The Irish Road Trip

33 Of The Best Castles In Ireland

By Author Keith O'Hara

Posted on Last updated: January 12, 2024

33 Of The Best Castles In Ireland

This guide to the best castles in Ireland contains 30+ Irish castles that I’ve been fortunate enough to visit during my 35 years of living here.

Now, when it comes to castles Ireland has  many  – in fact, it’s believed that there are around 30,000 castles dotted around the ‘Emerald Isle’ .

Some, like Dublin Castle and Kilkenny Castle are in magnificent condition while others, like Dunluce and Kinbane, are in ruin, yet still very impressive .

In this guide, I’ll show you what  I  think are the best castles in Ireland to add to your to-see list for 2024.

Table of Contents

The best castles in Ireland

map of famous castles in Ireland

Click here for a high res image (copyright: The Irish Road Trip)

Although there are plenty of things to do in Ireland , many visitors to the island have the various Irish castles at the top of their bucket lists.

Many of the most famous castles in Ireland tend to hold plenty of secrets, stories and tales. You’ll find the most interesting ones below.

1. Glenveagh Castle (Donegal)

Glenveagh Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

There are few castles in Ireland with a location that’s as mighty as Glenveagh Castle in Donegal. Built between 1867 and 1873, Glenveagh Castle is finely placed on the shores of Lough Veagh.

The castle’s location was inspired by the Victorian idyll of a romantic highland retreat and you’ll find it surrounded by mountains in Glenveagh National Park .

The construction of Glenveagh was ordered by a man from Laois named John George Adair.

Adair married his wife, an American by the name of Cornelia, and construction of what is now one of the finest Irish castles began in 1867.

2. Dunlough Castle (Cork)

Dunlough Fort

You’ll find one of the most uniquely located castles in Ireland at a place called Three Castle Head, a stone’s throw from Mizen Head in West Cork.

It’s here that you’ll find the ruins of Dunlough Castle in an area that boasts an almost other-worldly landscape.

It’s believed that the castle here (there’s only one, despite the area’s name) is one of the oldest Norman castles in this corner of Ireland.

Legend tells the tale of a ‘Lady of the Lake’ that haunts the area. The story goes that the ghost is that of a heartbroken bride who leaped off a nearby cliff after discovering that her dad accidentally ‘offed’ her new husband.

3. Dunluce Castle (Antrim)

Dunluce Castle

You’ll find the romantic ruins of Dunluce Castle perched on dramatic cliffs along County Antrim’s craggy coastline, not far from the Giant’s Causeway .

A source of wanderlust for travellers the world over, Irish castles don’t come much more unique than this.

According to legend, on a particularly stormy night in 1639, part of the castle’s kitchen next to the cliff face collapsed into the icy waters below.

The castle’s striking appearance and quirky legend have seen it receive enormous attention online in recent years. It’s best visited while driving the Antrim Coastal Route .

4. Trim Castle (Meath)

Trim Castle

Trim Castle , in my opinion, is the best castle in Ireland. I live an hour drive from this place and, no matter how many times I visit, the sight of it never fails to amaze.

You’ll find Trim Castle on the shores of the ancient River Boyne, where it has been since 1176. Once the largest of the many Irish castles, Trim occupies a 30,000 m² site in County Meath.

If you’ve ever watched the movie Braveheart with Mel Gibson, you may recognise Trim Castle as one of the castles used in the film. You can take a tour of the castle grounds and of one of the towers, also!

5. Blarney Castle (Cork)

Blarney Castle

Arguably one of the most famous castles in Ireland, Blarney tends to attract tourists from far and wide.

Blarney Castle tends to often be referred to as a ‘tourist trap’, but that couldn’t be further from the case. OK, if you’re only visiting the castle to see the Blarney Stone , then you may be disappointed.

However, Blarney has much more to offer than a stone that gives the gift of the gab. The extensive grounds and the many unique features of Blarney make it a joy to visit.

Those that saunter around Blarney can visit the Witch’s kitchen, the magic steps, one of the only poison gardens in Ireland and plenty more.

6. Clough Oughter Castle (Cavan)

Clough Oughter Castle

Clough Oughter Castle is like something from a fairytale. It’s unique, surrounded by natural beauty and it has an interesting story attached to it.

You’ll find the castle in County Cavan, next to the picturesque Killykeen Forest Park. Over the years, Clough Oughter fell under the control of many different clans. It also fell under the control of the rebels.

In 1641, the castle was seized during the Irish Rebellion and it was turned into an island fortification. Interestingly enough, at one point, it was also used as a prison.

7. Classiebawn Castle (Sligo)

Classiebawn Castle

You’ll find another of our favourite Irish castles in the village of Mullaghmore in County Sligo where it looks like something that’s been plucked straight from a fairytale.

