History of Carrygerry Country House

Carrygerry House (nr Carrigerry) was built around 1793 by James O’Halloran a magistrate to the Ennis assizes. The land on which it was built had been bestowed by Cromwell by loyal subjects one hundred years earlier. The southern facing main wing of the house has a rather unique architectural style appropriate to that period- as is the elliptical headed arch in the high wall to the East. The kitchen wing and servant’s quarters were added around the middle of the last century. Choice of site would have been influenced by the panoramic view of the surrounding countryside- looking Southwest Kerry is clearly visible. The fact that the site provided such easy access to the River Shannon in the event of attack may also have been a consideration.

The house originally comprised four stories but was reduced to three early last century. The house and lands would have been the only source of income for families in the area. Those lucky enough to “enter into service “ in the landlords big houses were exposed to a level of refinement and learning that was avidly absorbed by the deprived but astute native Irish. The entire estate would have comprised many hundreds of acres for the raising of cattle and sheep. At the turn of the century Carrygerry’s orchards were famous for their fruits throughout Ireland.

Clare featured prominently in the journals of Irish history and this house would have played it’s part in the historical events of the era. The co-operative movement was founded by one Giles Bandeleur at Ralahine less than ten miles from here. It is likely that the O’Hallorans of Carrygerry were major players in that most radical socio-political liaison of the early eighteen hundreds. The failure of the Ralahine experiment owed more in Giles fondness for the pleasures of life than in a flawed concept. The neighbourhood abounds with famous figures if Irish history as well as a sprinkling of rogues. Rear Admiral James Creagh- a cousin of the Scott family originally of Knappogue Castle who lived in Carrygerry for 130 years- was aide de ramp in King George V.  

A near neighbour named John blood was grandson in Captain Thomas Blood who was incarrerated in the tower of London for attempting to make off with the Crown Jewels. Clare has been favoured by politicians seeking to alter the course of Irish history and these walls resounded with the names of two such men in particular. Daniel O’Connell- the great liberator- was elected M.P. for Co Clare in the 1820’s and was a regular visitor in this area. Eamonn De Valera who subsequently became head of the first government of the Irish Free State and later President of Ireland gained his first and historic electoral success in Clare in 1917.

The historic seat of power for all of Munster was located at Bunratty Castle just five miles from here. It was Bunratty from where the Earls of Thomond fought their many famous battles-often within view of Carrygerry. The many islands in the Shannon Estuary clearly visible from the house were renown centres of learning as early as the 14th Century and a famous monastery on Srattery Island boasted God scholars from all over Europe at the end of fifteenth century. At the beginning of the Century it would not have been unusual to awake to the notes of reveille in Carrygerry as the property was requisitioned by Crown forces as a garrison from which in quell unrest and local revolutionaries. Carrygerry was however one of the only major houses in the region to enjoy continuity of residence for two hundred years and to survive the “troubles” and the recent development of Shannon International Airport.  Most of the former residents of Carrygerry are buried some four miles away in Kilnasoolagh graveyard close to Dromoland Castle- near enough for them to revisit the Carrygerry they knew and loved.