Creganna Castle is a 15th century tower house near Clarinbridge in Galway. Creganna Castle is one of the many castles that dot the Irish landscape, but it has a special charm and history that make it stand out.

Creganna Castle was built by the O’Heynes family, who were the lords of Aidhne, a territory that covered most of south Galway. The O’Heynes were descendants of Guaire Aidhne, a legendary king who was known for his generosity and hospitality. The castle was probably constructed in the late 1400s or early 1500s, as a defensive stronghold and a residence for the O’Heynes clan.

The castle is located on a small hill overlooking the Moyvilla river, which flows into the Ballinacourty harbour and then into Galway Bay. The castle has a rectangular plan, with four storeys and a projecting tower at one corner. The walls are made of limestone and are about 1.2 metres thick. The entrance is on the ground floor, protected by a machicolation, a projecting stone structure that allowed defenders to drop stones or boiling water on attackers. The ground floor also contains a vaulted chamber, which was probably used as a storage room or a prison. The first floor has a large hall with a fireplace and windows, which was the main living area for the family. The second and third floors have smaller rooms, which were used as bedrooms or private chambers. The top floor has a battlemented parapet, which provided a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside and the sea.

Creganna Castle witnessed many conflicts and changes over the centuries. In the 16th century, the O’Heynes were involved in several rebellions against the English crown, which resulted in their lands being confiscated and granted to other families. One of these families was the Reddingtons, who were originally from Lancashire in England and came to Ireland as soldiers. The Reddingtons attacked and captured Creganna Castle from the O’Heynes, and made it their home for several generations.

The Reddingtons were loyal to the English crown, but they also had to deal with local rivalries and disputes. In 1641, during the Irish Rebellion, they were besieged by the O’Flahertys, another powerful clan from Galway. The Reddingtons managed to hold out for six months, until they were relieved by an English army. However, in 1652, during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, they were again besieged by another Irish force, led by Edmund O’Dwyer, who was a Catholic bishop and a rebel leader. This time, the Reddingtons surrendered after three weeks, and their lands and castle were confiscated by the Cromwellian regime.

After the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the Reddingtons regained their lands and castle, but they soon faced another challenge. In 1688, James II, a Catholic king, was deposed by William III, a Protestant king, in what is known as the Glorious Revolution. This sparked another war in Ireland, between the Jacobites, who supported James II, and the Williamites, who supported William III. The Reddingtons sided with the Williamites, but they were outnumbered and outmatched by the Jacobites in Galway. In 1691, Creganna Castle was again besieged and captured by the Jacobites, who burned and plundered it.

The Reddingtons never recovered from this blow, and they gradually declined in wealth and power. They sold Creganna Castle to another family in 1720, and moved to another estate nearby. Creganna Castle was then abandoned and left to decay for almost three centuries.

In 2005, Creganna Castle was bought by a private owner, who decided to restore it to its former glory. The restoration project took several years and involved careful research and craftsmanship. The owner consulted historical sources and experts to recreate the original features and details of the castle. He also used traditional materials and techniques to repair and rebuild the walls, floors, roofs, windows and doors. He also added modern amenities such as electricity, plumbing and heating to make the castle comfortable and livable.

Today, Creganna Castle is a stunning example of Irish heritage and architecture. It is one of the few castles in Ireland that has been fully restored and inhabited. Creganna Castle is a private residence and is not open to the public. Permission from the owner to explore the castle may be sought.


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Creganna Castle



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