Dysert O'Dea Castle and Archaeology Centre

Dysert O'Dea Castle and Archaeology Centre

Dysert O'Dea Castle and Archaeology Centre
4.5

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles75 reviews
Excellent
46
Very good
20
Average
2
Poor
6
Terrible
1

Tanya M
Fords, NJ15 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2018 • Couples
We spent the day touring the castle and grounds. My sister and brother are O’Dea’s and so it was nice to take this tour of their heritage. The castle was an easy walk up with tower steps and hand railings. The rooms were rich with history and made for great pictures. The roof gave beautiful views of the surrounding area. It was a self-guided tour, so you could spend as much time as you want venturing through the castle and grounds. There’s a small cafe and gift shop located in the castle. There’s also a cemetery on the grounds that you can venture through and see the old Abbey. It’s a lot of walking, so be sure to wear sneakers. The grounds cannot be reached by car, but it’s only about a five minute walk to the cemetery. The roads leading in are tight one lane roads and the castle is set back so we had a bit of a time finding it, but it was well worth the trip!
Written July 25, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tammy M
Tucson, AZ7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2018 • Couples
After touring several clan or Irish family defensive castles across many counties this one was our best! Having studied early stone architecture and making a pilgrimage to all four of our own O’Malley Clan castles (County Mayo) most locked from entry, this fully restored O’Dea Clan Castle (County Clare) allows full access to every corner for exploration, even to the defensive roof area overlooking thousands of years of historical sites across a verdant landscape. The O’Dea (now O’Day) family from Wisconsin Rapids, WI, USA, with its Clan Chief, John B. O’Day, Jr. gathered his family pride and life savings to fund the restoration and archeological digs in the area as well as doing deep research into the areas local history. With some support from Irish Historical agencies, John and his family and the newly organized O’Dea Clan has also supported local archeological protections of these many sites within this valley. With so little funds to restore or shore up the many castles across Ireland and their great contributions to this country’s history, the Wisconsin-based O’Day Family should be commended for taking the initiative and private monies to accomplish such a fantastic project. We will be recommending this Castle to all Castle lovers exploring Ireland’s Clans and their influence during and after the Norman Invasion!
Robert Welch (O’Malley Clan), Waupaca, WI
Written July 25, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robert B
Philadelphia, PA195 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2013 • Family
Dysert O'Dea is one of the reasons you need to rent a car to truly tour Ireland. And, for several miles, it will test your power of prayer.

O'Dea sits at the end of a 5-mile goat track, with bramble-covered walls on either side. It's not hard to navigate; but if you meet a body coming from the other direction, there's no room to mambo - somebody will be driving backwards for a spell.

The tower house itself is a lovely building, very similar to many of the "castles" in the area; Sparser in holdings than Bunratty, it makes up for it by being more authentic. The personnel are lovely people.

The real fun here, however, is the St. Tolas Cross and the church ruins 'round back. Most of what you see goes back to around 1270, although there are small bits that go back to 900AD. To view them, you must cross an active cow pasture. That cows are active in. A virtual sea of cow poop, unavoidable. That wouldn't stop Indiana Jones, so it won't stop you, travel adventurer.

A little research will enrich your experience of the place; here are some highlights:

1) The church and roundtower were built in the 11th Century. Judging from the radius of the roundtower base, it would have been one of the tallest in the country when it was whole.

2) The church was rebuilt in the 12th Century, and the cross was added to honor St. Tolas, who supposedly founded the original monastery in the 8th Century.

3) The whole church is a puzzle. The famous door in the wide wall was originally in the short wall; the arched window section was added entirely in the 14th Century - if you look carefully, you can see the seam between the original walls and the new section. It was added as a chapel to memorialize the wife of the last owner of Dysert O'Dea.

4) The rear wall is doubled; you can see the added width from the outside rear. This is an addition, but I don't know when.- just sometime after the 14th Century addition.

5) Walk to the back of the roundtower to note the cannon damage - Cromwell used it as target practice. In 1790, an attempt to secure the remains of the tower brought to light the original tower bell; it was sold in Corofin to provide a new bell. The original bell went from Corofin to Limerick - beyond that, I don't know.

