This year’s July break is being spent in County Galway, close to Mayo. The cottage I rented via AirBnB is surrounded by fields and most of our neighbours are of the wooly variety.
While I have spent a lot of time in County Clare since I was very young I’ve never really spent time in this part of the country so there’s plenty of things to see that are new to me.
One thing, however, that I wasn’t aware of, was the sheer number of castles. There’s a lot. Originally there would have been hundreds and while many were reduced to rubble hundreds of years ago there’s still quite a few still standing. Sort of. I’ve always liked castles. So getting to see a few while on holiday is a nice bonus.
On this trip it looks like I’ll end up getting to see quite a few castles. Some are just mounds of stone at this stage, but others are in varying stages of decay.
The Irish government owned and managed heritage sites are offering free admission for the rest of 2021, so there’s no excuse for not visiting some of the really interesting sites up and down the country. That includes the lovely Augnanure Castle, which we saw the other day and was the first one we went to on this trip is located near Oughterard.
Augnanure Castle must have been spectacular in its heyday. It’s still in fairly good condition with the main keep being pretty much 100% intact. Unfortunately many of the funkier parts of it are but memories now, but it’s still a truly impressive structure.
There are plenty of other ruins of castles in various states of repair dotted around the area.
Annaghkeen castle, for example, is mostly a castle shaped mound of stones at this stage. However its location down by the water is truly spectacular.
Another castle that is remarkably well preserved is Shrule Castle which still retains a lot of the finer details of the main keep.
As we drive around Galway and Mayo I’m sure we’ll find more castles in various states so I’ll be sure to take more photos.
It’s a really attractive part of the country, so there’s plenty of things to take photos of!