The 15th Century Dysert O’Dea Castle rises in the distance from this gently sloping pasture along the Dysert O’Dea Archaeology Trail in County Clare, Ireland.
This Medieval castle, built in 1480 for the O’Dea clan and restored nearly 500 years later by American descendant John O’Day in 1970, now houses the Clare Archaeology Centre which opened in 1986.
The castle has 10 rooms on four floors now outfitted with a museum, audio visual presentation and exhibits of local artifacts dating back to 1000 B.C., including a Medieval masons and carpenters workshop.
Beyond the castle walls are two archaeology trails — a short trail of 300 metres and a second 5-kilometre route leading to 25 historical monuments including, among other things, Medieval stone forts, a sacred well, religious ruins from the 12th Century, 15th Century castle ruins and the field of the Battle of Dysert O’Dea, fought in 1318.
While Dysert O’Dea Castle itself is only open between May 1 and September 30, the archaeology trail is open year-round. It’s only 11 kilometres north of Ennis, just south of Corofin.