GRANGE EAST CASTLE
Grange East Castle near Cregmore in Galway is one of the many medieval ruins that dot the Irish landscape, but it has a very little recorded history. Grange East Castle is located in the townland of Grange East, about 15 km east of Galway city. It is a rectangular tower house with four storeys and a vaulted basement. The castle has a single entrance on the east side, protected by a machicolation (a projecting stone structure that allowed defenders to drop stones or boiling water on attackers). The walls are about 1.5 m thick and have several narrow windows and loopholes. The castle is surrounded by a bawn (a defensive wall) with a corner tower.
The castle is believed to have been built in the 15th century by Walter Bui de Burgo, a descendant of the Norman family that ruled Connacht for centuries. Walter Bui was also known as Walter the Yellow, because of his blond hair or his jaundiced complexion. He was a powerful lord who owned several castles in Galway and Mayo. He was involved in many conflicts with his relatives and neighbours, as well as with the native Irish clans. He died in 1440 and was buried in Athenry.
Unfortunately, there is not much information about what happened to Grange East Castle after Walter Bui’s death. It is possible that the castle was inherited by his son Richard, who was also a prominent lord in Connacht. However, Richard was killed in 1473 by Ulick Burke, the Earl of Clanricarde, who was his cousin and rival. It is not clear if Ulick Burke took over Grange East Castle or if it remained in the hands of Walter Bui’s descendants.
The castle may have been abandoned or destroyed during the Tudor conquest of Ireland in the 16th and 17th centuries, when many castles were besieged or demolished by the English forces. Alternatively, the castle may have been occupied by local families until the 19th century, when it fell into ruin due to neglect or famine. The castle ruins are located on private land therefore it is not possible to visit the castle without the landowner’s permission first.
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