Dunguaire Castle

Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara
Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara

Standing proudly on the shores of Galway Bay, Dunguaire Castle invites you on a captivating journey through the pages of Irish history and literary tradition. This 16th-century fortress is steeped in tales of clans, literary legends and folklore. Visitors find themselves immersed in a world where time seems to stand still and the enchantment of ages past whispers through the ancient stones.

A Castle Steeped in Literary Legacy

The walls of Dunguaire Castle have seen countless tales unfold, from its construction by the Hynes Clan in 1520 to its later ownership by the Martyn Clan of Galway. It was in 1924 when the renowned surgeon and writer Oliver St. John Gogarty acquired the castle and breathed new life into its halls. Under Gogarty’s influence, the castle became a hub for literary greats, including George Bernard Shaw, Lady Gregory, J.M. Synge, and W.B. Yeats.

Today, Dunguaire Castle, managed by Shannon Development, carries on this legacy, enchanting visitors with its rich history and connection to Ireland’s literary past. From mid-April to mid-October, the castle hosts medieval banquets, inviting guests to savor sumptuous four-course meals, fine wines, and captivating entertainment, featuring songs, stories, and poems inspired by the works of the literary icons who once frequented these halls.

A Generous Spirit and the Gift of Answers

Dunguaire Castle’s enchanting allure extends beyond its literary connections, with a generous spirit believed to pervade its grounds. According to local lore, the Lord of the castle, known for his generosity in life, continues to bestow his benevolence upon visitors. It is said that if one stands at the castle’s front gate and poses a question, they will receive an answer by day’s end.

The History of Dunguaire Castle

Built in 1520 by the Hynes Clan, Dunguaire Castle stands as a testament to the rich heritage of the region. Named after King Guaire Aidne mac Colmáin of Connacht, the castle later passed to the Martyn Clan of Galway, who held it until 1924. Oliver St. John Gogarty then purchased and restored the castle, transforming it into a gathering place for literary giants of the time.

Tours and Opening Hours

Dunguaire Castle Banquet (April-October)

Immerse yourself in a medieval feast accompanied by delightful entertainment, locally sourced food, and fine wines. Enjoy stories and excerpts designed to lift your spirits in the tradition of King Guaire.

Pricing for a Saturday night in April (as of April 20th, 2023):

  • Adult: €66.00
  • Child (4-10 years): €37.50
  • Child (0-3 years): €0.00

Dunguaire Castle Day Visits

Explore the castle during daylight hours, taking in the history and charm of this iconic location.

Pricing for day visits:

  • Adult: €7.50
  • Child (5-16 years): €5.00
  • Child (0-5 years): €0.00
  • Senior/Student: €5.50
  • Family (2 Adults & 2 Children): €21.50
  • Family (2 Adults & up to 6 Children): €32.50

Day tour opening hours: 10:00 – 17:00

Check on the official booking website for the latest times, and to book tickets in advance.

Dunguaire Castle on Game of Thrones

Was Dunguaire Castle used for scenes on Game of Thrones? Unfortunately not!

From the questions we get asked, readers often get it mixed up with Dunluce Castle which was used as the House of Greyjoy in the Iron Islands, home of Theon and Yara Greyjoy. 

Written / Updated