Dunguaire Castle

16th Century tower house

Anyone driving the coastal road between Galway City and County Clare will be delightfully treated to great views of this wonderfully restored 16th century tower house picturesquely located on a rocky outcrop along the southeastern shore of Galway Bay near Kinvara. Although the current castle was built by the Hynes clan 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. In 1642 the Mayor of Galway Richard Martyn acquired the castle and set about modernising the building. The Martyn family remained in owership until 1924.


Looking up to the machicolation

Tower and Bawn

Castle restoration was started by the poet Oliver St. John Gogarty who established it as a meeting place for Celtic revival poets and playwrights such as W.B.Yeats and George Bernard Shaw, and completed by Lady Christabel Amptill who purchased the castle after relocating to Ireland after the second world war.

Winding Stairs

Spiral staircase


Narrow wallwalk


The interior of the four-story tower house is currently open to the public as a tourist attraction. During the summer months a Medieval Banquet with costumed performers is held nightly. Although we have yet to try the banquet, exploring the castle was well worth the stop!

Situated: Very easy. Dunguaire Castle situated on a rocky outcrop about 25 kilomatres south of Galway City on the N67.

Discovery Map 52: M 3803 1058. Last visit April 2012.

Longitude: 8° 55' 34" W

Latitude: 53° 8' 32" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

From the North East

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