Kilkenny Castle: A Regal Encounter with History
- Ireland's Ancient East, Kilkenny, Things to do
- 22 March 2023
A Journey into the Past: Aughnanure Castle, Connemara's Historic Jewel
Uncover tales of power and piracy at Aughnanure Castle, Connemara's historical gem.
Enveloped in the ethereal beauty of Connemara, Aughnanure Castle proudly stands as a testament to the region's vibrant history. Situated along the serene shores of Lough Corrib, this six-story tower captivates with its formidable structure and the rich legacy of its former inhabitants, the O'Flaherty clan.
Constructed by the O'Flahertys in the 16th century, the castle paints a vivid portrait of power and fortitude that harks back to a time of familial allegiances and territorial claims. These ancestral roots find expression in the family's motto, 'Fortune favours the strong'. The castle was a key stronghold of the O'Flaherty family, who maintained an iron grip over western Connacht for three centuries.
One of the most riveting chapters in the castle's history unfolded in 1546, when Donal an Chogaidh O'Flaherty married Grace O'Malley, the famed Pirate Queen also known as Granuaile. This union forged a potent alliance between the O'Flaherty's of Connemara and the O'Malley's of Mayo, encapsulated in the O'Malley family motto, 'Powerful by land and by sea'.
Visitors today can explore the remnants of the castle's past glory, including the remains of the banqueting hall, a watchtower, an unusual double bawn, bastions, and a dry harbour. These ruins resonate with tales of a bygone era, further enriched by the presence of three species of bats that now call the castle home.
Though Aughnanure Castle fell into disuse and was gradually reduced to ruins, its significance remained undiminished. The castle's Gaelic name, 'Caisleán Achadh na nlubhar', translates to 'the field of the yews', a poetic allusion to its idyllic setting near Lough Corrib.
After various instances of capture and reclaim during the tumultuous Cromwellian invasion, the castle changed hands from the Earl of Clanrickard to Lord St George due to mortgage foreclosure. Today, it is managed by the Office of Public Works, the Irish State body responsible for national monuments and historic properties.
Envelop yourself in the compelling narrative of the castle and its environs. Just a stone's throw away, you can also discover more local wonders. Engage in a leisurely exploration of Connemara's stunning landscapes, visit the picturesque town of Oughterard, or embark on a fishing adventure on Lough Corrib. For those interested in cultural excursions, a trip to the quaint villages of Clifden or Roundstone promises rewarding insights into local life.
Venture into the heart of Ireland's West, and immerse yourself in the unforgettable experience that is Aughnanure Castle. Walk the paths of powerful clans, relive the tales of an indomitable pirate queen, and take a moment to appreciate the tranquil beauty that surrounds you. A visit to Aughnanure Castle is more than a mere tourist stop – it's a journey back in time, a celebration of resilience, and a communion with nature.