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It is located on the western shore of Lough Derg, just north of Killaloe. The village has a population of about 200 people and there are approximately 50 houses in Carrigaholt. The castle was built by the O'Brien family in 1250 AD but fell into disrepair after being attacked by Cromwellian forces during their campaign to conquer Ireland for England in 1653. It was restored between 1875 and 1877 at a cost of £10,000 (equivalent to €1 million today). In 1966 it became part of Shannon Heritage as an interpretive centre with exhibitions on local history; including that relating to the Great Famine which occurred between 1845-1852 when over 1 million Irish died from starvation or disease caused by poverty brought about through British rule; or emigrated seeking relief from such conditions abroad.