Corrib Connect


Aughnanure Castle

Aughananure (the Plain of the Yews) Castle lies on the eastern side of Lough Corrib, which can be found at the end of a winding road about 2 miles before Oughterard on the Galway side. It was erected by the O'Flaherties in the 15th Century. It is enclosed by a strongly fortified wall with defensive towers and is surrounded by water. From the remaining structure which has carved windows with floral devises indicating that in its day it must have been an exquisite castle. Unfortunately, the banqueting hall collapsed into the waterway beneath caused by erosion.

Wilde (1867) describes this castle as being a 'tall massive tower' that was, in his words 'by far the finest fortified dwelling upon any part of the shores of Lough Corrib".

Hayword's 'The Corrib Country' (1968) recounts a story about the castle called 'O'Flaherty's Rent'. The O'Flaherties promised a yearly rent payment to the De Burgos of Terrylaun who were duped into this arrangement. Upon non-payment it is told that the De Burgos, after 2 to 3 years sent their son to Aughnanure to retrieve the money. When the young man arrived he was treated to a feast. When he expressed the reason for his visit, O Flaherty said: "Is it payment you want?". "Sure I have it under my foot", and he used his foot to press the edge of the flagstone on which De Burgo's chair rested. The chair toppled and the young man fell into the Little Back (river) which flowed below.

The stone was called 'The Stone of Treachery'. Notwithstanding that, the young man's body was retrieved, his head was cut off and brought back to Terrylaun in a bag. The head became known as 'O'Flaherty's Rent'. The O'Flaherties were never bothered by the De Burgos again.

Go to ‘relevant links’ to the left of this article to go to images of Oughterard and of Aughnanure Castle as shown in the 'Old Galway Pics’ website.

Caislean na Circe (The Hen’s Castle)

Caisleán na Circe stands on a rock in Lough Corrib between Maam and and the Hill of Doon was a castle of the O'Connor's and the O'Flaherty's. The castle was home of the great pirate Queen of Connemara, Grace O`Malley, who lived in the time of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England. The Lord Justice, in 1225, caused Odo O'Flatherty to give up Kirk Castle to Odo O'Connor, King of Connaught; for assurance of his fidelity.

Caisleán na Circe is considered to be the oldest fortress of its kind in Ireland, and it is undoubtedly one of the best built. When first built and well-defended, with good food stores, this castle must have been impregnable. The rocks slope abruptly into the water on all sides. It is only accessible in a few places. The castle is steeped in history and legend.

An excellent account of the castle and its history is given in the link on the right.

Lady Francesca Wilde tells of the folklore associated with Hen's Castle. In her work published in 1888 entitled "Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms and Superstitions of Ireland", "Speranza" wrote the following:

 "Strange lights are sometimes seen flitting through it, and on some particular midnight a crowd of boats gather round it, filled with men dressed in green with red sashes. And they row about till the cock crows, when they suddenly vanish and the cries of children are heard in the air. Then the people know that there has been a death somewhere in the region, and that the Sidhe have been stealing the young mortal children, and leaving some ill-favoured brat in the cradle in place of the true child".

Lady Wilde also tells how legend has it that a hen and a cock built the castle in one night, but in reality it was built by the "ill-fated" Roderick O'Connor, the last king of Ireland. According to historical sources, the castle seems to have been knocked twice, once by Felim, son of Cathal-Crobh-Dearg in 1233 when he assumed the government of Connacht and finally in Cromwell's time from which time it has fallen into disrepair (Irish Tourist Association, 1943).

Annaghdown Castle

Annaghdown Castle was erected on the east shore of Lough Corrib by the O'Flaherty Clan in the late 14th century. It is exceedingly well built, and, like all the castellated remains in this district, batters gradually at the base.

The entrance, on the south face, is by a pointed-arch doorway, strongly fortified by all the defensive contrivances of the period, and the character of the warfare of the time.

To the left of the porch is a long flag-roofed guard-room and square door. Two other doorways with angle-arched heads open, one into a small chamber, and the other into the winding stone stairs that gave access to the upper portion of the building. In the roof of the porch is the usual poll-na-morrough, through which missiles might be poured on those who had so far gained access to the inside.

Eanach Caoin Castle

Eanach Caoin Castle is located on the eastern shore of Lough Corrib and is mentioned in Wilde's book on Lough Corrib.

Ballindooley Castle

The castle is presumed to have been built in the late 15th century (approximately 1480). It is a Norman castle and was probably built by the DeBurgo (Burke) Family. The first written record of ownership was to a Redmond Regough Burke. It was shelled by the British gunboat Helga during the 1916 rising. It was restored in the 1980’s and now has all mod cons.

