Aughnanure Castle is located in Oughterard in county Galway. This national monument dates from the late 1400’s and is one of the grandest fortified tower houses in the entire country and is one of over 200 built in county Galway alone. It has 6 floors including a banqueting hall and an underground river that flows right up to the gate for bringing in supplies. Aughnanure means ‘The Field of Yews’ in Irish and one of these specimens still remains within the castle grounds. This was the stronghold of the O’Flaherty Clan (who’s family motto was ‘Fortune Favours The Strong’) who were the masters of this entire region before they were ousted from Galway by the Norman De Burgo’s in 1256. They spent the next 400 years terrorizing and attacking the people of Galway from this base and have lost and won the castle many times right up to the present day as they would not accept subjegation. Galway’s citizens even erected a wall that bore the plaintive prayer “From the ferocious O’Flaherties, Good Lord protect us”! Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen of Connaught, also lived in this castle for a period of time when she married Donal O’Flagherty in 1546.