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Aughnanure Castle Visit

Aughnanure Castle is in the top five of our favourite castles in Ireland.

It is one of the few castles still existing that were built by Gaelic chieftains. 

castles of Ireland, County Galway

Although built in the tower house style which had become the ‘done thing’ by the 15th century, it is very unique in design and finish.

defensive stairway at an Irish castle

Narrow defensive stairway at the castle. Note the roughness in the finish of the cut stone work, and compare to other castles such as Dunguaire castle.

This castle is managed by the OPW (Office of Public Works). Call beforehand if you would like to take advantage of a guided tour.

What Can You Expect To See At Aughnanure Castle?

There is a well preserved gate house, bawn wall and keep. In the keep there is a small permanent exhibition around the castle's history and surrounding issues such as national and local history of the time.

castles of Ireland, County Galway, door

The castle is built in a very different manner to how the Anglo-Normans built their castles, compare Athenry Castle or Claregalway Castle. Find out more about the castles features and history here.

Directions

Aughnanure Castle is located approximately 2 miles outside the small town of Oughterrard. Coming from Galway and heading for Ougtherrard as you are coming close to the town look out for a signpost on the right for Aughnanure Castle.  Follow this sign past the golf course which will be on your left and after about a half a mile look out for a turn on the right that will take you to the castle’s car park.

Opening Times And Prices

Aughnanure Castle is open only for six months of the year between early April  and late October daily  from 9.30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Prices are very reasonable at 3 Euro per adult and 1 Euro for children over the age of 6.

Facilities

There are toilets which are basic but clean. The castle does not have a coffee shop.

There is access for wheelchair users into the castle grounds, but not into the upstairs of the keep.

There is a small book ad souvenir shop at reception but come prepared as you will have to pay in cash. The OPW do not accept card payments.

Our Opinion

The OPW brand Aughnanure as the ‘only castle in Connemara’ but it is so much more than that. Aughnanure is the unique heritage of the old way of life of the Gaelic tribes which more or less came to an end with the Tudor conquest in the late 16th century when many chieftains were pressurized, manipulated or seduced into the ‘surrender and re-grant’ scheme making them subjects of the English Crown.

castles in Ireland, County Galway

Aughnanure makes for a great castle visit for the whole family. It is set in a beautiful landscape. The setting of the castle on top of a low rock cliff is very dramatic.

Suggestion for improvement? Well, some genuine or recreated medieval furniture in at least a couple of the rooms of the castle would help visitors greatly to get a sense for what medieval castle life was like.

Read about the castle's history here.

castles of Ireland, County Galway, garderobe

A bit of Irish humour of the pre-teen variety- my family enjoying a collective medieval garderobe experience at the castle.

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Our Special Tips

No 1

Take your time at Aughnanure Castle. Many visitors just come and go as they are heading on into Connemara.

On a fine day, stay for a couple of hours just taking in the special atmosphere. In the bawn, there is plenty of space even on a busy day- so if you are bringing kids they can run around and play.

There are a few hidden corners to explore, such as the watch towers and the remnants of the banqueting hall, and there is a long flat stretch of the bawn wall where you can sit and have a picnic.

No 2

If you have more time to spare, head on to Glengowla Mines which are located about 3 miles on the Connemara side of Oughterard. These are old lead and silver mines and an entertaining tour there is great fun for kids.

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