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Looking out over from the battlements of the 13th century Cloghan Castle at Kilchreest in east Galway across the lush flat fields towards the Burren, it is not hard to see why the Normans fought for and then protected this land.
There are more than a dozen Norman keeps visible from here, dotted as far as the eye can see. This was the network of fortifications from which the Normans kept control of the area.
According to locals, the flat land explains not just the reason the Normans stayed here so long, it also explains why this is a hurling stronghold. After all one quipped, you can't play hurling in the mountains or the rocky terrain of Connemara or Mayo -- "sure you'd lose the sliothar".