TAWNAGHMORE CASTLE

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Tawnaghmore Castle, also known as Turloughcartron Castle, is a 14th century tower house that was once part of the manor of Headford, and which has witnessed many events and changes over the centuries.

Tawnaghmore Castle was built in the 14th century by the O’Flaherty clan, who were the rulers of West Connacht at the time. The castle was strategically located near the border with County Mayo, and it served as a defensive outpost and a residence for the clan. The castle was also known as Turloughcartron Castle, which means “the tower of the lake of the ploughland” in Irish.

The castle changed hands several times over the years, as different factions fought for control of the region. In 1574, the castle was held by Moyler MacRichard, a descendant of Richard de Burgh, the Earl of Ulster. He was one of the few Anglo-Norman lords who remained loyal to Queen Elizabeth I during the Desmond Rebellions. He was also involved in a feud with his cousin Ulick Burke, who was the leader of the Catholic rebels in Connacht.

In 1641, during the Irish Rebellion, the castle was besieged by the Irish Confederates, who were trying to overthrow English rule in Ireland. The castle was defended by Sir Charles Coote, a notorious Protestant general who had massacred many Catholics in Galway. The siege lasted for six weeks, until Coote surrendered and escaped to England.

The castle was later abandoned and fell into ruin. Today, only a few walls and towers remain standing, but they still offer a glimpse into the past. Tawnaghmore Castle was a typical example of a tower house, which was a common type of fortified residence in medieval Ireland. A tower house consisted of a rectangular or square stone tower, usually three or four stories high, with thick walls and narrow windows. The tower house had a single entrance on the ground floor, which was protected by a heavy wooden door and an iron grille. The entrance also had a murder hole above it, which allowed the defenders to drop stones or boiling water on the attackers.

The ground floor of Tawnaghmore Castle was used as a storage area for food and supplies. The first floor was used as a living room and a dining room, where the lord and his family entertained their guests. The second floor was used as a bedroom and a private chamber for the lord and his wife. The third floor was used as a chapel and a library, where the lord could pray and study.

One of the most distinctive features of Tawnaghmore Castle was its vaulted chamber over the entrance. This chamber had a pointed arch ceiling and two windows on each side. It was probably used as a guard room or a watch tower, where the soldiers could keep an eye on the surroundings.

Another feature of Tawnaghmore Castle was its spiral staircase, which connected all the floors of the tower house. The staircase was built inside one of the corner towers, and it had narrow steps and low ceilings. The staircase also had loopholes on each landing, which allowed the defenders to shoot arrows or muskets at the invaders.

Tawnaghmore Castle is now a protected national monument, and it is open to the public for free. As it is located next to a working farm, please seek the landowners permission when visiting. The castle is located near Corofin village in County Galway, about 30 km north of Galway city. If you are looking for an adventure off the beaten path, you should definitely visit Tawnaghmore Castle.

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Tawnaghmore Castle

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