The History of Oranmore Castle
Galway History

The History of Oranmore Castle

This beautiful landmark outside of the city, has much more history to it than you may expect...

Oranmore Castle is said to have been built some time around the 15th century, possibly on top of an older castle. The castle, a rectangular towerhouse, has four stories, a square staircase turret, and gun loops on the bottom floor.

The Clanricardes, an important family from Galway, used it as a stronghold. In early 1642 the town of Oranmore joined Confederate Ireland in a rebellion, against which the owners of the castle, the Marquess and the fifth Earl Clanricarde, held out. Captain Willoughby, Governor of Galway surrendered in 1643, until which Clanricarde supplied the Fort of Galway from the sea.

Ownership was temporarily lost until the 6th Earl regained possession. In 1666 he leased the castle to Walter Athy, whose descendants kept control of Oranmore until 1853. It was then abandoned and left to the elements.

Anita Leslie purchased it in 1947 for £200 and it was reroofed as it had fallen into disrepair. Her daughter Leonie inherited the castle after her death. Leonie and her husband have lived there since.
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The castle is no stranger to TV and Film coverage. In 2001, Oranmore Castle was featured in an episode of Scariest Places on Earth. As well as this, it was used in the shooting of the 1969 film ‘Alfred the Great’ and was also used as a location for the Jack Taylor film ‘The Pikeman’ in 2011. Alongside all of this, the exterior of the Castle is in the TV series ‘Reign’ as the french dungeon. This little castle is practically an A-list celebrity!

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The stunning view of Oranmore Castle is enhanced by its reflection on Galway Bay, where sunsets and sunrises frame the iconic building.

Oranmore Castle is open to the public (closed Mondays). Booked in advance to avoid disappointment.

All images taken from this page.