Lough Cutra Castle

Lough Cutra Castle Photo: Evening Star
Lough Cutra Castle
Photo: Evening Star

Evening Star 15th June, 1895 p18

(Now the Property of Lord Gough of the British Legation)
It is to one of the most beautiful estates In Ireland that the first secretary of the British legation, formerly known in Washington as Hon. Hugh Gough, succeeded, with the title of Lord Gouth, on the death of his father last week.  The domain of Lough-Cutra, which takes its name from a beautiful and extensive lake forming one of Its boundaries, is situated in County Galway, fifteen miles south of the town of Galway and about three miles from the little market town of Gort.  Lough Cutra Castle stands above the southwest margin of the lake and commands a view of unparalleled beauty.

Entrance, Lough Cutra Image: Evening Star
Entrance, Lough Cutra
Image: Evening Star

At its feet on one side is the lake, which contains every species of fish or water fowl which will live in that region. Stretching away from it in all other directions are Its most tastefully planned and beautifully kept grounds, with their trim sunken gardens, American gardens, smooth green lawns and deer park, and beyond the domain walls the remainder of the Gough estate, while still beyond that and far off In the distance can be seen the Slieve Baughta mountains.
The castle is a fine specimen of modern castellated architecture, and is altogether a magnificent residence. It was built a little less than a century ago by Lord Gort, who, having expended his fortune in building the castle and beautifying the domain, was obliged to sell it, and it was finally purchased as a residence by the first Lord Gough.

This was Hugh Gough, who gained his successive titles of baronet, baron and viscount, received the thanks of parliament, a life annuity of £2,000 for himself and his two next successors and was made field marshal, through his various brilliant victories in the wars with China and in India. It was this Lord Gough who consummated the annexation of the Punjaub to Britain and captured the famous Kohlnoor diamond, which he afterward presented to the Queen of England, He was a man of exceptional courage and chivalry, and is said to have commanded more general actions than any British officer of the century. At home, he was beloved and honored by friends and tenants for his genial and courteous manners, uprightness and nobility of character. He died in 1869 and was succeeded by his son, the recently deceased Lord Gough. who, though for some time an officer in the Grenadier Guards and served in China, was for the most part a man of quiet and simple tastes and pursuits. He spent a great part of his time at Lough-Cutra Castle, serving while there as a magistrate at the weekly sessions of the court at Gort. He had three sons, the eldest of whom is the British attache and now Lord Gough.


Round Tower, Kilmacduagh Image: Evening Star
Round Tower, Kilmacduagh
Image: Evening Star

Both inside and outside the castle are to be seen memorials of the victories of the subduer of India. Perhaps the most interesting of these are two Sikh guns, which he captured in his last battle with the Sikhs. The guns stand in the hall close to the large windows on either side of the main door of the castle. On the walls of the hall and in the library, the Gough coat of arms forms the design for the wall paper. In the coat of arms the names of many of the battles in which Lord Gough was the hero appear.

The castle throughout is richly furnished in the manner of the modern British castle. On a former visit, in 1879 to this beautiful residence, the room that especially interested its visitors was a small, simply furnished boy’s room. It was. the servitor who conveyed them over the house said, with tears in her eyes, the room of young Hugh Rudolph Gough. who had a few months previously been killed in the Zulu war in South Africa, in which at the same time the Prince Imperial lost his life.

The three magnificent entrances to Lough-Cutra are uniform in style, and the Ivy-bedecked lodges that stand guard over the iron gateways are built in the same form of architecture as the castle. Although the laying out and arranging of the grounds of the Lough-Cutra domain show care and excellent taste, it is for its great natural beauty that it is most admired, and was chosen by Lord Gough as a home. The aim in the arrangement of the grounds has been to preserve as much as possible the original grandeur of the scenery about the place.

