Aughnanure Castle, Galway, Ireland

Getty Images/Photo Researchers RM

Aughnanure Castle

Top choice in Connemara

The 'Ferocious O'Flahertys' were based at this superbly preserved 16th-century fortress 4km east of Oughterard. The clan controlled the region for hundreds of years after they fought off the Normans. Today their six-storey tower house stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking Lough Corrib and has been extensively restored.

Surrounding the castle are the remains of an unusual double bawn (area surrounded by walls outside the main castle); there's also the remains of the banqueting hall and a small, now isolated watchtower with a conical roof. The River Drimneen once enclosed the castle on three sides, while today the waterway washes through a number of natural caverns and caves beneath the castle.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Connemara attractions

1. Brigit's Garden

3.46 MILES

Covering 4.5 hectares of woodland and meadowland, and with traditional architecture including a reed-thatched crannóg roundhouse, tranquil Brigit's Garden…

2. Glengowla Mines

4.09 MILES

These 19th-century mines 3km west of Oughterard yielded silver, lead and glistening quartz. As well as marvelling at some of the treasures unearthed,…

3. Inchagoill

4.94 MILES

The largest island on Lough Corrib, Inchagoill lies about 5km offshore from the lake's edge, some 8km north of Oughterard. The island is a lonely place…

4. Quiet Man Bridge

6.14 MILES

One of the most photogenic locations from the iconic 1952 John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara film, the eponymous Quiet Man bridge is some 7km west of…

5. Ashford Castle Estate

8.26 MILES

Just beyond Cong Abbey, the village abruptly ends and the woodlands surrounding Ashford Castle begin. First built in 1228 as the seat of the de Burgo…

6. Monk's Fishing House

8.34 MILES

This small and roofless 16th-century monk's fishing house juts out into the River Cong just south of the bridge, designed so monks could haul their catch…

7. Cong Abbey

8.37 MILES

The evocatively weathered shell of Cong's 12th-century Augustinian abbey is scored by a cross-hatch of lines from centuries of exposure to the elements…

8. Quiet Man Museum

8.41 MILES

Modelled on Sean Thornton's White O' Morn' Cottage from The Quiet Man film, the museum offers a location tour – good for film fanatics and those with a…