Dunguaire Castle, ‘the Fort of Guaire’ stands on a hill just outside Kinvara, County Galway. Surrounded by water on three sides it commands a fine view of the village, the Burren Mountains and the sparkling waters of Galway Bay. From minute to hour, sun and sky brings change to its walls and to the angles of its battlements. Dunguaire itself rests as constant as the mountains beyond.
It’s a fitting seat for a King, and no less than five Kings of Connaught made their seat here. The castle got its name in memory of the most famous one of all – Guaire. His reign was a time of plenty for the region. He served and protected all in his kingdom and he did right by them. He took from his tenants only what they could spare and ensured no person was left in need. He sheltered those who suffered loss or hardship, he made fair judgment in times of crisis, and he treated nobleman and tenant with the same dignity and respect due all humanity. For that, he was much-loved. It was said he gave so generously that the ‘dint’ of giving caused his right arm to grow longer than his left.
Each time he sat down to eat he said grace. It was a simple entreaty and in keeping with his reputation as a benevolent ruler.
“May the great God look down on us as we break bread together.” he would say.
“And if any in my kingdom are more in need than I, then I pray they have this bounteous food to sustain them; and welcome.”
Those prayers were answered when, one fine day, his dishes took flight…
(more on theburrenandbeyond.com)