Deerpark Castle is a 15th century tower house located near Kilchreest, about 30 km south of Galway city. It is one of the many castles built by the MacHubert-Burke clan, who ruled over much of Connacht during the medieval period.
Deerpark Castle is not your typical castle. It is a tall and slim tower with a small guard chamber to the right of the doorway and a fragmentary spiral stairway to the left. It has stones protruding from its west exterior, suggesting that it was either part of a larger structure or intended to be one. However, there is no evidence of any other buildings associated with the castle.
The castle is set on a natural rock outcrop, overlooking the surrounding countryside. It has some interesting features, such as a chimney inserted in an upper room in a corner, which is a later addition, and a dovecote, which is a structure for housing pigeons or doves. The dovecote was probably incorporated into the castle at some stage in its later history, perhaps as a source of food or communication.
Deerpark Castle is not open to the public, but it can be viewed from the road. It is also possible to see some traces of a field system comprising of banks, enclosures and huts in the fields to the west of the castle. These are remnants of an ancient settlement that predates the castle.
Deerpark Castle is a hidden gem of Galway’s history, offering a glimpse into the life and culture of the MacHubert-Burke clan and their descendants. It is well worth a visit if you are interested in medieval architecture and history.
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