Lough Gara was first mentioned in 1285 and was referred to as ‘Loch Technet’ and was later renamed ‘Loch Uí Ghadhra’. The lake and the nearby Moygara is named after the O’Gara family who ruled the area around Lough Gara since 1285 AD. The O’Gara’s built three castles, the main one was at Moygara built on the NW corner of Lough Gara. Moygara castle was thought to have been a very impressive building possibly built on the site of an earlier fortification. It is a very good example of a castellated building with many of its defensive features still evident. The oldest part of the castle is a ruined rectangular structure on the north side of the bawn wall, which may have been an earlier tower house. The gate tower was once two storeys but now lies in ruins. There are two keystones on the ground near the gate tower. These are now very weathered but one is depicted in a 1878 drawing by Wakeman, the drawing is of two figures with interwined limbs. It is thought the other is a single figure holding something in its arms. The castle was attacked in 1538 by O’Donnell and later by a band of mercenary Scots in 1581 when some of the buildings were burnt.
There is a local story that a sycamore tree near the castle is of the same shoot on which O’Gara hanged miscreants! It is also said that the castle used to have golden gates which are now hidden in Lough Gara. Moygara dates to 1500 AD, it is still in a relatively good state of preservation and is well worth a visit. Lough Gara and its beautiful surroundings in north west Roscommon is a wealth of history just waiting to be explored.
For directions to the castle and for more information visit
Moygara Castle resides in its natural state of preservation on an unspoiled landscape. Please ask landowners permission and beware of livestock.