Castles and other heritage sites in western Ireland

Dun Aonghasa walls, ©Guttorm Flatabø/Flickr

Dun Aonghasa walls, ©Guttorm Flatabø/Flickr

There are countless heritage sites and numerous castles all over Ireland which contribute to its special, unique atmosphere. Walk through this beautiful land that is full of legend, mythology and history. Visit medieval castles and ruins, long forgotten and abandoned places, abbeys and prehistoric forts. Learn about Irish history and mythology by entering the walls which witnessed them. Most of these castles and houses were built during the 12th or 13th century and today stand in their original place in a slightly different form for they went under several renovations and makeovers because over the years they have gone from owner to owner who changed bits and pieces.

Athenry Castle

Athenry Castle, ©Conor Lawless/Flickr

Athenry Castle, ©Conor Lawless/Flickr

The medieval castle of Athenry was built in the 13th century by Meiler de Bermingham. Originally its entrance was on the first floor that could be reached by wooden stairs and lead to the hall and the reception room. On the exterior of the doorway a fine floral carving is visible.  The castle has been changed and renovated in the 15th century when the building got a new roof, but many parts of the original building have survived during the centuries.

Aughnanure Castle

Aughnanure Castle, ©chrispd1975/Flickr

Aughnanure Castle, ©chrispd1975/Flickr

Aughnanure castle was built in the 16th century by the O’Flahertys and is located in a beautiful picturesque setting, on a rocky island near Lough Corrib. The building is relatively well-preserved and is a perfect example for an Irish medieval tower house. There are still remains of a watch tower, the banqueting hall, a bastion and a dry harbor.

Boyle Abbey

Boyle Abbey, ©nimdok/Flickr

Boyle Abbey, ©nimdok/Flickr

This unique heritage building has been founded during the 12th century by the influential family called the MacDermotts. During the 17th and 18th century the building has been mutilated because it has been used as a military garrison. Nonetheless the abbey still makes an impression on tourists and visitors. Its gatehouse which was restored now works as an exhibition site.

Dun Aonghasa

Dun Aonghasa walls, ©Guttorm Flatabø/Flickr

Dun Aonghasa walls, ©Guttorm Flatabø/Flickr

Visit the Aran Islands and take a look at the Dun Aonghasa, the largest prehistoric fort made of stone. The construction is located on a cliff that overlooks the Atlantic-ocean. The castle is enclosed by large walls made of dry stone which protected the building from attacks. Take a look at the Visitor Center which is about 1 km from the fort. Attend the tour but be prepared and wear adequate clothing and suitable shoes for you will need t walk over uneven ground. We draw to your attention that the heritage site is vulnerable and all visitors are asked to co-operate in order to protect the monument.

Leave a Reply