Classiebawn Castle was built by Viscount Palmerston, who was once Prime Minister of the UK. Construction of the castle finished in 1874 and it was built primarily from stone from Donegal.

The castle passed through a number of hands over the years. One of my biggest issues with Classiebawn is that, as it’s on private land, it’s very hard to get a good look at it.

Most of the photos that you see have been taken through a long photo lens.

8. McDermott’s Castle (Roscommon)

McDermott's Castle

Antother of the best castles in Ireland if you’re fond of ones with glorious locations is McDermott’s Castle .

You’ll find the very magical looking McDermott’s Castle in County Roscommon on the waters of Lough Key.

Lough Key is home to over 30 islands but none compare to one known as ‘Castle Island’. It’s on Castle Island that the ruins of McDermott’s Castle can be found.

If you read our guide to McDermott’s Castle , you’ll learn about the tragic incident that took place here many years ago between a young couple along with how you can visit during your trip to Ireland.

9. Doonagore Castle (Clare)

Doonagore Castle

I’ve visited Doolin on many different occasions over the years, but it wasn’t until my most recent visit in late 2019 that I visited Doonagore Castle. The first castle here was built during the 14ht century on the site of a ring fort.

The castle that stands today dates to the mid-16th century and is what’s known as a tower house. Doonagore passed through many hands over the years. In 1588, a ship from the Spanish Armada crashed near the castle.

Although the 170 passengers survived, they were all hanged soon after. Discover more about the incident and the history of the building in our guide to Doonagore Castle .

10. Kinbane Castle (Antrim)

Kinbane Castle

There seem to be endless castles in Northern Ireland sat in ruin at the side of cliffs!

You’ll find Kinbane Castle on a little rocky promontory that juts out into the sea known as Kinbane Head.

It was built around 1547 and, although it’s now in ruins, is well worth a visit if you’re driving along the Causeway Coastal Route.

The ruins are isolated, the castle tends to get only a handful of visitors and the scenery that engulfs you as you walk around the ruins is absolutely breath-taking.

11. Birr Castle (Offaly)

Birr Castle

There has been a fortress on the site of the mighty Birr Castle since 1170. Interestingly enough, the castle is still inhabited by the same family that bought it in 1620.

So, although you can take a tour of Birr, the residential areas of the castle are not open to the public. One of the most unique features of Birr Castle is its giant telescope.

It was built in the 1840s and for many years it was the largest telescope in the world. Between 1845-1914, people from all over the world travelled to Birr Castle to use it.

12. Kilkenny Castle (Kilkenny)

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle is a place that tends to make it onto the itineraries of many of those visiting Ireland, with hundreds of thousands of tourists and locals visiting its grounds each year.

The castle here was built in 1195 in order to ensure the protection of a point of the nearby River Nore that was shallow enough for potential enemies to walk through.

The castle was given to the people of Kilkenny in 1967 for the fine sum of £50 and it’s now a major tourist attraction that boasts some finely-manicured grounds that are perfect for a ramble around.

This is widely regarded as one of the best castles in Ireland for good reason.

13. Dublin Castle (Dublin)

Dublin Castle

You’ll find Dublin Castle on Dame Street in Dublin City Centre on the site of a Viking Fortress.

Work on the first castle here kicked off in 1204 while Dublin was under Norman rule following the invasion of 1169.

It was built on what was previously a Viking settlement and construction was completed in 1230.

However, the only section of this original fortress that remains to this day is the Record Tower. Many of the current features were added  during the 19th century.

Related reads: Visiting Dublin? See our guides to the best castles in Dublin (and the finest castles near Dublin )

14. King John’s Castle (Limerick)

King John’s Castle

You’ll find King Johns Castle on King’s Island in the heart of Limerick City where it overlooks the River Shannon.

Similar to Dublin Castle, King John’s is also situated on a site that was home to a Viking settlement.

The construction of the castle was ordered by King John during 1200 and it is now widely regarded as one of Europe’s best-preserved Norman castles.

You’ll catch brilliant views from high up on the actual battlements themselves. Those who make the short climb will be treated to a 360 panorama of the city and the River Shannon.

15. Cahir Castle (Tipperary)

Cahir Castle

The incredible 13th-15th century Cahir Castle, which was once the stronghold of the Butler family, is widely regarded as one of the best-preserved castles in Ireland. It can be found on a rocky island on the River Suir in Tipperary.

The castle was skilfully designed to be a state-of-the-art defensive castle and, over the course of many years, it was rebuilt and extended. It wasn’t until 1599 that the castle reached its current state.

