Kinvara, Co. Galway
Kinvara (Irish: Cinn Mhara, meaning "head of the sea") is a sea port village next to the border with the Burren and County Clare located at the head of Kinvara Bay - which is an inlet in south east Galway Bay - in the south of County Galway in the province of Connacht.
Kinvara was once a thriving port to which the necessities of life, such as turf fuel, were brought by the traditional Connemara sailing craft (Galway Hookers) in the 19th century, the port was also a significant exporter of corn and seaweed. This trade is recalled each Summer in Cruinniu na mBad, as sea festival organisd by the village, which sees the old boats compete in a host of exciting races and events.
Dun Guaire Castle guards this end of the bay, and is one of the most popular tourist spots in County Galway. Medieval-type banquets are held each summer in this old 16th century tower house, and recall the stirring times when the O'Heynes, O'Shaughnessy and Martin clans were lords of this impressively restored castle.
Just to the east of the building are the probable remains of the dun or earthen fort of Guaire, the 7th century King of Connacht, who gives his name to the present castle.
To the west of the village stands the early 19th century church which contains restored paintings by Count de Basterot, a famous writer and traveller of the time. His residence, Doorus House, now a youth hostel, lies 5 km further west again and it was here that W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, in association with Edward Martyn, planned the foundation of the Irish National Theatre.