Galway’s history and heritage through its majestic castles

Galway, Ireland has some of the oldest castles in the world and each one brings its own history to life. Visitors can discover Galway’s rich cultural heritage through interesting interactive tours with informative discussions led by experienced guides. Tours cover topics such as the wars between local clans, the historical leaders who shaped Galway’s destiny, and the stories of battles won in these ancient Irish lands. A visit to one or more of these majestic Galway castles is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Marvel at the splendour of Merlin Castle

If you’re looking for historic places to visit in Galway, you must include Merlinpark Castle. Built in the early 12th century by Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair and occupied by the Lynches (Ó Loingsigh) in the 16th century, this tower house and national monument is still in remarkable condition after more than eight centuries. Located 4km (2½ miles) north-east of Galway city centre, this medieval castle remained habitable until the mid-19th century, making it one of the best preserved structures of its kind. Whether you are a history buff or simply enjoy Irish culture, Merlinpark Castle is an impressive must-see when visiting County Galway.

Discover Oranmore Castle National Monument

There are many places to visit in Galway and Oranmore Castle is a must. This 800 year old national monument stands on one of the historic coves in Galway Bay, 9km from the city centre, well served by regular bus, train and taxi services. Built in the 15th century, the castle has seen many struggles during its existence, the most notable being the Irish Confederate Rebellion which was resisted by the Clanricardes family who owned Oranmore Castle at the time. Visit this imposing relic of history and see what life was like centuries ago!

Enjoy the sumptuous architecture of Claregalway Castle

Places to visit in Galway would not be complete without including Claregalway Castle. Built in the 1440s by the De Burgo family, this defensive fort was strategically placed at the top of a crossing point on the River Clare to control land and sea trade routes. It had a high defensive wall (bawn), an imposing gatehouse and a moat. It has also been immortalised in Irish history as part of the Battle of Knockdoe in 1504, one of the largest pitched battles in medieval history, with some 10,000 combatants. On the eve of the battle, Chief Ulick Finn Burke stayed at the castle and enjoyed his evening drinking and playing cards with his troops. Sadly, despite hoping for victory, Burke’s family lost at Knockdoe, but his legacy remains via Claregalway Castle which still stands today – a great place to visit on a Galway holiday!

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