Tullokyne Castle is a five-storey tower house that dates back to the 16th century and has a rich and intriguing history. Tullokyne Castle was built by the O’Flaherty clan, who were the rulers of West Connacht and the islands of Lough Corrib. The O’Flahertys were known for their fierce resistance to the English invaders and their alliance with the O’Malleys, another powerful seafaring clan. The O’Flahertys built several castles around Lough Corrib, including Aughnanure Castle, Hen’s Castle and Tullokyne Castle.
Tullokyne Castle is believed to have been built by two sisters of the O’Flaherty clan, who wanted to live close to each other. According to legend, the sisters used to rant to each other from their own windows, which earned the castle the nickname of ‘The Hag’s Castle’. Another version of the story says that the sisters were actually two witches who practiced their dark arts in the castle.
The castle was recorded as being held by Murtagh O’Connor, a descendant of the O’Flahertys, in 1574. He was one of the last Irish chieftains to surrender to Queen Elizabeth I and accept her authority. He was granted a pardon and allowed to keep his lands and castles, including Tullokyne.
Tullokyne Castle survived the turbulent times of the 17th century, when many Irish castles were besieged and destroyed by Cromwellian forces. However, it met its demise in 1839, when a great storm knocked down the sister castle and caused considerable damage to Tullokyne. The castle was abandoned and left to decay ever since.
Today, Tullokyne Castle is a ruin with only the west wall standing to its original height. The rest of the walls are crumbling and overgrown with vegetation. The castle is located on private land near Moycullen, a village about 10 km from Galway city. It is not open to the public, but it can be seen from the roadside or with the landowner’s permission.
The castle is a reminder of the rich and turbulent history of Galway and its people. It is also a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the medieval builders who erected such impressive structures in harsh conditions.
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