Oughterard is a peaceful retreat just 30 minutes away from the bustling small town of Galway. This quaint and traditional Irish village is home to Aughnanure Castle and serves as a gateway to the beautiful Connemara Mountain region.
Our intention was to visit Connemara; however, the unpredictable Ireland weather had other plans in mind. It honestly came as much needed forced relaxation, as we were experiencing slight exhaustion at the tail-end of a whirlwind 2-month trip around Europe.
The day we intended to visit Connemara, the forecast called for heavy rains and strong winds in that particular region. By this point, we had fallen in love with Oughterard and weren’t too disappointed that we’d instead have to spend another day in this charming town.
Accommodations in Oughterard
We booked two rooms for a few nights at a local bed and breakfast (The Waterfront House Country Home) and we couldn’t have been happier with our selection. (Toccara’s dad and step-mom joined us for a week in Ireland.)
With only 6 rooms, it is a cozy and welcoming home! Some of the rooms have distant views of the Connemara mountains. However, we elected to stay in the lake front rooms!
The house also has a communal sitting room complete with fireplace, books, magazines, and a TV. We will forever have fond memories of purchasing a few groceries from the local store and having a ‘picnic-like’ dinner in the sitting room while watching the World Cup!
Breakfast is included in the room rate. Because of limited seating in the dining room, the hosts serve breakfast in 2 rotations. You are informed of your breakfast time upon check-in.
Breakfast was made to order and included fresh meats, cheeses, yogurt, cereal, eggs, cooked meat, and fresh fruit. There certainly was no shortage of yummy options!
We experienced a little bit of overcast skies and light afternoon showers, but other than that, the weather was delightful during our time in Oughterard.
The house setup encourages relaxation! Lounge chairs and picnic tables overlook beautiful Lough (Lake) Corrib.
There are even a few row boats on property that guests are free to use!
Sam and his father-in-law share a passion for being out on the water, so they grabbed the oars and paddled over the calm waters of Lake Corrib.
Oughterard’s most notable feature is Aughnanure Castle, a preserved 16th-century fortress. This castle can be reached by a 25-minute walk from the B&B or a quick drive in the car.
Walking up to the castle was like something out of a fairy-tale… rays of sun peeking through the branches, majestic horses, and a tree-lined path along the castle’s moat.
Though, this castle wasn’t exactly where a princess lived awaiting her prince charming!
The Grounds of Aughnanure Castle
This tower house was built in the 16th century by the O’Flaherty family, one of the most notable lord families in the area at the time. It was then captured, granted to a junior member of a local clan and used to blockade Galway during an invasion, before being reclaimed by the O’Flaherty family.
Eventually a fellow named Lord St George took ownership for some time and it is now managed by the Irish State body responsible for national monuments and historic properties, which means it is open to the public for a small entrance fee.
The sky was overcast and there weren’t many other visitors on the grounds during our time at the castle, making for a peaceful encounter exploring the ruins.
There were plenty of descriptive plaques situated around the ruins that described the history of the castle. One of the more interesting (and grim) aspects is something called a murder hole. Invading forces would storm past the main gate and into a narrow hallway outside the front door. Behind them, a metal gate would crash down, sealing them inside. Above, defending soldiers would shoot arrows or stab down through the thin murder hole, eliminating the attackers. Fish in a barrel, anyone?
It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, but it’s still more of a castle than our California condo.
Windows wide enough for arrows but too skinny for cannonballs. Classic medieval design.
These steps lead to…not a whole lot, once you stand back and look at the whole setup.
Aughnanure was one of the most historically and visually interesting castles we visited on our trip. If you’re ever in the region, it’s definitely worth a look!
You can’t really tell from this picture, but the surrounding area was a minefield of animal droppings. It worked as a great motivator to keep visitors from wandering too far from the ruins.
Just a short walk from the castle is the Oughterard Golf Club. We’re not golfers, but we are eaters and the golf club boasts a restaurant overlooking the course with a moderate selection of culinary options.
Following a light lunch at the golf club, we returned to The Waterfront House Country Home to relax and enjoy our final evening in Oughterard.
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Topics Include: Getting to Ireland | Getting Around Ireland (Rental Cars & Public Transportation-Train, Taxi, Bus, Motor Coach Tours) | Top 10 Scenic Drives in Ireland | Awe-Inspiring Abbeys | 4 Traditional Irish Pubs to Check Out | 5 Charming Small Towns Not to Miss | Ireland’s 6 National Parks | Interesting Facts About Ireland | Irish Dishes to Try | Islands of Ireland | Exploring Ireland’s Fascinating History | Top 5 Highlights in Ireland’s Most Visited Counties* | Frequently Asked Questions About Travel to Ireland | Money Saving Tips | 4 Detailed Sample Itineraries | Additional Resources | Photo Guide to County Highlights *Counties Included: Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Mayo, Sligo, Waterford, Wexford, & Wicklow
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