Ballynahivnia Castle, also known as Riverville Castle is a 15th century tower house located near the village of Killtullagh and Craughwell in Galway . Although the castle is now in ruins, it still offers a glimpse into the medieval history and architecture of the region.

Ballynahivnia Castle was built by the De Burgo (Burke) family, who were powerful Anglo-Norman lords in Connacht. The castle was part of their extensive network of fortifications that controlled the lands and trade routes between Galway Bay and the Shannon River. The castle was strategically situated near a ford on the Dunkellin River, which was a tributary of the Clare River.

The castle consists of a three-storey rectangular tower with a projecting stair turret on the south-east corner. The entrance was on the east side, protected by a machicolation (a projecting stone structure with openings for dropping stones or boiling oil on attackers). The ground floor was used for storage and had gunloops for defence. The first floor was the main living area, with a fireplace and windows. The second floor was probably used as a private chamber or a guest room. The third floor had angle loops for shooting arrows or muskets. The roof was likely flat and crenellated, with a walkway for sentries.

The castle was abandoned in the 17th century, after the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. It fell into decay and was gradually overtaken by vegetation. Today, the castle is privately owned and not open to the public, but it can be seen from the road or from a nearby field.

Ballynahivnia Castle is one of the many hidden gems of Galway’s heritage that deserve more attention and preservation. It is a testament to the turbulent and fascinating history of the region, as well as to the skill and craftsmanship of its builders.


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Ballynahivnia Castle



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