If you are looking for a historical attraction in Galway, you might want to visit Garbally Castle, the ruins of a 15th century tower house built by the O’Kelly clan. Garbally Castle was built in 1499 by Malachy O’Kelly, a member of the powerful O’Kelly clan that ruled over parts of east Galway and Roscommon. The O’Kellys were known for their fortifications and seats of power, and Garbally Castle was one of their many strongholds. The castle was situated on a strategic site near the Abbert River, and had a commanding view of the surrounding countryside.

The castle was a typical tower house, a type of fortified residence that was common in Ireland from the 14th to the 17th centuries. Tower houses were usually rectangular or square in shape, with thick walls, narrow windows and a single entrance. They had several floors, each with one or two rooms, connected by spiral or straight staircases. The ground floor was often used for storage or animals, while the upper floors were for living and sleeping. The top floor usually had a vaulted ceiling and a fireplace, and sometimes a wall-walk or battlements.

Garbally Castle had some interesting features that made it stand out from other tower houses. For example, it had a gradual batter (or slope) on its exterior walls, which gave it more stability and strength. It also had two murder holes (one on either side of the door) for protection, as well as an aperture for a door chain and an inside door-bar slot. The windows were ogee-headed, meaning they had a pointed arch with a double curve. The vaulted ceiling on the top floor still shows the marks of wickerwork, which was used as a formwork for the mortar.

Unfortunately, Garbally Castle did not survive the turbulent times that followed its construction. In 1504, only five years after it was built, it was attacked and destroyed by MacWilliam De Burgo, a rival lord who wanted to challenge the O’Kellys’ dominance. It is not clear how much of the castle was restored after this attack, but it seems that it remained in use for some time. However, in the 17th century, it was once again partially destroyed by the troops of Oliver Cromwell, who waged war against the Irish Catholic rebels. After that, the castle was never repaired and gradually fell into decay.

Today, only the north-east section of Garbally Castle remains standing, but it still gives an impression of its former glory.


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Garbally Castle



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