Our list of the 5 best castles in Galway contains castles which are rich with history, artifacts and treasures which have survived through the ages.
Ireland has a long and arduous history, one which has seen it have many Kings both Irish and that of foreign invaders. Naturally with that amount of royalty over the centuries there was many castles that were built to protect them and for them to reside and rule from.
As castles were mainly built for defense and protection, they were not always the most luxurious to live in or to even look at but they stand as a testament to the Ireland of old and offer a window to the past which makes them very much worth exploring.
Thousands of castles still stand in Ireland today, and Galway itself has its own fair share of them to explore and enjoy. In this article we will list what are in our opinion the 5 best castles in Galway.
5. Galway Cathedral – Europe’s most recent stone cathedral
Galway Cathedral is situated on the banks of the River Corrib which is located in Galway city. Galway Cathedral is the most recently built of the many great stone cathedrals in Europe and currently stands as the seat of the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh & Kilfenora.
Address: Galway, Ireland
4. Glinsk Castle – the last castle built in Ireland
Glinsk Castle is widely believed to have been the last castle to have been built in all of Ireland and still stands today as proof of the truly outstanding and impressive architectural skills and styles of the Normans.
Glinsk Castle was the home of Mac David Burke who was the lord of Clonconway and was built by him in the mid-17th century, replacing an earlier castle which stood there.
Address: Glinsk, Co. Galway, Ireland
3. Ballylee Castle – once the homeplace of W.B. Yeats
Ballylee Castle is a 16th century Norman castle which was built by the family de Burgo (Burke). Ballylee Castle is famous for once being the homeplace of the acclaimed famous Irish poet W.B. Yeats who lived there with his family for 12 years between the years of 1918-1929.
The castle was restored as ‘Yeats Tower’ in 1965 and has since become a Yeats museum. The museum contains collections of first editions of Yeats’s poetry as well as containing a tea room and shop for visitors to enjoy.
Address: Ballylee, Gort, Co. Galway, H91 D8F2, Ireland
2. Portumna Castle – formal on the outside but beautiful and colorful on the inside
Portumna Castle in East Galway was built in 1618 by Richard de Burgo (Burke) who was the 4th Earl of Clanricarde. Portumna Castle is noticeable for being Jacobean in design and it stands as an impressive structure to this day as it is built in a rectangular block shape with a tower on every corner.
The Jacobean-style architecture of Portumna Castle makes the castle appear more formal-looking but if you were to step inside it you may be shocked by its geometrical courtyard and colorful garden maze known as the willow maze which contains a variety of stunning willow trees and espalier fruit trees.
Address: Portumna, Co. Galway, Ireland
1. Kylemore Abbey – number one in the best castles in Galway
Kylemore Abbey was built in 1867 and is located at the base of Druchruach Mountain on the northern shore of Lough Pollacappul and is surrounded by beautiful scenery.
There are many great areas to visit when at Kylemore Abbey with the most popular being the Abbey itself, its Gothic Church, Victorian Walled Gardens, Pottery studio, Lake and Woodland walk trails, Craft Shop and Restaurant and Tea Rooms.
Address: Kylemore Abbey, Pollacappul, Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland
That concludes our list of the 5 best castles in Galway, how many of them have you been to?