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Turlin Castle

Turin Castle is situated in the Gaelic country, where the spirit of medieval Ireland still hangs over high cliffs, small lakes, and bog quagmires. It towers over the picturesque surroundings of County Mayo like a guard. This ancient stronghold was in fact one of the several dozen castles that covered richly the land of former Barony Kilmaine. However, hardly any of these wonderful fortified buildings have survived today. Turin Stronghold had been in ruins for the several last centuries until 1997. Along with the arrival of new hosts, it began its new life as a cosy hotel with a unique atmosphere, a perfect place for those who want to spend a romantic weekend in the bosom of nature or experience an unforgettable wedding ceremony in the spirit of the best traditions of ancient Ireland.

History of Turin Castle

An exact date of building Turin Castle has not survived on the page of history, but concluding from the notes of medieval chronicler O'Donovan, there were several strongholds on the Kilmaine land. The noble English-Normand House of de Burgh is believed to have been their founders. It is likely that a number of square castles in the typical Roman style appeared already in the time of Richard de Burgh in the 1230s, when he ruled over the whole west Irish province of Connacht. The House of de Burgh was one of the most influential houses in Ireland and England in the 13th-14th century, thus in order to provide security for its new estates, its members constructed new castles, guard towers and resistance posts. The following strongholds are on this list and are mentioned in the chronicle by O'Donovan: Turin, Elistron, Killernan and Cregduff.

The historical name of Turin Castle probably derives from an Old Irish word structure meaning a «small bleaching field». It was directly related to «white stone» deposits located there since limestone was commonly used by shepherds for bleaching leather. In the Middle Ages the land owners of Connacht gained great profits from meat, leather and wool deliveries to continental Europe. The lands of Kilmaine were gradually becoming the political and economic centre of the country. By the first half of the 16th century there were about 40 castles, more than in any other region of Connacht. By that time the House of de Burgh had assimilated with local people, adopting Irish customs, the language and clothing to such an extent that it was said that the House of de Burgh «was more Irish than the Irish themselves». (more)

What can you see there?

Antique furnishings, Gobelins on the walls, a collection of weapons and suits of armour displayed in the Great Hall, you can see all this when you decide to take a rest behind the walls of this wonderful castle. The castle’s appearance, a square tower, was kept in accordance with its historical past. The living rooms for 12 people are furnished in an elegant manner in accordance with the styles of past periods, but items of modern comfort were added such as bathrooms or heating. On the fourth floor of the castle you can see a secret chamber; the entry to the chamber is hidden behind a wardrobe. Many centuries ago the chamber was probably a place where valuables or simply dark dungeons for villains were hidden.

The top floor offers a wonderful view of fields covered with rocks and distant mountains. In the north-west part of the castle is a chamber where you can spot a narrow opening in the wall practically on the floor level. If you kneel down and look inside it, you will see the top of Croagh Patrick Mountain (St. Patrick Mountain, worshipped greatly in Ireland). Turin Castle can be definitely called a gate leading to numerous tourist attractions located within a short distance such as the Folk Park and Bunratty Castle, Connemara National Park, wonderful Ashford Castle, the noblemen’s and film stars’ favourite place for taking a rest, as well as the picturesque landscapes of the village of Cong, where a famous romantic comedy, «The Quiet Man», was shot in 1952.