Mannin Castle, also known as Ballymannin Castle, is a historic tower house located near the village of Craughwell in County Galway. The castle was built by the De Burgo (Burke) family, one of the most powerful Anglo-Norman families in Ireland, who ruled over large parts of Connacht and Munster from the 13th to the 17th centuries. The castle is believed to have been constructed in several stages, possibly starting from the late 14th or early 15th century. It is one of the many castles that dot the landscape of Galway, reflecting the turbulent history and rich heritage of the region.
The castle consists of a rectangular main building with four corner towers and a projecting wing on the south side. The main entrance is on the east side, protected by a machicolation (a projecting stone structure with openings for dropping stones or boiling liquids on attackers). The interior of the castle features a spiral staircase and a tier of large mural chambers (rooms within the thickness of the walls). The castle also has a bawn (a walled enclosure) and a gatehouse on the north side. The castle is surrounded by farmland and woodland, offering scenic views of the countryside.
The history of Mannin Castle is not well documented, but it is likely that it was involved in some of the conflicts and rebellions that plagued Ireland during the medieval and early modern periods. The De Burgo family was often at odds with the native Irish clans, such as the O’Flaherty, O’Kelly and O’Shaughnessy, as well as with other Anglo-Norman families, such as the Fitzgerald and Butler. The castle may have changed hands several times, either by force or by marriage, until it was eventually abandoned or destroyed in the 17th or 18th century.
Today, Mannin Castle is a ruin, but it still retains some of its original features and charm. It is privately owned and not open to the public, but it can be seen from the roadside or with the landowner’s permission. The castle is a testament to the rich and complex history of Galway and Ireland, and a reminder of the legacy of the De Burgo family.
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