Dunguaire Castle in Kinvarra, County Galway, Ireland

Sep 5, 2013 by

indexdun ghuairecastleDunguaire Castle (Irish: Dún Guaire) is a 16th-century tower house on the southeastern shore of Galway Bay in County Galway, Ireland, near Kinvara (or Kinvarra). The name derives from the Dun of King Guaire, the legendary king of Connacht. Today, the castle’s 75-foot tower and its defensive wall have been restored to excellent condition, and the grounds are open to tourists during the summer. It is thought to be the most photographed castle in Ireland.

One of the principal towerhouses of the Ó hEidhin (O Hynes) clan, the castle was built in 1520,the site marks the royal palace of Guaire Aidne mac Colmain, the legendary king of Connacht and progenitor of the Hynes clan since the 7th century. As with most Irish tower houses of the time, defenses include a curtain wall, machicolations over doors, a murder hole, and parapet.  Archeologists believe the original dun was most likely a ring fort, the remains of which can be found on the small promontory just to the northeast of the current castle.

The castle was transferred to the Martin family in the 17th century, who let it fall into disrepair.  In 1924,  surgeon and poet Oliver St. John Gogarty purchased Dunguaire.  Gogarty began restoring the castle and established it as the meeting place for the leading figures of the Celtic Revival, such as W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Augusta, Lady Gregory, and John Millington Synge.

Today, the castle is owned by Shannon Heritage, who have opened it to the public, from April-October, with medieval banquets at the castle in the evenings. It is a beautiful spot on the Galway coast, and it is well worth the drive to see the ancient home of the legendary Kings of Connacht.

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