Originally built in 1277 by Thomas de Clare, the Norman-Irish Castle was destroyed and rebuilt more than once in the centuries that followed. It was captured by the O’Brien in 1355 and remained their headquarters until 1712. The MacNamara’s, a sept of the O’Briens erected its present form in 1460 but time took its toll upon the building until Viscount Gort bought it in 1954 and, with the aid of Bord Failte, had it restored by the Office of Public Works.
The Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval castle in Ireland and boasts one of the finest collections of 14th-17th century material in these islands. The castle and its contents are now held in trust for the nation. The establishment is managed by the Shannon Development Company, which arranges medieval banquets on a year-round basis. The castle is open to visitors daily during the year.