Exploring Castle Aughnanure

Breakfast at Pura Vida – we went mostly because it made us think of Costa Rica but also because it was highly rated on Yelp. I think their meaning is the literal one of “pure life” with their emphasis on pure, organic food. In Costa Rica, its more “the good life”. The porridge (oatmeal) was highly praised and we both got that. It was very good, creamy and rich.

Our plan for the day was to visit Augnanure Castle but first we stopped in to see an excavation being done about ½ block from our apartment. The “Hall of the Red Earl” was the original building here that was long buried by newer construction. When some renovation was being done, the remains of the 13th century building were found.  The Red Earl was Richard de Burgo, of the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family from which the surname Burke came in Ireland. This was taken over when the invading “Tribe” families of Galway took over and the hall was abandoned and built over. Once it was discovered in 1997 and excavated thousands of artifacts were discovered.

And then on the way to the car, a quick photo of my niece Sarah’s apartment when she lived in Galway.

So, a nice drive in the countryside to Oughterard to see a castle.

The horse who greeted us.

Aughnanure Castle was built by the O’Flaherty’s and this powerful family was joined in marriage with the O’Malley’s of County Mayo when Donal O’Flaherty married Grainuaile (Grace O’Malley), the famous pirate queen. This castle is a particularly well preserved example of an Irish tower house.

The watch tower next to the house

The inside is quite well preserved – the white wall were painted with lime to whitewash them and kill insects. It would be done periodically or any time the family returned to a castle.

The Irish did not have a name for a “toilet” so this was borrowed from French and called a “garderobe” meaning to “keep clothes”. The origin of that name came from the fact that to disinfect their clothing they hung them over the toilets to let the ammonia do the job. It is used now to mean a closet and is the origin of the word wardrobe!

Through the arch was the banqueting hall although it is all gone now – it collapsed when an underground river undermined its foundation.

The castle is situated on a small river near the Lough Corrib.

with beautiful scenery surrounding it

Started our drive home but there were a couple more small adventures that will be in the next post.


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