One of the most curious freaks of nature. in the form of a semi-subterranean stream, called the Gort river, which plays a continual game of hide and seek and does its share to the beautifying of the estate and surrounding country, takes its rise in the lake at Lough-Cutra. It proceeds naturally along its surface course for a mile or two through the estate, when it suddenly decides on a downward career, and with a wild whirl in the center of a circular bed that it has for itself, named the Punch Bowl, it disappears into the ground and is not seen nor heard again for perhaps a quarter of a mile, when it appears and disappears again at once into the ground, forming a deep, dark pool, called the Black Water. Again, about half a mile farther on, it comes to the surface, and, flowing along peaceably for two or three miles, bounding on its way one side of the town of Gort, where it does the duty of a calm, useful village stream, it again plunges into the ground to reappear at some distance on, and in and out again In this fitful manner, in one place plunging into the side of a hill and coming out at the other side, until it finally disappears into the ground to flow no one knows where.

The country surrounding the Gough estate in this part of Ireland is very picturesque and. has bits of natural scenery that for pure sylvan beauty it would seem impossible to find surpassed anywhere. It is rich, besides, in curious and interesting relics of the past. The most notable memorial of the early ages in this neighborhood is the round tower of Kilmacduagh, with its circle of the ruins of seven churches surrounding it. The real use of the round towers of Ireland has never been found out, but the received opinion now is that they were employed as places of refuge to which the monks retreated with the riches of the churches when marauding Danes or other piratical invaders came in pursuit of spoil.

It is supposed that the different surrounding parishes each had its separate church here, but all used the one tower of defence against the common enemy. The tower of Kilmacduagh is the largest of the round towers in Ireland, and is in the most perfect state of preservation of any. Its construction is on the same general plan as the others throughout the country. It is a cylindrical tower of massive stonework, about 150 feet high and 60 feet thick at the base, and tapers to the top, where it is surmounted by a conical cap of masonry. For about thirty feet up from the ground the tower is a solid mass of stonework. At this height is the entrance to the first story. The door is arched and just wide enough to admit one person at a time. This story, as well as the second and third, is lighted by only one very narrow aperture. The fourth or top story has, however, six windows, from which a complete view of the surrounding country could be had. One very peculiar feature of this particular tower is that it leans at least seventeen feet oft the perpendicular.

The churches surrounding the round tower of Kilmacduagh have long been in ruins, but the consecrated ground is still used as a burying-place, and many modern gravestones stand up among the numerous sunken ones, with their mostly indecipherable Latin inscriptions, that are to be seen everywhere about, both Inside and outside of the churches.


Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate 18th November, 1905 p12

The “Westminster Gazette” says:
Viscount Gough, whose serious illness is reported from Lough Cutra Castle, Galway, is old enough to remember one of the most sensational romances of the last century occurring in his own family circle.
He was just five years of ago when John Carden, “Lord Barnane,” a Tipperary landlord, attempted to abduct his aunt, the beautiful Eleanor Arbuthnot, of Elderslie, Surrey. Miss Arbuthnot was at the time on a visit to her sister, Viscount Gough’s mother, at their residence, Itathronan House, near Clonmel when the attempted abduction, which thrilled the Three Kingdoms, took place on the 2nd of July, 1051.
John Carden, a relative of Sir John Carden, Bart., fell In love with beautiful Miss Arbuthnot, who, however, declined his offer of marriage. He conceived the foolish idea that she really returned his affections, but was prevented by her frlends from accepting his proposal. So he planned her abduction on a Sunday when Lady Gough, her sister, Miss Eleanor Arbuthnot, and other members of the family were returning from church.
The preparations made were on a most elaborate scale. He had arranged relays of horses between Templemore and Galway, 50 miles away, and in Galway Bay he had a vessel with steam up to convey himself and his expected captive to London.
The attempt, however, utterly failed, thanks to the heroism of the ladies and a couple of peasants, and help being heard approach ing from Rathronan House, the lovesIck landlord flew for safety.
Many miles away Carden was overtaken and captured and at Tipperary Assizes sentenced to two years’ imprisonmest,


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