This Travel Guide about Dunguaire Castle in County Galway is part of the series of blog posts and video guides exploring the Wild Atlantic Way.
This article explores Dunguaire Castle as part of my Galway to Clare itinerary from Clifden to Derrygimlagh in County Galway and on to the Cliffs of Moher and Doolin in County Clare. Click here for an overview of the entire route.
Summary: The Wild Atlantic Way is a 2,500km (>1,550 mile) tourist route along Ireland’s Western coastline, from Malin Head in Donegal in the North to Kinsale in the South. It connects significant historic, cultural and geographic features into a manageable road trip from staggering clifftop vistas to golden strands and stunning lighthouses.
VIDEO GUIDE for this itinerary
Dunguaire Castle | Part of the Galway – Clare Itinerary (One Day)
Dunguaire Castle Travel Guide
Dunguaire Castle is a worthwhile photo stop (winter) or visit (open during the summer). If visitors are driving South from Galway towards Doolin or the Cliffs of Moher (or vice versa), then you'll find the castle on the shores of Galway Bay near Kinvara, County Galway.
Parking & Facilities
I could not find a formal parking lot or zone beside the castle. I drove past the castle and was able to pull in at the side of the road on the left hand side (heading south). The official website indicates there is a car park exactly where I stopped, but I (at least) could not see it.
There is a toilet / restroom inside the Castle, but it is available only to paying customers (and bear in mind the Castle is open only from April to September). Plan accordingly!
Dunguaire Castle was built in 1520 by the O'Hynes Family. The name ‘Dunguaire' comes from the Dun (fort) of King Guaire, who was a renowned King of Connacht (he died in 663). It consists of a central castle tower (75 feet / 23 metres) and a defensive wall, both of which have been restored. It sits on a rocky outcrop on the southeastern shores of Galway.
The Martin clan took over the Castle during its early years (16th Century) until it was sold in the 20th Century (1924) to Irish Senator and Poet, Oliver St. John Gogarty. Dunguaire became a hub for Irish poetry with the brightest lights of the age drawn to County Galway's stillness and beauty (Shaw, Yeats, Synge, O'Casey all visited). The castle was bought again in 1954 and has undergone considerable renovation, meaning it can be open to the public as an attractive tourist location today.
It's believed that Dunguaire Castle is Ireland's most photographed castle (hard to believe when Bunratty is in the running!). However, it's position on the rocky outcrop with the gorgeous water in your shot makes this truly Instagrammable!
Summer Visits & Banquet Travel Guide
Dunguaire Castle is open for visitors from April to September each year. Visitors can choose from a Day Ticket or to take part in a Medieval Banquet.
Adults – €7.50
Children – €5
>go> | More details here
MEDIEVAL BANQUET TICKET
Adults – €63
Children – €35
>go> | More details here
Note: I have no affiliation with Dunguaire Castle. Links are provided for your reference and should not be considered as a recommendation.
What to Do at Dunguaire
- PHOTOGRAPHS | As it is so Instragrammable (or TikTokable!), definitely stay around to take some photographs. There are lots of good angles here – capture Galway Bay in the background and the Galway hills alongside the gorgeous tower. There is a small hill at the outcrop – do climb this and enjoy the view.
- TOWER CLIMB | If you can, it's worth climbing the tower. There is a brief historic exhibition that gives you some insight into living there over the time periods discussed above.
- BANQUET | I am not sure it's my cup of tea, but a regular banquet is held during the summer months. There is usually live music and poetry and, of course, food. If you do want to do this, make sure to book in advance.
- THATCHED COTTAGES | The cottages that you will see after the castle on the left (heading south) appear to be a B&B – check that out here (unaffiliated).
After snapping my photographs and enjoying a walk around Dunguaire, it was back into my motorhome on on the final big stop of the day, the Cliffs of Moher.
Find the accompanying video for this article below:
where can i stay?
I camped at Doolin, County Clare in my campervan the Cliffs of Moher. Not tempted to camp? There are multiple options to stay nearby.
Check out options in Doolin if heading South, OR around Clifden if you're heading North on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Further recommendations are below.