In times gone by, the Irish castle at Claregalway was of crucial
strategic importance in relation being so close to Galway City.
Claregalway Castle is beautifully restored by private hand and is one of the most impressive Norman
Tower House Castles in Ireland.
If you are in the area, go and visit this medieval treasure.
The building looks plain from the outside, but the two large spacious and
beautifully furnished halls of this Norman Tower House are stunning. The castle tours are given by
professional archaeologists and historians. Not only will you learn about what
went on at the castle itself, but the tour will also put this in the context of
what was happening in the region and in the whole country at the time. We found
the guide very approachable and deeply knowledgeable while also being tolerant
of and kind towards kids, which is important if you have a young family.
Claregalway Castle is privately owned by Dr. O’Donoghue who undertook
a ten year reconstruction of the castle and other buildings on the grounds
starting in 2002. This involved master craftsmen such as stonemasons and
carpenters all working in traditional methods. It also involved extensive
archaeological digs. In other words- a pure labour of love by someone who has a
deep appreciation for the treasures of medieval Ireland.
An early 15th century tithe box, part of the medieval furniture collection at Claregalway Castle.
The castle is hard to miss. From Galway, head towards Sligo/
Tuam on the N17. Pass through most of Claregalway, and once you cross the Clare
River, look left, the castle is located directly on the main road. The drive
from Galway city should take 20 minutes at most, although the village of
Claregalway itself can be a bit of a bottle neck at rush hour.
The Irish Castle at Claregalway is open to the public seven days a
week from the start of June until the end of September, 11.30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The castle also hosts other events like concerts and history
lectures as well as the annual Claregalway Garden Festival at the start of
July. The castle is a vibrant part of the local cultural scene.
During the Garden Festival, entry to the castle including a
guided tour costs only a Euro per adult with kids going free. All other times,
a tour will cost 4 Euros per adult.
In the great hall
Make Claregalway a half day trip from Galway City as your base. Don’t
forget to take in the well-kept Franciscan Friary in Claregalway which is
located across the main road from the castle. Archaeologists believe that the
original settlement of Claregalway was located right between the castle and
friary. Visiting both will help you visualise medieval Claregalway.
at one of Claregalway’s two hotels to break your day before you move on.
Before you go, follow an attackers
journey as they try to conquer this fortress, and read about the castle's bloody history.
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