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Athenry

4.3
Castles · Bars & Clubs · Golf Courses
Athenry is a town in County Galway, Ireland, which lies 25km east of Galway city. Some of the attractions of the medieval town are its town wall, Athenry Castle, its priory and its 13th century Anglo-Norman street-plan. The town is also well known by virtue of the song "The Fields of Athenry".HistoryIts name derives from the ford crossing the river Clarin just east of the settlement. Though other inaccurate explanations are still given, it was called 'Áth na Ríogh' because it was the home area of the Cenél nDéigill, kings of the Soghain, whose leading lineage were the Ó Mainnín. On some medieval maps of English origin the town is called Kingstown.Originally, Soghain was surrounded by Uí Maine to the east, Aidhne to the south, and Maigh Seola to the west. However, after 1135, and by 1152, Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair forcibly incorporated it into the newly created trícha cét of Clann Taidg, ruled by lords such as Fearghal Ó Taidg an Teaghlaigh, who expelled the Ó Mainnín family. In the 1230s the Ó Taidg an Teaghlaigh family were in turn displaced by Meyler de Bermingham.The earliest remaining building in the town is Athenry Castle which was built sometime before 1240 by Meyler de Bermingham. In 1241, the Dominican Priory was founded, and became an important center for learning and teaching. It was ostensibly closed during the Protestant Reformation but survived until being desecrated and burned during the Mac an Iarla wars of the 1560s–80s, and was finally vandalised by Cromwellians in the 1650s. The medieval walls around Athenry are among the most complete and best preserved in Ireland with 70% of original circuit still standing, along with some of the original towers and the original North gate. The remains of the Lorro Gate were partially unearthed in 2007 during the redevelopment of road works in the area.
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