Aughnanure Castle, Oughterard. County Galway   1480

Aughnanure Castle is one of the grandest fortified tower houses in Ireland and is one of 200 built in county Galway alone. It has 6 floors, a banqueting hall and an underground stream that was used for bringing supplies in right up to the fortified gates. This was the stronghold of the O’Flaherty Clan whose family motto was ‘Fortune favours the strong’. The O’ Flaghertys were the rulers of this entire region before they were ousted from Galway by the Normans in 1256. They spent the next 400 years terrorizing and attacking the people of Galway from this base as they would not accept subjugation. 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, also lived in this castle for a period of time when she married Donal O’Flagherty in 1546. Aughnanure means ‘The Field of Yews’ in Irish and one of these specimens still remains within the castle grounds.