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A Historic Irish Castle – Killua Castle

Situated near Clonmellon, County Westmeath, Ireland, is the gorgeous Killua Castle. From a Georgian Mansion to a picturesque ruin, this castle has had many different faces during its time. Perhaps one of its most popular times was when it was an ivy-clad, roofless ruin. While it is still beautiful, it has been renovated to remove most of the ivy.

The history of Killua Castle

Killua Castle seems to have quite a limited history. With more research currently happening, there are hopes that some of the gaps in its history will be filled in. Many people throughout time have said that no structure has embodied the significant rise and fall of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy quite like Killua has.

Many times, over the years, it has changed hands, been renovated, seen death, misery, and destruction. However, it has managed to survive long enough to be renovated and soon, it will hopefully become what it once was. A strong, beautiful, and refined castle. This castle may only have a short history, but it is expected to have a grand future.

Killua Castle with grass in foreground
Killua Castle. Source: Killua Castle.

The early history

The original Killua Castle, as well as the surrounding lands, were granted to Benjamin Chapman in 1667. He was a captain in Cromwell’s army and was given the lands after they were confiscated from the Knights Hospitallers of St. John. On his death, the estate passed to his eldest son, William. Once William had passed, in 1734, he passed it to his son, also named Benjamin.

Benjamin passed in 1770 and was succeeded by his son, yet another Benjamin, who was created a baronet. In 1780, Benjamin built the current castle we see today after he had demolished the original castle.

Changing hands

In 1810, the castle was passed from Benjamin by special remainder to his brother Thomas, who in the very early 1820s, commissioned the addition of a large round tower, as well as several other towers. These towers included a library tower, staircase tower, and back door tower. He also completed the castellation and erected the Raleigh obelisk in a nearby area.


In 1837, he was succeeded by his son Sir Montagu Chapman, 3rd Baronet, who was lost at sea off the rugged coast of Australia in 1853. Montagu’s brother, Benjamin, the 4th Baronet, ended up inheriting the castle and then passed it to his son, who became Montagu Richard, 5th Baronet.

Montagu died childless in 1907 and his widow, who was also his cousin, divided the entire estate between the four legitimate daughters of her brother, Sir Thomas Chapman, 7th Baronet. Then, in 1949, Killua Castle and the remaining 1,200-acre estate, was sold.

The current day

Until 2006, Killua Castle was left as a romantic, ivy-clad, roofless ruin. When purchased by the current owners, in 2006, it was completely renovated. The current owners are also working hard to knit together the limited history to understand what went on within the castle walls.

You may enjoy reading about other Irish castles such as Portumna Castle.

Ruined castle wall
Before the castle was renovated. Source: Killua Castle.

Killua Castle Timeline

  • 1667- The original castle and surrounding lands are granted to Benjamin Chapman
  • 1734- William passes and the castle is then passed it to his son, also named Benjamin.
  • 1770- Benjamin passes away and is succeeded by his son, yet another Benjamin, who is created a baronet
  • 1780- Benjamin builds the current castle we see today after he had demolished the original castle.
  • 1810- The castle is passed from Benjamin by special remainder to his brother Thomas
  • Early 1820s- Thomas commissions the addition of a large round tower, as well as several other towers
  • 1837- Thomas is succeeded by his son Sir Montagu Chapman, 3rd Baronet, who was lost at sea off the rugged coast of Australia
  • 1907- Montagu dies childless and his widow, who was also his cousin, divides the entire estate between the four legitimate daughters of her brother, Sir Thomas Chapman, 7th Baronet
  • 1949- Killua Castle and the remaining 1,200-acre estate, is sold
  • 2006- Killua Castle is completely renovated

Killua Castle facts

  • The castle features a library tower, staircase tower, and back door tower
  • The current owners are currently digging deep to knit together the history of Killua Castle
  • Killua Castle was the ancestral home of the Chapman family
  • The current castle is not the original
  • Killua Castle was originally the property of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John

Books on Killua Castle

  • Killua A History by Andrew Hughes (2021)

Who owns Killua Castle?

The castle has changed hands many times over the years. However, Killua Castle is currently owned by Allen Sanginés-Krause who has made great efforts to thoroughly knit together the history of the mansion. He plans to further restore the castle, however, his other plans for the castle are not known.

Tourism

After countless renovations, Killua Castle is now open and ready for visits. To visit, you must email the owners of the castle via the official website. You can explore the grounds and enjoy the impressive folly, a 19th-century Obelisk, as well as St Lucy’s Well. There are countless rare animals on the estate such as Jacobs Sheep and Wild Irish Goats.

Enjoy many Killua Castle walks on the newly built boardwalk that takes you through woodland on the lakeshore. Nearby, you can also visit Trim Castle, Causey Farm, Fore Abbey, Loughcrew Cairns, and Loughcrew Megalithic Centre.

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