Jenning’s Castle, Castlegrove, Co. Galway

Castlegrove castle

I recently visited the very well preserved remains of a tower house at  Castlegrove near Tuam, Co. Galway. Known locally as Jenning’s Castle, the fortress was built by the de Burgo (Burke) family, most likely during the 16th century. It was to remain in their possession until the tumultuous Cromwellian Confiscations of the the 1650s, which saw much of the Irish Catholic landholding class disposed. The tower then passed into the hands of various owners including the Blake and Jenning families.

Today the castle consists of a rectangular, five-storey tower, which has a footprint of circa 12m long by 10m wide.  Access is gained via a pointed-arch doorway in the eastern wall, which is guarded by an overhead machicolation and an internal murder-hole. There is also at least one flanking musket-hole protecting the entrance. When I arrived the doorway was sealed by a relatively modern iron grill which, unfortunately, blocked entry to the interior.

Both gables of the roof survive and chimney stacks rise from western gable and northern wall. Semi-circular machinolations defend the corners of the tower, at roof level, while a number of arrow slits are found along the castle walls. In addition, there are some square, twin light mullion windows with hood mouldings.

A fine example of a 16th century tower house, Jenning’s castle is easily accessible from the main Ballinrobe to Tuam road and is well worth a visit.

medieval door castle
The pointed-arched entrance
Jennings castle
The southern wall face of the tower
Galway castle
The tower in it’s wooded setting
The semi-circular machinolations at roof level


Twin light mullion window with hood moulding
Close up of chisel pecking around the door


Jennings castle galway



Alcock, O., de hÓra, K. & Gosling, P. 1999 Archaeological Inventory of County Galway, Vol. II – North Galway, The Stationary Office, Dublin, p. 401

16 thoughts on “Jenning’s Castle, Castlegrove, Co. Galway

  1. This is next to the Kerrigan family home. My mother was born there. When I visited in 2006, half of the original castle door was still in place. I discovered the other half of the original door in the ground a few feet away. It was being used to cover an old pit. I was told that the interior of the tower was damaged by vandals over the years. Hence the locked gate.

  2. it’s sad to find out about vandals ruining this place. I recently found out about the castle being part of my family’s history. My last name is Jennings and would love to visit one day.

  3. Vandals haven’t ruined the castle. We ran through the place as kids and probably weren’t too gentle with it, but it’s locked now as there are some parts inside that are dangerous, including a collapsed straicase.

    Have any of the Jennings visited Ironpool House?

      1. Yes, it is ruined, but it hasn’t degraded that much over the last 30 years since I used to pass by on the way from school. Some barn owls have started to nest in the chimney, giving a haunted feel to the place.

        1. I was talking to my father about Ironpool House, and it seems it was the Irish army who partially demolished the house, in the late 1950’s.
          The owner of the land didn’t want to pay the rates for a roofed dwelling and so applied to have it demolish, and the army stepped in to blow it up. They didn’t make a good job of it, but got the roof off anyways.

  4. I’ll love to visit Ireland to find the roots of my family name also visit this castle that my family has links with. All the Jennings’s came from a clan and therefore, are all related in a distant way.

  5. I’m of Jennings and Philbin Family
    Conloon Castlebar Co Mayo.
    Michael Jennings. Bryan. PHILBIN..

    Michael. married Mary Philbin 1833-1923

    PATRICK married. MARIA McDonnell

    Bernard. Ellen. John. Mary. twins Kathleen and
    2nd marriage Mary McMeyler



    (all lived Conloon Castlebar Co Mayo
    ‘ Ellen. Bernard. Mary. Kathleen Emigrated to New York Ellen returned Castlebar
    John, Sligo. Patrick Meath. William Dublin

  6. I come from a branch of Jennings who were predominantly from Missouri. Got to see this castle and was fascinated by the lumber mill next to it. Ancestors in Missouri were in the lumber business.

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