If you are looking for a historical attraction in Galway, you might want to visit Terryland Castle, a 13th-century castle built by the notable De Burgo (Burke) family. Sometimes referred to as the ‘Old Castle’, Terryland Castle is located near the River Corrib, and it was strategically positioned to control the traffic on the river. Terryland Castle has witnessed many wars and battles throughout its history, and it has been partially destroyed by fire in 1961. However, it still stands as a reminder of Galway’s rich heritage and culture.
Terryland Castle was built by the De Burgo (Burke) family, who came to Ireland from Normandy in the 12th century. They were granted lands in Connacht by King Henry II of England, and they became one of the most powerful families in the region. They also intermarried with the local Irish clans, and adopted their customs and language.
Terryland Castle was one of the many castles that the De Burgos built in Galway. It was situated on the east bank of the River Corrib, facing another castle on the opposite bank, of which no remains now exist. The River Corrib was an important waterway that connected Galway city with Lough Corrib, a large lake that provided access to the inland areas of Connacht. The river was also a source of fish, water power, and trade. Terryland Castle was designed to monitor and control the traffic on the river, and to defend the city from any attacks coming from that direction.
Terryland Castle was involved in several wars and battles throughout its history. In 1641, during the Irish Rebellion against English rule, the castle was garrisoned by Irish Catholic rebels who fought against the Protestant settlers and soldiers. In 1652, during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, the castle was besieged and captured by the forces of Oliver Cromwell, who confiscated the lands and properties of the De Burgos and other Catholic families. In 1691, during the Williamite War between King James II and King William III, the castle was defended by a joint force of Irish and French troops who supported James II against William III. The castle was attacked by William’s army, but it managed to resist until Galway city surrendered.
In 1961, Terryland Castle was destroyed by fire, leaving only its ruins standing. The cause of the fire is unknown, but some speculate that it was arson or vandalism. The castle has never been fully restored or rebuilt since then, but it has been subject to some conservation works in recent years. In 2010, an archaeological excavation was carried out at the site, which revealed human remains and artefacts dating back to medieval times. These included a knife, a buckle, a hollow scraper tool, and some prehistoric stone tools. In 2018, some structural repairs were done on the castle walls to prevent further deterioration. The castle is now owned by Galway City Council, who plans to make it more accessible and attractive for visitors in the coming years.
Terryland Castle is a fascinating historical attraction that offers a glimpse into Galway’s past. It is one of the oldest surviving structures in Galway city, and it has a lot of stories to tell. You can admire its architecture and design, learn about its history and significance, and imagine how it looked like in its heyday. You can also enjoy its scenic location near the River Corrib, where you can see wildlife and nature.
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