If you’re looking for picturesque castles in Dublin, Ireland, then you’ve come to the perfect place. There are many castles in Dublin that are worth visiting if you want to stroll through a medieval setting or simply explore Irish history.
Castles in Dublin
Here are just a few of the best castles in Dublin:
1. Dublin Castle
One of the most popular Castles in Dublin, Dublin Castle is well-known as the official residence of the nation’s president. The castle was built in 1204 and has been witness to many political intrigues over the years. The castle’s State Apartments (which are open to the public) include a banqueting hall, a study, and a banquet room which is used for state banquets when dignitaries visit Ireland. In addition to its political significance, there are gardens at Dublin Castle which are open to the public from mid-spring through autumn.
2. Kilkenny Castle
Kilkenny Castle was built sometime in 1171 by Anglo Normans and is a stone structure that features a unique blend of Norman-Gothic architecture with Irish elements. The castle makes for an intriguing visit as it was used as a military fortress, a prison, and even as a location for political executions carried out through the centuries until it ceased to be operational as a prison in 1820. Today, visitors can take a guided tour of the castle and even attend a medieval banquet.
3. Malahide Castle
Malahide Castle dates back to 1311 when it was built as a defensive structure by the Anglo Normans to defend Dublin from invasions by Scottish clans. Today, you can explore Malahide Castle and enjoy wonderful panoramic views of Malahide Bay and Dublin City from the top of its tower which is 113 feet tall. There are many exhibitions at the castle which help visitors learn about life in medieval Ireland.
4. Rock of Cashel
The Rock of Cashel was once the residence of the kings of Munster and was built in 1101, but it has been redesigned many times since then. The castle is a blend of Norman, Romanesque, and even Gothic architecture styles. Today, Rock of Cashel is one of the most popular attractions in County Tipperary and many people come to visit this fascinating structure each year to experience its amazing architecture as well as its beautiful gardens, which are open from June to mid-September each year. Visitors can also take walking tours through the castle grounds while learning more about Ireland’s past history with a guide.
5. Birr Castle
Birr Castle was built in 1622 and its fascinating history spans over four centuries. It features a pink tower house, complete with a vaulted ceiling and original furnishings from different time periods. Birr Castle is located in County Offaly, Ireland and is open to the public most days of the week except for Sundays when it is closed.
6. Trim Castle
Trim Castle was built in the 13th century by the Anglo Normans and was classified as a National Monument in the early 1900s. The castle was renovated both during and after World War II, but it still contains many original features, such as a 15th-century great hall with beautiful carvings and stained-glass windows that survived the Civil War (1641 – 1652). Visitors can visit Trim Castle on Sundays from April to September from 10:30 – 17:00, but it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. It is open on Saturdays during winter hours only, but closed every Wednesday and Thursday year round.
7. Swords Castle
If you would like to see Ireland’s best preserved castle, then Swords Castle is a must visit. Although this castle is relatively new, it offers a view of the country even during the Norman times. From here one can easily picture how an Irish countryside looked like during the time of Edward I and many other rulers. This castle has had two major reconstructions and is still functioning today as a luxury hotel and restaurant complex.
8. Charleville Castle
Charleville Castle, according to historians, dates back to 1235. Located in Rathfarnham, this castle has been witness to important events in Ireland’s history. For example, it was here that Lord Edward Fitzgerald joined the United Irishmen army; however he disappeared shortly afterward into Dublin City.
9. Drimnagh Castle
Built in 1208 by King John Lackland, this castle is said to have been home to the Normans when they first came into Ireland. It was taken from them by one of their enemies and then passed back and forth between several lords before finally being abandoned sometime during the 16th century. Today there are only remains of it left.
10. Ardgillan Castle
Located near Swords in County Dublin, this castle was built in the 16th century after a series of attacks by pirates. Because of its proximity to the coast, it was taken over by a number of seafaring men and used as a hunting lodge. In 1580, it was sold to Sir Henry Colley and has remained in his family ever since. It is still in their possession today and is open for tours during the Summer months.
Though these sites only scratch the surface of Dublin’s castles, they are worth seeing while you’re visiting Ireland’s capital city.
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