top of page

Galway Bay, Ireland: Intriguing Exploits await at Dunguaire Castle

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

#RyanAir and #AerLingus are currently running sales for fights to Ireland

#DunguaireCastle's history of intrigue and scandal is far larger than many castles twice its size. Built by the O'Hynes clan in 1520, this tower house sits snugly on a rocky outcrop of #GalwayBay, not far from the colourful seaport village of #Kinvara. It has a 75-foot tower, a stone defensive wall and several rooms, including a banquet hall.

The castle has changed hands many times over the centuries.

The final private owner of Dunguaire Castle was #LadyAmpthillChristabel Russell. Christabel Hart married John, heir to the #2ndLordAmpthill, much against the wishes of his family.

They were an unusual couple from the start. He enjoyed attending parties in drag, and she spent her evenings, according to her husband, 'in the company of detestable young men'. Though the marriage was not consummated, Lady Ampthill became pregnant. Thus began the tale of the Virgin Baby.

Fearing the loss of his title, Lord Ampthill denied paternity and sued for divorce. In court, Christabel espoused theories of how she could be pregnant while maintaining her virtue. The 'Sponge Theory' is the most entertaining. Christabel claimed she became pregnant with son, Geoffrey, after she soaked in a tub that John had recently vacated. She must have made good use of a rather dubious sponge.

Geoffrey spent most of his life fighting for his title and legitimacy. His mother entertained celebrities at Dunguaire Castle until she passed away in 1976. Geoffrey's son, David, is Lord Ampthill, and the castle is now by the Shannon Development Trust.

Create your own scandalous intrigue by hiring the castle for your own personal event. Just bring your own sponge! Dunguaire Castle also hosts public events, history tours and medieval banquets.


25 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page