If you are looking for a unique and historical attraction in Galway, you might want to visit the Old Forge Museum in Mountbellew. This museum is located in a former estate forge that dates back to the early 19th century and showcases the tools and equipment used by blacksmiths and farmers in the past. You can also explore the walled garden that surrounds the museum, where you can see the ruins of Bellew House, a grand mansion that was demolished in 1939. The museum is open to the public and offers guided tours by appointment. 

The museum tells the story of the Bellew family, who owned the Mountbellew estate and were influential in the development of the town. You can see artifacts and documents related to their lives, along with a horseshoe from Bobbyjo, a famous local racehorse that won the Grand National in 1999. You can also learn about the Mountbellew Agricultural College, which was founded by the Bellews and the Franciscans in 1904 and is still operating today.

The museum displays a variety of old forge equipment, such as a huge bellows, an anvil, a hammer, and a forge fire. You can see how these tools were used to shape metal into various objects, such as horseshoes, nails, hooks, and hinges. You can also admire an ancient flat-bottomed wooden boat that was recovered from near Eskerstephen graveyard and is estimated to be over a thousand years old. The boat was carved from a single oak tree trunk and demonstrates the remarkable woodworking abilities of the ancient people.

The museum is situated just outside a walled garden that was laid out around 1820 as part of the Mountbellew Demesne. The garden was designed to grow exotic plants and fruits, such as cucumbers, melons, grapes, and peaches. You can still see some of the remains of the greenhouses and structures that were used for this purpose. The garden also offers a peaceful and scenic setting for a stroll or a picnic, where you can admire the flowers, trees, and wildlife.

The Old Forge Museum in Mountbellew is a hidden gem that will delight anyone who loves history, nature, or art. It is a great place to spend an afternoon with your family or friends and discover more about the heritage of Mountbellew and Galway. Opening hours vary, so to find out more information, you can visit their website or give them a call.


The Square, Mountbellew Demesne, Co. Galway, Ireland

53.468294, -8.511092

Mount belle Old Forge Museum



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