Dysert O'Dea Castle is located in the Shannon Region of Ireland in County Clare, near Ennis. It is set in a lovely spot and is a nice place to stop and learn a little Irish history.
On a recent trip to Ireland, I was touring the County Clare area when I saw the sign for Dysert O'Dea Castle. Ironically, I had picked up a brochure for the castle at an Irish pub near my home in the United States and intended to find the castle on my visit. The castle happens to be owned by the descendants of the O'Deas, who live in the U.S.
Dysert O'Dea Castle was built in 1480 by Diarmuid O'Dea, Lord of Cineal Fearmaic. The Cromwellians damaged the castle in 1651. The castle has been restored to include a museum and various interesting exhibitions. You will want to watch the video presentation of the local history. Tea and a light snack is served in the castle shop.
You will want to spend some time on the easy hike starting from the castle. The Archaeology/History Trail features 25 sites of interest, all within a few miles. A written trail guide is available at the castle.
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The nearby church is on the history trail. It stands on the site of an early Christian monastery and is a peaceful place to visit. The Church, the Round Tower, and the High Cross were built in the 12th century. Conor O'Dea re-erected the cross in 1683 and the church may have been rebuilt at about the same time.
The High Cross is a figure of Christ with outstretched arms. Below is a carved bishop believed to by St.Tola. The doorway of the church was carved in the romanesque style using rounded arches. It is worth your time to hike the area and take in the history.
The castle is located 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Ennis and 3 miles (4.8 km) southeast of Corofin. You take N85 northwest out of Ennis and then R476 north and turn left (west) when you see the Dysert O'Dea sign. Follow the signs to the castle.
Here is a map of the area near Dysert O'Dea Castle:
For more information, visit the Clare Archaeology Centre website.