HOME AT FIRST's
— FIRST IN A SERIES —
FIRST APPEARED IN MAY, 2003.
MOST RECENT UPDATE: 2014.
The classic castle, like great art, is difficult to define. Ask anyone to describe his or
her idealized castle, and you may get the same answer you commonly hear for great art:
"I know what I like, and Ill know it when I see it."
We love castles of all shapes and sizes
and all states of repair. We have our favorites, too, just like we have our favorite music
and painters. In this new series we will present castle we have enjoyed and hope our
enthusiasm compels the reader to make their own pilgrimage to these great shrines of
history and monuments to imagination.
Our first nomination Central Irelands
wonderfully photogenic, very accessible, never saw a major battle, housed no royalty, has
a pedigree dating to ancient Celtic clans, and, a century ago, contributed mightily to
Irelands literary revival. Today Dunguaire Castle remains a proponent of Celtic
legend and Irish fiction, and it invites the visitor to take part.
About half way up the
left side of Ireland, on route N67 just north of the small town of Kinvara, the dramatic
Dunguaire Castle suddenly appears just west of the road on a small peninsula jutting into
Galway Bay. Few castles in Ireland or elsewhere make such a scenic first
impression Dunguaire may be the most photographed castle in Ireland.
The castle dates from the late Middle Ages,
when the OHynes clan built the fortress in the year 1520. But Dunguaire has Celtic
clan associations that go back far in the Dark Ages, to King Guaire who may or may not
have ruled the western Irish kingdom of Connaught from a wooden/earthen fort built near
the current castle in the year 662AD.
Although no important medieval history was made at Dunguaire, the castle has contributed
mightily to Irish history and culture. In the early 20th century writer/surgeon
Oliver St. John
Gogarty purchased the
photo © HOME AT FIRST
Dunguaire and used it for
cultural meetings for W. B.
Yates, George Bernard Shaw, Sean OCasey and other
Irish literati. Their literary evenings fueled the Irish revival movement, a culturally
positive examination of all things culturally Irish. The movement remains most evident in
the flowering of Irish drama, poetry, and prose of the period a starkly powerful,
eloquently loquacious literature that examined, exposed, celebrated, and elevated
Irishness. The movement proved to be more than intellectual. By the late 1910s Irish
nationalists, spurred in part by the literary movement of the prior twenty years, found
strength and unity in their new Irish pride. By 1922 Ireland had divested itself of
Britain and become independent for the first time in almost 900 years.
OPEN TIMES & ADMISSION COSTS:
Dunguaire Castle now owned by Shannon
Heritage is open for visitors daily April through early October 10AM to 5:00PM. The
castle, although restored, is not furnished in medieval style, nor are there weapons or an
armory. Its primary feature is a 75-foot tall tower, which dominates a smaller tower, and
other buildings, all ringed by a stone wall. Entrance to the grounds is free. Admission
charges for the castle: 6/adult, 3.50/seniors/students, 3/children,
€17.50/family (2 adults + up to 6 children).
Prices subject to change.
Evenings at 5:30PM and 8:45PM from
mid-October, medieval castle banquets are held at the castle. These banquets provide guests
with more than mead, a traditional four-course Irish meal, and wine in a medieval setting.
Costumed entertainers continue the traditions of Dunguaire with harp music, song and
storytelling, including passages from the works of literary greats who have visited the
castle. The medieval evening costs 40/adult, 33/children 10-12, and
22/children 6-9 Reservations well in advance are
strongly recommended. Prices are lower for internet bookings.
Prices subject to
NOTE: This is
one of many day trips available to
HOME AT FIRST guests traveling to
CENTRAL IRELAND. Historical sites like Dunguaire
Castle and many other suggestions for what to see and do in Ireland are listed
in our exclusive "Ireland Activities Guide", provided only to
HOME AT FIRST guests in Ireland.
as part of your next visit to Ireland.
This article comes from
Home At First's exclusive
"Ireland Activities Guide" that comes to you as part of your trip.
Learn all about Home At First's travel programs to:
Home At First
offers travel to four
great regions of Ireland. Have your own cottage in
NORTHWESTERN IRELAND, OR
Minimum rental is one week, and you can
mix and match with other Home At First destinations
and WALES. Or, for complete information about travel
Home At First
to Britain & Ireland, see: