The restored tower of Newtown Castle, originally crafted around 1550, rises against a brilliant blue Irish sky from its spectacular location near Ballyvaughan in the Burren Region of County Clare, Ireland.
The four-story round castle was skillfully and authentically restored in 1994. Restoration included rebuilding of a roof cone of seven tons of Irish oak, a task that took 15 craftsmen 72 days.
The castle now houses the Burren College of Art, an elegant use of this historic landmark. The internationally recognized independent art college offers undergraduate and graduate fine art degrees, including a Master of Fine Arts program accredited by the National University of Ireland, Galway.
The O’Brien clan owned the property at least until 1641, after which the locally prominent and powerful O’Loghlen clan took over. By 1848, the landlord was listed as the Marquess of Buckingham, who ended up bankrupt and had to sell his 7,000-acre holdings in County Clare.
As with most of these vintage properties, Newtown Castle had fallen into disrepair after it was abandoned by its last resident in the late 1800s.
To put things into perspective, these are some of the notable historical events in the world in 1550 while this castle was being constructed, as reported by Wikipedia:
- Spanish Captain Hernando de Santana founded the city of Valledupar in what now is the South American country of Colombia.
- Pope Julius III became the 221st pope after Pope Paul III.
- King Gustav I of Sweden established the city of Helsinki, Finland, a Swedish possession at the time.
- The Jesuit Order (Society of Jesus) was approved by Pope Julius III.
- The first almanac of Nostradamus was published.
- Silver rushes were triggered in Mexico and Bolivia after discovery of the precious metal.