OPW urged to reopen castle as local tourism attraction

Ardamullivan Castle

The Office of Public Works has been urged to reopen an historic castle in Beagh as a visitor attraction.

Ardamullivan tower house, about five miles from Gort, has been idle and closed to the public for at least a decade.

The O’Shaughnessy castle on the Galway and Clare border dates back to the 15th or 16th century and is listed as a national monument.

It’s status was raised at a public meeting last week in the Lady Gregory Hotel in Gort organised by the Burren Lowlands organisation, which aims to promote the region as an attractive place to live, work and visit.

Local historian Rory O’Shaughnessy, who is a Fáilte Ireland tour guide, queried OPW Minister Sean Canney about the castle during a questions and answer session.

Minister Canney, the Galway East Independent TD, has given assurances that he would look into the matter with staff in the OPW.

Mr O’Shaughnessy explained to the Connacht Tribune that during the early-1990s, late medieval wall paintings were discovered on the inside of the castle.

The frescos depicted religious scenes inside a secular setting of the five-storey castle, he said.

“They were quite unusual. You had something similar in Abbeyknockmoy but other than that it is rare in Ireland,” said Mr O’Shaughnessy.

During the mid-to-late 1990s, the OPW began restoration works on the caste, including reroofing it, plastering it with lime mortar and preservation works on the

“It appears that they ran out of money and shut the doors. It hasn’t been open for a number of years – at least a decade,” he said.

“Not a lot of people know about it. Even some people in Beagh don’t know about it. It has been closed for at least a decade. The O’Shaughnessy Society has got in there twice for a visit but it has been closed to the public. Even the gates at the entrance to the castle are locked and so people can’t even get in to walk around it,” explained Mr O’Shaughnessy.

He said he questioned Minister Canney about the castle, to ascertain what has happened to it, why worked stopped and will it resume, and to determine if there are any plans for the castle to be reopened to the public.

“It is part of the O’Shaughnessy folklore but it is also part of the history of the area. Not many people know about it but it could become a visitor attraction,” added Mr O’Shaughnessy.