If you are looking for a unique and fascinating destination in Ireland, you might want to visit Dunsandle Castle, a 15th-century castle near Athenry in County Galway. Dunsandle Castle is one of the best-preserved examples of medieval architecture in the country, and it has a rich and intriguing history.
Dunsandle Castle was built in the 15th century by the De Burgo (Burke) family, who were powerful Anglo-Norman lords in Ireland. The castle was later inherited by the Daly family, who were prominent Gaelic nobles and poets. The Dalys added an extension to the castle in the form of a manor house in the 17th century, but they abandoned it after the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. However, by 1791, the castle fell into ruin and was neglected for centuries, until it was recently restored by a private owner with the help of the architect, David Newman Johnson.
Dunsandle Castle is filled with unique architectural features that showcase the skill and craftsmanship of its builders. The castle has a great hall with tie beams, which are rare in Irish architecture of this period. The hall also has a groin vault ceiling, which is a type of vault that forms a cross shape when two barrel vaults intersect. This type of vault was first used by the Romans, but it was later revived in Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The groin vault at Dunsandle Castle is remarkable for its neat and precise construction.
The castle also has an 18th-century ice house, which was used to store ice for cooling drinks and food. The ice house is a circular stone structure that is partially buried underground to keep the temperature low. The ice was collected from nearby ponds or rivers during winter and packed with straw or sawdust to preserve it. The ice house at Dunsandle Castle is one of the oldest surviving examples of its kind in Ireland.
Another interesting feature of the castle is the bawn, which is a fortified enclosure that surrounds the main building. The bawn has a defence tower with gunloops, which are narrow openings that allow defenders to fire guns or arrows at attackers. The bawn also has remains of a moat and a drawbridge, which added to the security of the castle.
Dunsandle Castle is surrounded by native Irish woodland, which adds to its beauty and charm. The castle is no longer open to the public by access may be granted by the owner if permission is sought. Dunsandle Castle is a historic gem in Galway that deserves to be explored and appreciated. It is a testament to the rich and diverse heritage of Ireland, and it offers a glimpse into the past that is both fascinating and inspiring.
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