If you are looking for a unique and interesting place to visit in Galway, you might want to check out the dovecote of Oughterard. A dovecote is a structure that is used to house pigeons or doves, usually for their eggs, meat or feathers. Dovecotes are not very common in Ireland, and the one in Oughterard is a fine example of one that is still intact and well preserved.

The dovecote of Oughterard is located near the town of Oughterard, about 25 km from Galway city. It is situated on a hill overlooking Lough Corrib, the largest lake in the Republic of Ireland. The dovecote was built in the 18th century by the Martin family, who owned the nearby Ross Castle and estate. The Martins were one of the most powerful and influential families in Galway at the time, and they built the dovecote as a symbol of their wealth and status.

The dovecote of Oughterard has a hexagonal shape, which is unusual for dovecotes in Ireland. Most dovecotes are round or square, but the hexagonal form may have been inspired by the design of Coole Park, another estate owned by the Martins in Gort. Coole Park also has a hexagonal dovecote, which is slightly older and larger than the one in Oughterard. The hexagonal shape may have been chosen for aesthetic reasons, or to maximize the number of nesting spaces for the birds.

The dovecote of Oughterard is made of stone and has a slate roof. It has two levels, each with six sides and six windows. The windows are small and narrow, to allow light and ventilation for the birds, but also to prevent predators from entering. The interior walls are lined with rows of pigeon holes, where the birds could nest and lay eggs. There are about 300 pigeon holes in total, which could accommodate up to 600 birds. The dovecote also has a wooden ladder that connects the two levels, and a trap door that allows access to the roof.

The dovecote of Oughterard is not only a historical and architectural attraction, but also a natural and ecological one. The dovecote provides a habitat for various species of birds, such as pigeons, jackdaws, starlings and sparrows. Some of these birds are native to Ireland, while others are introduced or migratory. The dovecote also attracts other wildlife, such as bats, insects and plants. The dovecote is surrounded by a stone wall and a hedge, which create a sheltered and secluded environment for the animals and plants.

The dovecote of Oughterard is located on private property and is not currently open to the public, but it can be seen from the roadside or with the owner’s permission.


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Oughterard Dovecote



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