Ballydonnellan Castle is a fascinating historical site in County Galway. It was originally built as a tower house in 1412 by the Donnellan’s, who held one of the twelve ancient seats of Connacht. The Donnellan’s were the chiefs of Clann Bhreasail, a district between Loughrea and Ballinasloe. The tower house was later incorporated into a large country house in the 18th century, which was described as having bay windows, cupolas and plaster cornices.
Today, the castle is in ruins, but some of its features can still be seen. The west wall of the tower house stands over an undercroft with a vaulted ceiling and wicker centering. The east elevation of the country house has a full-height canted bay window, and part of the north elevation remains. There are also remains of outbuildings, carriage arches, wrought-iron gates and railings on the site. The castle is surrounded by a walled garden and a dovecote.
Ballydonnellan Castle is an important example of continuity from the medieval period to the 18th century. It shows how the Donnellan’s adapted their residence to suit their changing needs and tastes over time. It also reflects the skill and craftsmanship of the builders and artisans who worked on it. Ballydonnellan Castle is a valuable part of Galway’s architectural and archaeological heritage.
This was a wonderful experience thanks to the fabulous farmer who owns the land who allowed us to explore the ruins . I followed an old family mud map to the location which in itself was a lot of fun navigating major roads & small farm lanes which of course over the decades had changed enormously & met a lot of fabulous people along the way . Got to love Ireland