Leitrim Castle is not as famous or well-preserved as some of the other castles in Galway, but it has its own charm and mystery. Leitrim Castle is believed to have been a minor fortress of the De Burgo (Burke) family, who were powerful Anglo-Norman lords in Ireland. The De Burgos built many castles in Galway and Mayo, such as Athenry Castle, Claregalway Castle and Ashford Castle. However, the exact date and purpose of Leitrim Castle are unknown, as there are no historical records or archaeological evidence to confirm its origins.

Some sources suggest that Leitrim Castle was built in the 13th or 14th century, while others claim that it was a later addition in the 16th or 17th century. It is possible that the castle was used as a defensive outpost or a hunting lodge by the De Burgos, who controlled much of the surrounding lands. The castle may have also been involved in some of the conflicts and rebellions that occurred in Ireland over the centuries, such as the Nine Years’ War (1594-1603) or the Cromwellian Conquest (1649-1653).

Unfortunately, Leitrim Castle fell into ruin and decay over time, and was eventually abandoned. It is not clear when or how this happened, but it may have been due to neglect, damage or confiscation by the authorities. Today, the castle is very much covered in ivy and vegetation, and only some of its walls and towers remain standing.

Leitrim Castle is located in the townland of Leitrim, near Loughrea, in County Galway. It is about 40 km east of Galway City, and about 10 km south of Loughrea. The castle is situated on a small hill overlooking a stream that flows into Lough Derg, a large lake on the River Shannon.

The castle is not easily accessible, and you will need to ask permission from the landowner to enter the property and see the castle. Alternatively, you can view the castle from a distance at the roadside or from a nearby church.

Leitrim Castle is a typical example of an Irish tower house, which was a common type of fortified residence in medieval and early modern Ireland. Tower houses were usually rectangular or square in shape, with four or five storeys and a projecting turret or bartizan at one or more corners. They had thick stone walls with narrow windows and loopholes for defence, and wooden floors and roofs for living quarters.

Leitrim Castle has a rectangular plan with four storeys and a turret at each corner. The main entrance is on the east side, facing the stream. It has a pointed arch with a murder hole above it, which was used to drop stones or boiling water on attackers. The entrance leads to a vaulted basement, which was probably used for storage or as a prison. A spiral staircase connects the basement to the upper floors, which were likely used as living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens. The top floor has a corbelled parapet with machicolations (openings) for defence.

The castle also has some interesting features that suggest its age and function. For example, there are traces of fireplaces and chimneys on some of the walls, which indicate that the castle had some comfort and heating. There are also some carved stones on the exterior walls, such as a cross slab and a coat of arms, which may have been decorative or symbolic elements. The coat of arms has been identified as belonging to the De Burgo family, which confirms their ownership of the castle.

If you are interested in history, architecture or adventure, you should definitely add Leitrim Castle to your list of places to see in Galway. It is a fascinating and mysterious castle that will surprise and delight you.


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Leitrim Castle



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