Anbally Castle is a 15th century castle and bawn of the Burke family. Anbally Castle, also known as Tavenagh Castle, is located near Corofin, about 30 km north of Galway city. Anbally Castle was built by the Burkes, one of the most powerful Anglo-Norman families in Ireland, who ruled over large parts of Connacht and Munster. The name Anbally comes from the Irish ‘An Bhaile’, meaning ‘great town’. The castle was part of a network of fortifications that the Burkes erected to defend their lands and assert their authority.

The castle consists of a rectangular tower house with four storeys and a projecting stair turret. The tower house has a vaulted basement and a large hall on the first floor. The upper floors were used as living quarters and storage. The tower house is surrounded by a bawn, a defensive wall with corner towers and a gatehouse. The bawn was added in the 16th century to provide extra protection against raids and sieges.

One of the most striking features of Anbally Castle is that it is completely surrounded by water in the winter months. This is because the castle is situated near a turlough, a type of seasonal lake that forms in limestone areas. The turlough fills up with water from underground springs when the water table rises, creating a natural moat around the castle. The turlough also attracts a variety of wildlife, such as birds, fish and amphibians.

Anbally Castle has witnessed many turbulent events in its history. It was attacked by MacWilliam De Burgo, a rival branch of the Burke family, in 1504. It was also involved in the Nine Years’ War (1594-1603), a rebellion against English rule led by Hugh O’Neill and Hugh Roe O’Donnell. The castle was besieged by Sir Conyers Clifford, the English governor of Connacht, in 1596, but he failed to capture it. The castle remained in Burke hands until the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in the 1650s, when it was confiscated and granted to an English settler named John Eyre.

Today, Anbally Castle is in ruins, but it still retains much of its original charm and character. It is privately owned, but it can be viewed from the road or from a nearby hill. Anbally Castle is a hidden gem that offers a glimpse into the medieval history and culture of Galway.


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Anbally Castle



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