The late medieval Dunguaire Castle has long been a popular stop for visitors. As well as holding the honour of being one of Ireland’s most photographed castles, it played an important role in Ireland’s literary revival movement in the early 20th century. Situated on a small raised knoll surrounded by the waters of Galway Bay on three sides, the castle stands on a strategic point, with a narrow causeway connecting it to the mainland. Built around 1520, it is believed to have been built on the site of the dún (or fort) of Guaire, a 7th century king of Connacht. This gives the castle its name, Dún Guaire. The 16th-century castle is thought to have been a seat of the Ó hEidhin (O’Hyne) family, who were the regional rulers.
By the early 17th century, the castle was owned by the Martyn family, one of the wealthy and famous merchant ‘Tribes’ of Galway. The Martins owned the castle up until the 20th century.
For practical information about visiting this site Click Here
Dunguaire Castle • Galway
The Later History of the Castle
In 1924 Dunguaire Castle was purchased and renovated by Oliver St. John Gogarty. He was a man of exceptional and varied talents, including medicine, athletics, and poetry, and he provided the inspiration for the character Buck Mulligan in James Joyce’s Ulysses. His reputation saw the castle became a venue for many Irish Literary Revival parties, including those attended by Lady Gregory, WB Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and JM Synge.
The restoration begun by Oliver St. John Gogarty was completed by Christobel Lady Amptill in 1954. More recently, the castle was purchased by Shannon Heritage who developed it into a visitor centre, providing a glimpse into the lives of those who lived and worked on the castle from its foundation to today. From April to October, the castle hosts regular banquets and entertainment.
Upper left: Travelling along the Wild Atlantic Way to Dunguaire • Lower left: Approaching the castle • Right: The towerhouse viewed from inside the defensive walls
Top: Travelling along the Wild Atlantic Way to Dunguaire • Middle: The towerhouse viewed from inside the defensive walls • Bottom: Approaching the castle
Dunguaire Castle Visitor Information
Rightly a popular stop on the tourist trail, Dunguaire Castle is a spectacular later medieval towerhouse set on the glorious Kinvarra shorelines.