About 4 kms inthe direction of Galway lies the impressive tower house of Aughnanure castle. Built in 1500 by the O'Flaherty family who owned much of the area as early as the 8th c.. There had been an original castle here in the late 1250's built by the Earl of Ulster but then the lands reverted to the O'Flahertys in 1300. Between 1569 and 1630 it was declared property of the crown before being recuperated by Roderick O'Flaherty. As many other castles and abbeys, this one gradually fell into disrepair and needed the OPW to buy it and restore it. There were also two courtyards, one just after the entrance where you can see the walls and two bastions. The other is on the right, behind the kiosk and held the banqueting room, now completely demolished. It now houses a superb big black pig!!!!!!The tower house and grounds can be visited for a small fee.
Cost of entry - 3€ for an adult, 2€ for a senior and 1€ for children and students.
Inside the tower house one can climb up through the great hall and its massive chimney to the sleeping quarters and from there to the roof-walk. Obviously renovated, nonetheless the ceiling timbers have been recreated as the originals, a splendid piece of work. There are also some information panels and the lady at the kiosk will help with any info as well.
Aughnanure Castle dates from the 1500s. It is about 2 miles south of Oughterard. It was built by the O'Flahertys. The six story tower house is open for tours and gives a great view of the rest of the site where you can see parts of a banqueting hall and watch tower. There are plaques on each floor of the tower house describing how each floor was used and what life might have been like in a tower house in the 1500s. It's a very interesting and picturesque site.
Lough Corrib is a picturesque lake in County Galway. There are 365 islands in Lough Corrib, "one for every day of the year" according to someone we met in Oughterard. The most famous island is Inchagoill, where St. Patrick built a church (see more on Inchagoill in another tip in this section).
The Hill of Doon is a great place to get pictures of Lough Corrib and surroundings. We didn't quite get to the Hill of Doon for these pictures, but they were taken at another place to pull off along Glann Road. Glann road (like many roads in Ireland) isn't wide enough for two cars in some places. It can be a little nerve wracking when you're driving and suddenly come upon cars (or in our case, cows!) coming down the road toward you. The views at the end were well worth the drive, though.
If you've seen the movie "The Quiet Man" with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, you may remember the lovely stone bridge shown at the beginning of the movie, when Michaleen is driving Sean Thornton from the train station to town. The bridge is located outside of Oughterard, on the way to Clifden. Try to visit it near sunset!
From the pier in Oughterard, catch a ferry to Inchagoill Island. The price of the ferry includes a 20 minute guided tour of the historic sites on Inchagoill Island, including the remains of a church built by St. Patrick's newphew, Lugnaed. Lugnaed is buried there and his headstone is shaped like a rudder. The commentary given by the guide is very informative and interesting and there are plenty of interesting things to photograph. You may also want to continue your cruise into County Mayo to see Ashford Castle and Cong. I'll cover these topics in County Mayo. See the ferry website for more information.
We went to the Annual Oughterard Country Show where we had been informed by a local hitch-hiker that we could see all the animals we could ever imagine. Unfortunatley the chimps and rhinos couldn't make it so we saw cows, sheep, horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, ducks and a cavie (rabbit like beast).
It was all rather fun with the local folk taking it quite seriously despite the rain.
My husband is an avid flyfisherman, and he spent many hours casting a line while I visited gardens and castles! BTW, this pic was shot at Waterfall Lodge in Oughterard, my favorite B&B. Its a great idea to hire the services of a local ghilly (guide) to help make sure you have the right permits, and the local experts know when to expect a hatch rising for the fish to bite.
Crystal clear to interesting black peat-enriched waters, fresh air, sunshine, and communing with God and nature. Add the thrill of challenging nature...Stack the deck in your favor with world-class trout and salmon fishing...its every sportsman's dream holiday!