A visit to Cahir Castle will immerse you in the eventful history of the castle, from when it was built from 1142 by Conor O’Brien right the way up to when it was declared a national monument.

16. Belfast Castle (Antrim)

Belfast Castle

The fairytale-like Belfast Castle can be found on the lower slope of Cave Hill country park in Belfast City.

Those that visit Belfast Castle can admire views of the city below while also checking out a variety of plant and wildlife, from long-eared owls and sparrowhawks to Belfast’s rarest plant, the Town Hall Clockto.

Although there have been a number of castles in the city, the current structure on Cave Hill was only constructed in 1862 and it boasts a Scottish Baronial architectural style.

This is arguably one of the best castles in Ireland if you’re looking for a castle that’s still mostly in its original state.

17. Carrickfergus Castle (Antrim)

Carrickfergus Castle

Few Irish castles are as well known as Carrickfergus Castle . You’ll find it in the town of Carrickfergus in Antrim, on the shores of Belfast Lough.

The castle was built in 1177 by John de Courcy and, over the years, it saw plenty of action. In 1210, Carrickfergus was seized by King John. In 1689 it was involved in the week-long ‘Siege of Carrickfergus’.

Later, in 1760, it was looted by the French. Then, in 1797, it was used to contain prisoners of war. Visitors can take a ramble around the castle and explore what was once a medieval stronghold.

18. Bunratty Castle (Clare)

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle is a tourist favourite, thanks to its close proximity to Shannon Airport, which makes it the first stop for many tourists flying into that corner of Ireland.

As you walk around Bunratty Castle and gaze up at its vast walls, it’s hard to not be knocked a little with the knowledge that the ground you’re walking on was once frequented by Vikings in 970.

The current Bunratty Castle was built in 1425 and it’s said to be one of the most complete castles of Ireland that remains standing today.

19. Ross Castle (Kerry)

Ross Castle

Ross Castle in Killarney is up there as one of the best castles Ireland has to offer, thanks to its location in the stunning Killarney National Park .

This 15th century structure can be found perched on the edge of a lake, a stones-throw from Muckross Abbey. It was built by O’Donoghue Mór and, according to legend, his spirit lies in slumber beneath the nearby lake.

It’s said that on the first morning of May every 7 years, his spirit circles the lake on a white horse. You can easily visit Ross Castle while driving the Ring of Kerry .

20. Lismore Castle (Waterford)

Lismore Castle

Lismore Castle in County Waterford is another of the many Irish castles that tends to get overshadowed by the ‘big boys’, like Trim and Kilkenny.

Lismore was constructed in 1185 by Prince John to guard the nearby river crossing and it originally housed Lismore Abbey. The castle is now home to some magnificent gardens that stretch across 7 lush acres.

You can head for a ramble around the extensive gardens while soaking up some spectacular views of the castle and the surrounding countryside at the same time.

Interestingly enough, the castle is available to rent out exclusively… I can’t even begin to imagine how much that’d set you back, but it definitely wouldn’t be cheap!

21. Ashford Castle (Mayo)

Ashford Castle

If you read our guide to the best castle hotels in Ireland , you’ll have seen me bang on about the very swanky 800-year-old Ashford Castle .

Once a privately owned medieval castle, Ashford is now a luxury hotel and is part of the celebrated ‘Leading Hotels of the World’ group.

Now, you don’t have to stay here to visit – you can enter the grounds (for a fee) and head for a ramble.

Previously owned by the Guinness family, Ashford Castle featured heavily as a backdrop in the movie the Quiet Man, starring Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne, along with nearby Cong .

22. The Rock of Cashel (Tipperary)

Rock of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary has graced the cover of a million postcards. Often referred to as ‘Saint Patrick’s Rock’, it’s believed that it was here that Ireland’s Patron Saint converted King Aenghus in the 5th century.

The Rock of Cashel, which was once the seat of the High Kings of Munster, can be admired from afar when you’re just entering the town, and you can also explore it on a guided tour.

Although many of the buildings that remain in place today date back to the 12th and 13th century, the history of the site upon which it stands stretches back much further. This is well worth a visit when you’re exploring County Tipperary.

23. Doe Castle (Donegal)

Doe Castle

You’ll find another of the lesser-known castles in Ireland on the edge of Sheephaven Bay in Donegal.

Doe Castle was constructed during the early 15th century by the O’Donnell’s. Not long after, in the 1440s, Doe was ‘acquired’ by the Macsweeney’s and it became their stronghold.

Boasting an impressive location right by the water, Doe Castle is tucked away in a quiet corner of Donegal and it’s one of many Irish castles that gets missed by tourists.

