Quin Heritage Group

Notes on Daingean Breac prepared by Michael Houlihan

Daingean Breac/Brack

This story was told to Mary O’Loughlin from Creevagh, Quin by James Meaney also from Creevagh ,Quin,Co Clare.

There was a man living in the County of Limerick and he dreamt he got money in a castle.He came to the Fair of Quin, and he was looking over at Danganbrack Castle and he said it was like the castle he dreamt of. He went over to the castle and he told the woman that was living there that he dreamt he got gold and he showed her the place in the wall. She told him to go back to Mass and to come over again. When he was gone she told her husband and he rooted into the wall and got a haul of gold. When the man came back she told him that they looked for the gold and got nothing.

Daingean Breac [Danganbrack] is a large square building with four gables and chimneys within two fields of Quin Abbey and about a mile north west of Baile Uí Mharcacháin. It belonged to the MacNamaras and remains in good preservation and, though part of the roof has fallen in, it is still inhabited. It is seven miles north-west of Six Mile Bridge.


Besides the castles of Knopouge and Fergus before mentioned, there are the remains of the castles of Ballymarkahan, Dangan, and Danganbrack. Dangan castle is said to be one of the oldest in Munster, having been built by Philip de Clare, from whom the county of Thomond has since been called Clare. It was with other possessions granted by Chas. II. to Pierse Creagh for his services against Cromwell, and still remains in the possession of the descendants of the original grantee. It was formerly a place of some strength, and was of a quadrangular form, flanked at each angle by a small round tower : from the centre rose the donjon or keep. The ruins form a picturesque object in the well-planted demesne of Dangan. The castle of Danganbrack is now in the Scott family, having, with Knopouge, been purchased from the Macnamaras, as Moriesk has more recently been by the father of Lord Fitzgerald and Vesci.

County Clare: A History and Topography 1837 by Samuel Lewis

Dangan Castle
O.S. No. 133. Long. 8º48´.W. Lat. 52º50´.N.
Of this once large and important castle on a small part remains, and that is not easily visible through the great growth of ivy and bushes which occupies the site. In Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary it is stated that the castle was built by Philip de Clare, and was quadrangular with a round turret at each corner and a keep in the middle.

It would not now, however, be recognized from this description, for only one of the turrets or bastions remains visible, and the keep is a later structure built on the west side, partly outside the original building line, and apparently occupying the site of the south-west bastion. The quadrangular enclosure seems to have been about 100 feet square, but the east wall is entirely demolished, and the south wall has been altered at different times, and what remains of it are much obstructed by fallen stones, so that it is hard to trace the exact plan. On the south-west is a square tower, 50 ft. by 40 ft. (though the south wall has fallen) and originally apparently of three or more storeys in height. It is divided into two parts by a transverse wall running north and south, each half covered with a pointed barrel vault over the first floor. A newel staircase occupied the south-west corner. In the north wall is a window of fifteenth century character.

To the south-east, and apparently largely outside the original line of wall, a large hall was built, the only remaining features of which shew work apparently of the sixteenth century. It measures 50 ft. by 30 ft.

In the north wall was a large window of which the internal splays and round rear arch remain, carefully worked in ashlar masonry. On the east wall appears a weather mold, marking the lower roof of buildings which formerly stood on the south side of the court.

The whole structure is very ruinous and covered with ivy.

Danganbrack Castle
O.S. No. 133. Long. 8º51´.W. Lat. 52º49´.N.
The building is a small square castle of the type known as “Peel Towers,” and is typical of nine-tenths of the castles in Ireland. They were all built in the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries; they all used to be attributed to the English of the Elizabethan invasion, but they seem to have been so soon in the hands of the native chiefs that this proposition cannot be unreservedly accepted. They are of small size but great height, with a small door, and all but the highest storey covered by barrel vaults.

Danganbrack (a name which is explained locally as “because it was a great place for trout”) belonged in 1580 to John MacNamara.[4] The bartizans at the top corners, and the high gables and chimneys added in the late sixteenth century give it a more picturesque air than most of the type. Like all of them, the planning is somewhat complex, the passages and stairs being contrived so as to be easily defensible in case the lower storey was stormed. On the south-west and north-east corners square bartizans are carried on long pointed corbels; on the south-east this feature is round on plan, and the corbels project in successive courses, the undersides of the stones rounded. The north-west corner is plain.

The building was inhabited in comparatively recent times, and the original small windows in the lower storeys have been destroyed: on the top floor, which was the principal hall in the castle, the larger windows have only been slightly altered at the time the gables were raised; plain square lights replacing the ogee-headed ones which formerly existed.

The fireplaces, on which much art and skill were usually lavished, have with one exception disappeared, and that one is plain in design and much mutilated.

The whole is in substantial repair, except the stairs, which have been broken down to prevent access to the upper floors, and the later work on the top floors which is in rather a shaky condition.