All You Need to Know About Dunguaire Castle, Ireland

Sonali Pimpale Jun 20, 2019
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Standing majestically on the picturesque coast of Galway Bay, near the seaside village of Kinvara, the ancient stronghold is one of the most photographed castles in Ireland!

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Dunguaire Castle, Ireland

Let’s Rewind Time a Little, Shall We?

The 1900s, the 1800s, the 1700s, the 1600s, the 1500s, Stop...stop! That’s enough! In 1520, the scions of the benevolent King Guaire of Connacht, and kinsmen of the Hynes Clan (or O’Hynes), constructed the Dunguaire Castle as a mighty 75 foot tower house with a defensive wall.

Moving On…

To the early 17th century, where the reigns of the castle fell into the hands of the Martyn lineage. Richard Martyn, Galway’s mayor, took over the castle and started adding a modern touch to it. The latter generations moved their seat of power to the Tulira Castle, leaving Dunguaire Castle to fall into disrepair.

Almost There…

Ah, the early 20th century...the latter period in the era of Irish Literary Revival. In 1924, Oliver St. John Gogarty, a renowned surgeon whose heart sang for poetry, purchased the castle and took over the task of restoring the structure to its former glory.
After the work of restoration started, the walls of this Norman castle witnessed legendary gatherings, clashes of wit, and war of words between the good doctor and literature extraordinaires like George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, Lady Gregory, J.M Synge, and Edward Martin.

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The restoration initiated by Gogarty was completed by Christobel, Lady Ampthill, when she bought Dunguaire in 1954, and breathed new life into the castle.

Home, At Last!

Today, the castle falls under the ownership of Shannon Development, and is open to public exploration. Exhibits on each floor will give you a glimpse of how the life used to be in the castle when it bustled with residents.

Eat, Drink, and Make Merry!

Feel like a medieval knight sharing meat and mead with his merry fellows at the castle’s famous banquet. Hosted between April to October, the banquet promises a fun-filled evening with your hosts decked up in old-timey costumes, a delicious four-course dinner with soulful Irish food, melodious music, and an entertaining session of poetry and storytelling.

May Lady Luck Smile On You

If you are favored with the luck of the Irish, you might even win the special Claddagh ring (a traditional Irish ring which symbolizes love, loyalty and friendship), that is awarded to an audience member after the banquet!
Apart from Dunguaire Castle, you can explore the charming Kinvara village, the sequestered Traught beach, a number of traditional Irish pubs, cozy coffee shops, and handmade craft stores too.