Carnelly House

Carnelly House
Eric Shaw

Carnelly House

Associated families, etc.

O’Brien, French, Ross Lewin, O’Donoghue, Stamers, Stamer, Vereker, Burton, Ioynt, O’Grady, Gleeson.


Carrowanelly (Clareabbey)


S of the main Ennis to Limerick road, 2~5 km ESE of Clarecastle.

Present condition

House: Standing. Inhabited.

Demesne: Many mature trees. Original gates and gateway standing and used. Gate lodge inhabited. Original yard and utility buildings standing and used.


Carnelly, one of Clare’s most notable residences, is an eighteenth-century, brick built, three-storey, tive bay, hip- roofed house over a basement, with a central side and fanlit Venetian style doorway approached by four steps. It faces north-north-east down a straight driveway to the main gates. A slightly lower gable-ended, two-storey, three bay extension was later added to the west. A large yard and utility buildings adjoin the rear. The reception rooms are decorated with interesting pedimented mirrors, and at one end of the drawingroom fluted columns embrace another mirror as though it was a “baroque” altarpiece. The ceilings are of fine stucco work. The windows, with their thin glazing bars, are surmounted by stone keystones, and the corners are dressed with block and start quoins. Ornamental trees and shrubs were planted in the surrounding gardens, and it is reputed that Maire Ruadh of Lemeneagh Castle (q,v.) haunts the drive!


Possibly the earliest Georgian house in County Clare, Carnelly was almost undoubtedly designed by Francis Bindon (1690-1765), and possibly built with bricks brought over from Holland as ballast. Bindon’s sister was married to a member of the family whose daughter-in-law married Charles Vereker, 2nd Viscount Gort, as her second husband, from whom descends the present holder of that title. William Stamer, of Rettendean in Essex, and Barberstown, County Kildare, died in 1637, having had two sons by a Miss Sibthorp of Dublin. Edward took over the English property, while William Stamer of County Fermanagh moved to Carnelly, County Clare circa 1640. He married Martha, daughter of William Pigott. Their son, Colonel George Stamer of Clare Castle, was the father of the infamous Major William Stamer who, in about 1691, burned Quin Abbey. He married Anne, daughter of David Bindon. She was the mother of George Stamer, husband of Honora, who was a daughter of Christopher O’Brien. There were only three more male successors. There is a tradition that, due to William’s burning of the abbey and his expulsion of the monks, a curse was put on the family that for four generations there would only be sons, and then the family would become extinct, This happened. The Stamers are stated to be of an old Saxon family long settled in East Anglia. Due to Harriet Stamer’s marriage to the Duke de Rovigo, many valuable Napoleonic and other books were stored at Stamer House (q.v.), some of which were transferred to Carnelly on the marriage of her daughter, Mary Savary, to Francis N, Burton in 1841. In 1878 F. N. Burton, J.P., owned nine thousand, six hundred and sixty-nine acrest (rateable value £4,392) at Carrigaholt and at Carnelly. There are the remains of a “giant’s grave” off the east side of the drive.  [The property is now owned by J.J. McCabe].

Weir, Hugh, W. L. Houses of Clare, Ballinakella Press, 1985

With kind permission of the author.

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