Doonagore Castle was built in the 16th century, on the site of a castle which had stood since the 1300s. Most castles around this time were built with limestone, however Doonagore Castle was built with sandstone sourced from a quarry in nearby Trá Leachain (‘Flaggy Beach’).
The castle was granted to Sir Turlough O’Brien of Ennistymon in 1582 after it was surrendered to the British Crown.
During the retreat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, one of the fleeing Spanish ships was shipwrecked off the coast and 170 survivors were captured by the High Sherriff of Clare, Boetius Clancy, and hanged at both Doonagore Castleor on a nearby Cnocán an Crochaire (‘Hangman’s Hill’).
The castle had started to fall into disrepair by the early 1800s, and was repaired by Counselor Gore. Around this time the castle gained the name ‘Gores Castle’. Although the family carried out further work in the early 1800s, it had deteriorated again by the middle of the 19th century. In the 1970’s, it was restored by architect Rex MacGovern for an American buyer named John Gorman who made his money in the cigar business. The castle is still owned by the Gorman family.