What better way to de-stress than take a tour of one of the beautiful tower houses of Galway? Located near the shores of Lough Corrib, 3.5km from Oughterard off N59 - Oughterard to Galway road, this grey, stone castle stands as one of the many tower houses in County Galway built by large, wealthy Anglo-Norman and Gaelic families.
Built in the 1500s by the O'Flahertys, its name is derived from Achadh na nlubhar, which is Gaelic for 'the field of the yews'. This picturesque structure is one of the well-preserved tower houses that proudly speak of Ireland's heritage.
History says that muskets were not able to stop its downfall in 1572, when Sir Edward Fitton marched and conquered Aughnanure to be delivered in the hands of Morogh, a junior member of the O'Flaherty clan. Because of the damages done to it, Morogh guaranteed its reconstruction, which made Aughnanure Castle as it is today. The ownership of the castle, however, is quite unstable. It went from one hand to another, until it ended finally in the hands of its original owners. Peter O'Flaherty took final possession of it in 1952 before it was declared a National Monument. In 1963, its parapet, chimney and roof underwent restoration and is presently managed by Dúchas.
Aughnanure castle features a double bawn (inner and outer enclosures) which provided excellent defense for the castle. The inner bawn is wedged-shaped with walls placed with gun loops. The outer bawn consists of five wall towers situated at regular intervals along its length. It also has a tower house located at the inner courtyard, with a height of almost six stories. Also, remains of the castle's Banqueting Hall can be found near the south-eastern corner of the outer bawn. Its walls display a couple of windows that are beautifully adorned with stone carvings of grapes and other designs.
A visit to this wonderful site will prove to be most enjoyable, since it is open from late spring to early autumn (March 13 till the end of October, everyday, from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm). Admission fees range from €1.30 to €7.40 (family), depending on the age of the visitors. Guided tours are provided for a maximum of 20 people. The castle is off-limits to persons with disability, however. But other than that, a trip to this castle will surely put the fun in family bonding activities and would let you learn more about Ireland's interesting history.
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