Clanricard's Castle

Portumna House, Co. Galway


Jane Fenlon editor

Hardback €45.00
Catalogue Price: €50.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-344-2
September 2012. 192pp; colour ills. throughout.

‘Portumna was no ordinary dwelling and its builder, Richard Burke the 4th Earl of Clanricard, was no ordinary Anglo-Irish lord … Richard had an extensive range of family and social connections, a subject brilliantly explored by Timothy Wilks … The book is a pleasure to read and peruse. It begins with an elegant and perceptive introduction by Mark Girouard, the doyen of English country house studies. The contributions include an excellent account of 17th-century garden design with a summary of excavations … Produced on fine quality paper with outstanding photographs, the book is a credit to the publishers and to the editor', Roger Stalley, Irish Arts Review (March/May 2013).

‘A beautifully produced book … a handsome work, which includes extensive illustrations, including beautiful photographs … there is a great deal of detail in the book. Underpinning it all is the fascinating story of Richard Burke, a great survivor, who was born in about 1572 … this book will encourage more people to visit one of Ireland’s finest and most unusual buildings', Judy Murphy, Galway City Tribune (Oct. 2012).

‘Compelling … Portumna House was one of the finest if not the finest Jacobean house built in this country … The story of the house, of the earls of Clanricard, and the ongoing restoration work are the subject of a fine collection of essays edited by Jane Fenlon … the various contributors, all experts in their own fields, describe the history, the architecture and the context of this great house … profusely illustrated throughout … gives new insights into the history and heritage of the Clanricard lordship … can be recommended and not just to local historians. It deserves a much wider audience', Pat McCarthy, Books Ireland (Feb. 2013).

‘These [essays] explore the role, friendships and attitudes of the Clanricards in order to explain why such an innovative house was erected west of the Shannon … Timothy Wilks delineates expertly the dense filigree that embedded Clanricard in courtly life and linked him with aristocratic trend-setters and aesthetic recusants. With equal assurance, Bernadette Cunningham elucidates the Irish background … These essays provide numerous insights into – as well as raising many puzzles about – the cultural life of early seventeenth-century Ireland', Toby Barnard, Irish Economic and Social History (2013).

‘Fenlon’s paper is the central pivot of the book and draws together architectural, historical, documentary and archaeological evidence to breath life back into the building … [this book] serves to position Portumna within its wider international context', Rory Sherlock, Journal of Medieval Archaeology (2013).