Mount Callan

Mount Callan lies at the E. foot of the mountain of the same name (1270ft, the highest in Co. Clare) about half-way between Ennis, the nearest town, and the sea at Spanish Point, and 12 miles from each.

It was originally Church property and was let on a 999 years' lease by the Right Rev. Nicholas Synge (Bishop of Killaloe, 1745) to his grandson, George Synge, of Rathmore, King's Co. George's son, Capt. Charles Synge, built a small house there about 1830, called “The Court,” and lived in it till his death in 1854.

He left it to his youngest daughter, Georgina, who married her first cousin, Col. Charles Synge, and they came to live there in 1870. In 1873 they built the present house, all the materials for which had to be carted for many miles over very bad roads.

Georgina left the property to her elder sister Mary who married Robert Tottenham and their son Lt.Col. F. St. L. Tottenham, inherited it and came to live there in 1891.

It is a medium-sized house with the usual large rooms and kitchens, etc., on the ground floor, 6 bedrooms upstairs, and 5 small rooms in the basement.

The land, including most of the mountain and its summit, originally amounted to some 2000 acres; but much of it has since been sold through the Land commission to tenants and farm employees, and only 1200 acres remain. The surrounding country is undulating and treeless, except for some areas near the house planted by successive owners.

The heavy rainfall (averaging 60 inches a year) and the poor quality of the land make farming an unprofitable business, but there is good rough shooting and plenty of small trout. The mild climate and absence of lime in the soil favour the growth of many kinds of flowering shrubs. Rhododendrons run riot, and in the gardens made by Col. Tottenham flourish numerous other less common species.

Many people would find it an impossible place to live in, but for the three generations of Tottenhams who have lived there, and for many of their friends, it possesses an undeniable charm of its own.

Since 1959 the estate has changed from an unprofitable farm to a highly successful forest. Starting in 1968, on the advice of Professor T. Clear, Robert Tottenham planted about 40 acres per annum, mostly with Sitka Spruce. The growth rate has been much favoured by the local climate. Forest roads now make it possible to drive to within 400 feet of the top of the mountain.

The woodcock shooting is still excellent.