later exiled instead to…

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1880-1921

The wealth of the Barons of Inchiquin dwindled after a series of Land Acts started in the 1880s. During this time, landlords were compelled to sell their tenanted farmlands, thus the Inchiquins lost their main source of income. They still considered themselves fortunate, as their castle had survived the troubled times of Ireland’s revolutionary war…

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