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Knappogue Castle: History, Banquet + Distillery Tour

Knappogue Castle: History, Banquet + Distillery Tour

The magnificent Knappogue Castle in Clare dates to 1467, although its arguably more famous for its banquets and its whiskey than it is it’s history!

Once the stately home of noble medieval lords, Knappogue Castle is now a historical experience not to be missed in the Shannon Region of Clare.

Visitors can join the medieval-style banquet, tour the

to spending the night in the tower house, a visit to Knappogue Castle is certainly memorable.

Some quick need-to-knows before you visit Knappogue Castle in Clare

 

Although a visit to Knappogue Castle is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

Knappogue Castle is located just outside of Quin village in the Shannon Region of County Clare. It’s a 25-minute drive from Shannon, a 25-minute drive from Ennis and a 30-minute drive from Limerick City.

2. Snappy history

The castle is a tower house and it was built in 1467 by Sean Mac Conmara. It became the seat of the Mac Conmara family, the Earls of West Clancullen in 1571. The castle saw major restoration and extension work in the 19th century under the Scott and Dunboyne families.

3. Whiskey

You might also recognise the name ‘Knappogue Castle’ as a premium single malt Irish whiskey. When Mark Edwin Andrews bought Knappogue Castle in 1966, he also began buying casks of fine pot still whiskey from some of the top whiskey distilleries in Ireland. More on what happened next below.

 

Knappogue Castle history

Knappogue Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

As is the case with many Irish Castles, Knappogue boasts a long and colourful history and it has changed through numerous hands during its lifetime.

Here is a speedy history of Knappogue to kick-things-off.

The 1800s

Knappogue is a tower house and it was built in 1467 by Sean Mac Conmara. It became the seat of the Mac Conmara family, the Earls of West Clancullen in 1571.

Eventually the castle was sold to the Scott family of Cahircon in 1800, who undertook major extension and restoration work on the structure.

In 1855, the castle was acquired by Theobold Fitzwalter Butler and it became the seat of the Dunboyne family.

They added a drawing room and the west wing, as well as the clock tower and gateway.

 

The refurbishment

In 1966, Americans, Mark Edwin Andrews and his wife bought the castle from the Quinn family.

They carried out extensive restorations of the place in collaboration with Shannon Heritage with plans to convert the castle into a restaurant and private residence.

Shannon Development has since purchased the castle in 1996 and turned it into an entertainment venue for banquets, weddings and accommodation.

 

Knappogue Castle Whiskey

After buying the castle and acquiring a number of barrels of whiskey, Andrews went about further aging the casks and bottled them under the Knappogue Castle label.

His last bottling, which was a 1951 vintage, is revered around the world as the oldest and rarest commercially available Irish whiskey.

Andrews’ son, Mark Andrews III has since taken the whiskey to the US and other countries around the world.

 

The Knappogue Castle banquet

At the time of typing, the only way to get inside the property is on the Knappogue Castle banquet.

In the evening, you are greeted by butlers and the ladies of the castle before being led to the Dalcassian Hall.

The banquets include goblets of honey wine, traditional dishes and background music of the harp and fiddle.

The Earl’s Butler recounts the history of the castle as you enjoy your meal.

The memorable night will make you feel as though you’ve time travelled back into the 15 th century.

 

Things to do nearby

best things to do in Clare

 

One of the beauties of Knappogue Castle in Clare is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions, both man-made and natural.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Knappogue Castle (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).

  1. Ennis (25-minute drive): There are plenty of things to do in Ennis, from Ennis Friary to Quin Abbey
  2. Bunratty Castle (20-minute drive): A visit to this castle is one of the most popular things to do in Shannon
  3. Killaloe (40-minute drive): A beautiful riverside town
  4. Clare’s top attractions (1-hour+): The Cliffs of Moher, Doolin and the Burren are all within easy reach

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