Lynch's Castle, situated between Shop Street and Abbeygate Street, which now houses the AIB bank, could easily go unnoticed. Yet it is a striking example of a medieval fortified house. The castle is four storeys high with embellished carved windows, gargoyles and ornamental mouldings and cornices. Built by the powerful Lynch family as a protection from raids, parts of the limestone building may date back to the 14th century but the bulk of it was built in the 16th century. The Lynches, of Anglo-Norman descent, were one of the powerful 14 tribes who ruled Galway.
The family was influential and feature prominently in Galway's history. In 1493 James Lynch Fitzstephen, then mayor of Galway, hanged his own son for the murder of a Spanish sailor. The Lynch coat of arms can be seen on the front of the building as well as coats of arms for Henry VII and the Fitzgerald's of Kildare. A large extension was added in 1808 and a carved doorway was added in 1933. Today, you can visit the ground floor during bank opening hours where panels explain the history and architecture of the building in detail.