Ballykyne Castle

Located 1.5 km east of Clonbur, it is one of a series of five fortifications. It it was originally owned by the O'Kynes but eventually passed from one Sir Richard O'Donnell to Sir Benjamin Guinness, and thus became part of the great Guinness estates.

Menlo Castle

Menlo Castle just outside Galway east bank of the River Corrib. It was built in 1569 by the Blake family originally from England. The house tragically burned down in 1910 during which three women perished. It is a very historic castle and is described in many websites.

For an extensive and detailed  history of the Blakes and the castle, click here.

Ross Castle (Ross House)

Ross Castle in on the eastern shore of Ross Lake and can be seen from the N59 as you travel towards Oughterard. It was constructed in 1539 by the O’Flahertys, one of the tribes of Galway. It was subsequently acquired by the Martin family who built the present manor house on the on the former castle’s foundation. In 1786 Wilson refers to Ross as the seat of Mr. Martin, It was held in fee by James Martin at the time of Griffith's Valuation, when it was valued at £20. On the shore of Ross Lake, the childhood home of the author, Violet Florence Martin is now open to the public for part of the year. Home of Claude Chevasse in the 20th century and later restored by the McLaughlin family, who purchased it in the 1980’s and have spent the decades since restoring it to ist present splendour. It was a virtual ruin when Chevasse resided there and the family lived in relative poverty. It is now run as an upmarket getaway and has an estate of 120 acres.

Carraigin Castle

Carraigin is described as a fortified hall-house of ca. 1300 and for the last 700 years has been a prominant landmark on the eastern shore of Lough Corrib north of Kilbeg. Despite its appearance, it was never a mere fortress, but rather and elegant home where a land-owning family  could live securely in turbulent times. For ten generation, the castle housed the decendents of its founder, Adam Gaynard III, grandson of a Norman  adventurer who had participated in the colonisation of the neighbourhood by the de Burgo conquerors in 1238. Towards 1650 another milirary adventurer , George Staunton, ‘acquired’ the castle and lands of Cargin and his decendents owned it until 1946 by which time it had been stripped and much of the stoneword used for local houses and for lime.

In 1970 it was authentically restored to its former glory and purpose using teh same matericals and techniques as the thirteenty-century builders. Modern comforts have been incorporated without detracting from the charm and grandeur of this ancient dwelling , a rage and beautiful example of the medieval ‘hall-house’.

Craobh Castle

To the north-west of the village of Corrrandulla on the Galway Headford road, upon a scarped bare rock, surrounded by a village, stand the ruins of Craobh Castle, originally square, with massive circular towers at the corners, some what like that of Dunmo, upon the left bank of the Boyne outside Navan; portions of two of these towers still remain, and are well worthy of examination. Many legends attach to this old castle, and many romantic tales of Craoibh Ní Bhúrca and her husband, George Barry, are still related by the neighbouring peasantry to somewhat the following effect: This chieftainess and her husband not agreeing, she sent him down to his fortress near Castlebar. Now, in the neighbourhood of the castle, in the low, boggy district between it and Eanach Dúin (Annaghdown), still exists the enchanted lake, called Lough Afoor (Loch on Phúir near Cloonboo Castle), where lamentations are heard in the summer twilight, every seventh year. Out of this lake, one summer's day, a young water-horse, the Each or Capall-uisge of Irish fairy tales -coming out to disport itself, was captured by the lady's retainers, who carried him off to the castle, where he was shut up in the stable for some time; but no one could be found to ride him. So the lady had to send for her discarded spouse, who was a celebrated equestrian. He came; and some green moss was tied on the eyes of the water-horse, so that he might not see where he was going. Off rode the horseman; and finding the beast willing and fleet, was unwise enough to take the covering from off its eyes, upon which it dashed forward, and slew the rider, leaving portions of him at different places, and the remainder at Leacht George (Lough George) where his leacht or stone monument was erected that has given name to the locality. It then dashed back to Loch-a-Fuar, and having plunged into the waves of its native element, has not been seen or heard of since.

Cloonboo Castle

Cloonboo Castle can be found in the parish of Annaghdown and is said to have been one of many built by the Skerrett family in the local area. The townland that Cloonboo stands in is called Castle quarter -which seems pretty appropriate).

The castle (thought to be 15th Century) is four stories high and has a partial spiral staircase on the mostly ivy covered north side. This side also has a entrance to the castle ( where signs are located warning you to stay out of the dangerous ruin).

Terrilan Castle (Terryland)

The ruins of Terryland castle were described by Wilde in his 1867 as having little architectural or picturesque interest, due in part to the removal of its stonework for the building of structures by the locals. It was reputedly one of the earliest locations of the Earls of Clanricade.

Links to information on this castle is located under ‘relevant links’.

Relevant Links