Visit Dunguaire Castle near Kinvara

Dunguaire Castle is a small 16th century "tower house" located near the scenic fishing village of Kinvara in the southeast corner of Galway Bay in the West Region of Ireland.

Dunguaire Castle© Patricia McKinney-Lins

The setting for the castle is a lovely rocky promontory on the bay. The day I visited was a nice spring day. I bought a snack in a small shop in Kinvara where you can get sandwiches, coffee and tea and also purchase beautiful handmade jewelry. I ate my sandwich outside the shop near the small harbor where boats are anchored.

Kinvara Harbor near Dunguaire Castle© Patricia McKinney-Lins
Kinvara-Ireland-Shop© Patricia McKinney-Lins

The castle is a tower house, which is a fortified residence built for "gentlemen" or farmers between 1450 and 1650. This period was relatively peaceful in Ireland, but the wealthy farmer or landlord would have built the tower house to have the latest housing style.

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Dunguaire Castle Furnished Room© Patricia McKinney-Lins

The condition of Dunguaire Castle is excellent. The rooms are nicely furnished. Guided tours and medieval banquets with Irish literature readings, song and dance are regularly held.

When you tour the castle, you can go up to the top for a view of the countryside and of the town of Kinvara.

Dunguaire Castle View© Patricia McKinney-Lins

The castle's name is taken from the ancient fort of Guaire, the King of Connaught who died in 662 A.D. The orginal fort is probably in the headland just east of the castle.

Dunguaire Castle was built in 1520 by descendants of Guaire named O'Hynes. The castle was owned by the Martyns of Galway in the 17th century. Richard Martyn, the mayor of Galway, lived in the castle until 1642. His family, the Martyns of Tulira Castle, owned the castle until 1924.

Dunguaire-Castle-Ireland© Patricia McKinney-Lins
Dunguaire-Castle-Door© Patricia McKinney-Lins

Oliver St. John Gogarty, the famous surgeon and writer, bought the castle in 1924. Although he never lived there, he held meetings with other literary figures such as W.B.Yeats, his patron Lady Gregory, George Bernard Shaw, Edward Martin an J.M. Synge. Christobel Lady Ampthill bought the castle in 1954 and finished the restoration.

Later the castle became the property of Shannon Development and is operated by Shannon Heritage. Displays in the castle give a view of life starting in 1520.

This majestic castle is located 300 yards from Kinvara Village on the coast road towards Galway.

From Shannon Airport or Limerick take Galway Road N18 through Ennis and through Gort. Take a left at the Village of Ardrahan and continue to Kinarva. The total distance is 75 km.

From Galway take the Gort/Limerick Road N18 from the city through Oranmore and Clarinbridge to Kilcolgan. Turn right and continue to Kinvara. The total distance is 27 km.

Here is a map of the Dunguaire Castle area:

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