Really great, solid history here: one of the more authentic experiences you can have in Clare, if you bring what you need to interpret it yourself. Definitely recommended.
Written February 15, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Terry M
Winchester, UK9 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
Not sure what's happened since the last reviews in 2019. Certainly would not recommend travelling far to see the castle now - it looks as if nothing has been done to maintain the place for some time. Most of the information inside the castle was faded or water damaged, and most of the displays could do with a re-vamp and clean up. No refreshments either, apart from a hot drinks made by the attendant with a kettle. Castle and surrounding archaeological sites were interesting but have obviously suffered from a lack of upkeep in recent years.
Written June 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Frank Nell
Hamilton, Canada1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Couples
A great way to start our Burren trip. There’s a fair amount to see but it won’t take hours out of your day. There’s a nice size car park so you shouldn’t have any issues even on busier days. Admission was a perfectly reasonable 5 euros per person.

You definitely get the bang for your buck. The castle is beautifully restored and there’s plenty to keep your attention. Despite being on a tight schedule we were able to make our way up to the roof. It was a beautiful day which made the views all the more memorable.

Tea and baked goods were available on the day we were there but we didn’t really have time to stop. The grounds are very pretty and ideal for a picnic (provided the weather is good).

The staff are friendly and the history is fascinating. What I liked the most is the authenticity of it. Some of the other tourist attractions were clearly cash grabs but this was more concerned with showing you the true history of the area. It’s a bit off the beaten track but definitely worth your time.
Written June 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ian Condon
1 contribution
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Family
What a lovely surprise. My wife, daughter and I were on a recent visit to our grwat grandparents ancestral home of County Clare. We visited the lovely town of Ennis and on our way to the burren region we took a chance on a quick visit to Dysert O'Dea castle, we found it really good value for money and a nice place to stop for a picnic. The castle itself gives you the sense of what it must have been like to live in such a place.
Written May 10, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

NHjo
Saco, ME12,038 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2017 • Solo
Didn't get to visit this on my last trip, so I braved the muddy, cow-lane path to it from the major road (which is also a narrow road but seems like a highway compared to this road). Anyway, it was worth the anxiety because the historic tower is awesome, in the true sense of that overused word. I had a quick cup of tea in the tea room, which was a pleasant surprise. Didn't go up the tower to see the chapel and other rooms, nor did I hike out to see the monastery ruins -- next trip! The day was extremely windy (enough to knock over a large tree nearby) and showery, so it wasn't conducive to the time required to further explore this little gem.
Written September 15, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maribeth C
Burke, VA52 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2015 • Couples
This was a great find on our last day in Ireland. We spent about 2 hours exploring the castle and the surrounding fields. We had a great visit over tea and scones/fruitcake with Miriam, the current keeper of the castle. She is a very lovely lady who is delighted to share her love of the castle and its environs. There's a great video which gives a good history of the castle. The pictures of the castle before and after renovation are a wonder to see. In the pasture behind the castle is a beautiful High Cross and abbey ruins. The cows are very friendly and curious; just be careful where you step! The day we visited we were 2 of only 5 visitors on the day. It felt as if we were the first to ever discover this lovely place. It is off the beaten path on the road between Corofin and Ennis. Don't hesitate to stop in. You won't be disappointed. My husband is a fruitcake lover and rated the piece he had here among the very best he's ever had!
Written May 26, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Keith C
NM63 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2014 • Couples
So much to see and unfettered access is grand. A small fee allows for a lot of education and experience into Irish history and tangible artifacts. Had a great time. I have some issues with the video presentation of the Irish "famine", but things must be kept warm and fuzzy for the wide range of visitors.
Written September 29, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Colleen R
Chesapeake, VA7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2014 • Family
It was a beautiful drive and well worth the small entrance fee. We climbed all over the small castle and were so excited to see how it would've looked in the 1400's. The artifacts and displays were wonderful. The views are excellent and it was a gorgeous walk around the grounds.
Written August 28, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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