The History of Kilronan Castle
You can sense the history here: Kilronan comes from the Gaelic ‘Cill Ronain’ which means Ronan’s Abbey, the ruins of which are close by, as well as St. Ronan’s Holy Well and the hallow stone he used for the baptism of his followers. The original castle was built in the early 1800’s and belonged to Colonel King Tenison.
The Tenison family originated in Oxfordshire in the era of Edward I but fought with the Irish Brigade in France and on behalf of The Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie. Their colourful history continued through involvement in the Peninsula Wars in Spain and Portugal. They were represented at The Battle of Waterloo where Napoleon was finally defeated and served as members of The Irish Guards in the Boer War. One was a close friend of the poet John Milton.
Most generations tended to squander their inheritances but then they or their sons would marry an heiress and their fortunes would bloom again. When Lord Brookborough was Governor General of Ireland it was reckoned that Kilronan Demense was the best shoot in Ireland. In one four day shoot it is said that they shot almost three thousand pheasants. Nearby Lough Allen is the first lake on the Shannon system and one which the Norsemen used to access the rich heritage of Ireland.
It was extended by the 12th Earl of Kingston in 1876 with a five storey over basement baronial tower and battlements. During the Edwardian period, the Earl and Countess of Kingston enjoyed the estate until political and social change saw the closure and sale of Kilronan and other country estates both in Ireland and abroad. Despite limited transient ocupations (by a religious order at one time and the Free State Military), the castle for the most part remained unoccupied where the roof was removed in the 1950's as was similar with many period properties in an attempt to mitigate taxation. Dereliction of the castle accelerated significantly during the last fifty years and in 2004 all that remained were the perimeter walls when same was purchased by the Hanly Group.
In 2006 a significant restoration project was carried out by Albert & Alan Hanly of the Hanly Group. This manifested in the rejuvenation of Kilronan Castle into the luxury hotel it is today combined with the sourcing and procurement of many antique fixtures and fittings to include original paintings of some of the extended members of the Tenison family. Historians & Curators were commissioned where attention to detail and the sensitive selection of interior design and materials were the order of the day.
Roscommon was famous for music in ancient times and Ireland’s greatest harpist, Turlough O’Carolan, is buried nearby. He was welcomed into the castles of Irish Chieftains like the O’Rourkes of Breifne and his music will live on in special events p lanned for Kilronan.
This scenic lake has three ancient "crannogs" or lake dwellings. An information board displays the wealth of wildlife around the lake. There is a good picnic facility at the first amenity area and a children's sport facility at the outer amenity area.
Archaeological excavations of crannogs have shown that dwelling houses occurred on them during the period of usage. Wooden palisades around the edge of crannogs provided additional defence for the people living on them.
True crannogs really began to be built in Ireland at the Early Christian period around the 5th or 6th centuries A.D. Some crannogs appear to have been occupied until as late as the 17th century.