Oughterard, Co. Galway
This majestic castle which was the home of the "Ferocious O'Flaherty's" is two miles south of Oughterard. It was built around 1500. The O'Flaherty's were a wild Irish clan who were masters of West Connacht - the area between Lough Corrib and the sea - up to the 16th century. The O'Flaherty's did not take kindly to the Normans who settled in Galway from the late 1300's, regarding them as enemies. They frequently attacked the settlers, who had to build walls around the city to keep them out. This led to the saying "From the ferocious O'Flahertys good Lord deliver us".
Described as "by far the finest dwelling" upon any part of the shores of Lough Corrib, Aughanure is a well preserved example of a six story Irish tower house.
Athenry, Co. Galway
Athenry castle is a three storey tower surrounded by outer walls. It was built by Meiler de Bermingham in the 13th century who was granted much of the lands of Connaught in 1235. After an attack on the castle in 1316, town walls were erected. These wall remain partially intact to this day.
This is one of Ireland's most famous dolmen. It was excavated in 1968 and found to contain the remains of between 16 and 22 adults and 6 juveniles, including a newborn baby. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the burials took place 3800 and 3200 BC.
There is no admission charge.
Kinvara, Co. Galway
Fax: +353 61 361020
Dunguaire Castle, near Kinvara was built in 1520. It was owned by the Marytns of Galway, between the 17th and 20th century. It is a good example of a 16th century tower house built for protective purposes. This picturesque castle, situated on the shores of Galway Bay, has been completely restored and it is possible to visit it during the day or enjoy a medieval banquet at night. Open daily from May to end of September from 9.30am to 5.30pm (last admission 4.30pm). Medieval Banquet twice nightly subject to demand at 5.30pm and 8.45pm from late April to October.
Ballylee, Gort, Co. Galway
Thoor Ballylee is a four story 16th century keep which was bought and restored by W. B. Yeats, who lived there from 1921 to 1929.
His residence there is commemorated by a stone tablet with some lines of verse by him. The castle now contains a museum with mementos of the poet, including the first edition of his works.
Ros Muc, Co. Galway
A small restored cottage overlooking the breathtaking lakes and mountains of Connemara, used by Patrick Pearse (1879-1916), leader of the 1916 Rising, as a summer residence and summer school for his pupils from St Enda's in Dublin. Accompanying Pearse on a visit to Ros Muc in 1915 was Desmond Ryan, a former pupil, who later wrote of the enthusiasm engendered by Pearse on his visits there: "The Twelve Pins came in sight and Pearse waved his hand here and there over the land, naming lake, mountain and district away to the Joyce Country under its purple mist". Ryan also recalled the long walks and cycle rides through the heart of the Connemara Gaeltacht and the stories told by Pearse that had been recounted to him by local storytellers. The interior, although burned during the War of Independence, has been reconstructed and contains an exhibition. Restricted access for visitors with disabilities.
Claregalway castle is located on the banks of the Clare River. It is estimated to have been built in the late 15th century on the site of an older wooden structure and served as a fortified residence and a military base.
Clonfert Cathedral is one of the oldest continually functioning churches in Ireland. It is now owned and operated by the Church of Ireland.
Originally established by Saint Brendan in 563AD as part of a monastic community, the oldest part of the surviving structure dates from about 1180. None of the monastic buildings survive.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the church is the Romanesque doorway. The heads (presumably of saints) which rest in niches bear a striking resemblance to ancient Celtic structures used to exhibit the severed heads of fallen enemies. This demonstrates the continuing influence of pagan Celtic religious belief long after the introduction of Christianity to Ireland by Saint Patrick at around 400AD.
Inishmore, Aran Islands, Co. Galway
Fax: +353 99 61009
Perched spectacularly on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic ocean, this is the largest of the prehistoric stone forts of the Aran Islands. It is enclosed by three massive dry-stone walls and a "chevaux-de-frise" consisting of tall blocks of limestone set vertically into the ground to deter attackers. The fort is about 900m from the Visitor Centre and is approached over rising ground. Access for visitors with disabilities to the Visitor Centre.
As much of the tour is outdoors, visitors are advised to wear weather protective clothing and shoes suitable for walking over uneven terrain. Please note that Dún Aonghasa is a vulnerable site. Visitors are therefore asked to co-operate with our effort to protect this monument by not interfering with this site in any way.
Admission: EUR 2.00 (adult), EUR 1 (child/student).