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ADVENTURE

CENTRAL IRELAND
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Great Castles of Ireland

Dunguaire Castle

Kinvara, County Galway

  FIRST IN A SERIES

MORE IRISH CASTLES:     BUNRATTY      CAHIR      CRAGGAUNOWEN      KNAPPOGUE      ROCK OF CASHEL  

  BRITISH CASTLES  

THIS ARTICLE 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 I’ll 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 Ireland’s
Dunguaire Castle — is 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 Ireland’s 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 O’Hynes 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

Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara, County Galway, Ireland. Photo  Home At First.
DUNGUAIRE CASTLE
photo HOME AT FIRST

Dunguaire and used it for cultural meetings for W. B.
Yates, George Bernard Shaw, Sean O’Casey 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 1910’s 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.

MEDIEVAL BANQUET EVENINGS:

          Evenings at 5:30PM and 8:45PM from mid-April through 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 change. BOOK ON-LINE.
 


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.

— VISIT DUNGUAIRE CASTLE —
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: IRELAND
 
Home At First offers travel to four great regions of Ireland. Have your own cottage in
CENTRAL IRELAND, SOUTHERN IRELAND, NORTHWESTERN IRELAND, OR NORTHERN IRELAND.
Minimum rental is one week, and you can mix and match with other
Home At First destinations
throughout
ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, and WALES. Or, for complete information about travel with
Home At First to Britain & Ireland, see: BRITISH ISLES.

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WE KNOW IRELAND