The once derelict ruins of Cloghan Castle in County Galway have been restored by a couple using local workers and materials..
A survey completed in the year 1574 shows that there were 157 massive Noman tower houses in County Galway alone. Built by master craftsmen, the towers and castles were designed to withstand every conceivable form of attack. Over the years, many were reduced to chard and rubble while others survived the ravages of time.
Cloghan Castle was bought for two thousand pounds about 10 years ago and restored at a further cost of about forty to fifty thousand pounds over the past six years. Owners Michael Burke and his wife Mary undertook the restoration work and are hopeful that many others will follow their example.
Michael Burke explains how they approached the project using expert craftsmen and materials from the local area. He would be delighted to offer help and advice to anyone considering a similar project.
It's a pity to see old castles and old ruins falling apart.
Mary Burke outlines the costs involved in buying a castle and fixing it up. Despite the headaches and heartache, the entire project she say was great fun. The biggest challenge was dampness which took three years to solve.
Now that the restoration project is complete, the castle is rented out to tourists from all over the world.
For about £200 a week, you too could live like a Norman knight or perhaps an Irish prince.
The Western Regional Tourism Organisation says that castles like Cloghan have created tremendous excitement in tourism circles. They are hopeful that several more similar properties will be available to rent in the coming years.
Brian Nolan of the Western Regional Tourism Organisation says that the restoration of castles and ruins offers a new attraction to tourists in the region.
The castles are being used as a living house to let.
Michael Burke now plans to do a similar restoration job on another nearby Norman castle which was the scene of some bloody battles and 16th and 17th century hangings.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 21 April 1982. The reporter is Jim Fahy.