Aughnanure Castle is in the top five of our favourite castles in Ireland.
is one of the few castles still existing that were built by Gaelic
Although built in the tower house style which had become the
‘done thing’ by the 15th century, it is very unique in design and
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A bit of Irish humour of the pre-teen variety- my family enjoying a collective medieval garderobe experience at the castle.
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.
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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