Dunguaire Castle

Dunguaire Castle
Kinvarra, Galway, Ireland.

Dunguaire Castle was constructed for the O’Hyne family during the sixteenth century on a site claimed to have been the fort of Guaire, a 7th century king who was renowned for his hospitality and his generosity.

The imposing 75 foot tower house, coupled with it’s picturesque location, attracted the attention of surgeon and writer, Oliver St. John Gogarty who purchased it in 1924. Gogarty began restoration works, transforming it into a meeting place for literary greats including George Bernard Shaw, Lady Gregory, J.M Synge and W.B. Yeats. Today the castle is owned and managed by Shannon Heritage and is open to the public.

Although ties to this actual site are tenuous, according to folklore, King Guaire laid on generous feasts for his men. A holy man was observing a fast with a fellow monk in the mountains. When the fast was complete, and observing that his companion was ailing from starvation, the holy man prayed for food. As he did so, the feast laid out for the king and his men rose from the tables and floated away. They followed the floating feast to a cave where the monks were waiting and were stopped in their tracks from advancing further. Once the monks had eaten, the king pleaded for forgiveness and it was this experience that lead to his enduring generosity to all thereafter. Another story tells of how the king’s skeletal hand rose from the earth with a coin for a beggar he had often helped in life. Of course, these are stories and we have no way of verifying them!

The banquets that take place at the castle today are in deference to the ancient King’s hospitality. Friendly and hospitable spirits are said to dwell at the castle, and folklore has it that if someone asks a question at the castle entrance, they will receive their answer later that day. It’s worth a try!

Venue Name
Dungory West, Kinvarra, Galway, Ireland

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