Aughnanure Castle is a 16th century tower house built by the O’Flaherty family, one of Connacht’s most notable families at the time. Aughanure translates to “the field of the yews” from the Irish, Achadh na nlubhar.
The O’Flaherty’s possessed the castle until 1572, where it was then captured by Sir Edward Fitton, the then president of Connacht. The castle was in recognition of ‘The Crown’ and was used to blockade Galway during the Cromwellian invasion. Shortly after, the castle was handed over to the Earl of Clanricarde where it was then eventually reclaimed by the O’Flahertys. The castle also passed hands to Lord St George as part of a foreclosure of a mortgage.
The castle itself stands on a rocky island and is a well-preserved example of an Irish tower house featuring the remains of a banqueting hall, a watch tower, an unusual double bawn and bastions and a dry harbour. Outside the castle are two courtyards, one which is an original courtyard and one which would have been added at a later period.
The castle has a well-known fable that it once consisted of a trap door where unwelcome guests could be dropped into the river flowing below the courtyard.