24. Knappogue Castle (Clare)

Knappogue Castle is located just outside of Quin village in the Shannon Region of County Clare, a handy 24km from Shannon Airport.

The castle is a tower house that was built in 1467 and it became the seat of the MacConmara family some time later, in 1571.

If you’re visiting, it’s worth booking into the castle banquet which takes place frequently throughout the year.

25. Malahide Castle (Dublin)

Malahide Castle

Malahide Castle in County Dublin is one of the best castles in Ireland if you go off online reviews.

It’s the castle that I’d visit the most in this guide as it’s a shortish spin from where I live and, like many of the Irish castles in this guide that I’ve visited numerous times, it never fails to impress.

Malahide Castle was built on the orders of the Norman knight, Sir Richard de Talbot, after he was awarded the land in 1174 by King Henry II.

Although I’ve never done the tour, the grounds here are beautifully maintained and a ramble around Malahide Castle and gardens is one of the more popular things to do in Dublin .

26. Leap Castle (Offaly)

Leap Castle

Photos by Gareth McCormack/garethmccormack.com via Failte Ireland

Leap Castle is widely regarded as the most haunted castle in Ireland . Legend has it that a lady in red prowls the castle with a silver blade at night.

Another reason the castle is believed to be haunted is due to a discovery made in the early 1900s. A secret dungeon was found behind a wall in the chapel that contained hundreds of human skeletons.

Grim to say the least! Read more about one of the most haunted castles in Ireland in our guide to Leap Castle (not for the faint-hearted!).

27. Minard Castle (Kerry)

minard castle and beach

You’ll find Minard Castle on the scenic Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, a short drive from Dingle Town.

The ruins of Minard Castle sit on a grassy hill that overlook a secluded bay (one of many on the peninsula) and offers gorgeous coastal views.

The castle dates back to the 16th century and it survived a lengthy attack from Cromwell’s forces in 1650.

Although this is one of the smallest castles in Ireland in our guide, it’s always worth a visit as you’ll often have this area all to yourself.

28. Athlone Castle (Westmeath)

Athlone Castle

Top right photo: Ros Kavanagh via Failte Ireland. Others: Shutterstock

Athlone Castle in County Westmeath is located at the heart of Athlone Town, a short walk from Sean’s Bar – the oldest pub in Ireland.

Like many Irish castles, Athlone Castle is perched at the side of a river – in this case, it’s the powerful River Shannon.

Athlone Castle dates back to the 13th century and it played a pivotal role in protecting the busy Athlone River crossing.

29. Adare Castle (Limerick)

Adare Castle

Another of the best castles in Ireland if you like to go off reviews is the impressive ruins of Adare Castle in Limerick.

Located on the edge of Adare Town , Adare Castle was built during the 12th-century on the site of an ancient ring fort.

The castle boasts a strategic position on the River Maigue’s banks and, like numerous Irish castles, it was constructed in the Norman style.

It’s position on the river allowed its rulers to keep control of the traffic that was zipping in and out of the Shannon Estuary.

30. Enniscorthy Castle (Wexford)

Enniscorthy Castle

Photos courtesy Celtic Routes via Failte Ireland

Enniscorthy Castle in County Wexford is another of the more overlooked castles in Ireland.

The first castle to be built on this site was built in 1190 by Philip De Prendergast, a French Norman knight.

Prendergast’s descendants lasted here until 1370 when  Art MacMurrough Kavanagh attacked Enniscorthy Castle and reclaimed what was his ancestral land. 

Fast forward to the 1798 Rebellion and Enniscorthy Castle served as a prison for the United Irishmen.

It wasn’t until the 20th century that Enniscorthy Castle managed to get a bit of peace when it became the residence of the Roche family.

31. Slane Castle (Meath)

Slane Castle

You’ll find Slane Castle in County Meath on a 1,500-acre estate in the heart of the magnificent Boyne Valley, where its been since the 18th century.

Interestingly enough, Slane Castle has been home to the same family since it was built. The Conyngham’s have lived in the castle from when it was first constructed to the present day.

I’ve heard great things about the tour of Slane Castle. Visitors can get an insight into the history of the castle while also hearing about the many concerts that have been held there over the years.

32. Blackrock Castle (Cork)

Blackrock Castle

Blackrock Castle in County Cork is one that tends to get missed by many exploring the county. This impressive structure is a handy 2km from Cork City, where it’s sat right next to the River Lee.

This castle dates to the 16th century and it was originally built to protect upper Cork Harbour and port from intruders.

Fast forward a few hundred years later and the castle is now home to an international award-winning science centre that’s open to the public. There are heaps of permanent and visiting exhibitions that you can have a nosey at here.

33. Donegal Castle (Donegal)

Donegal Castle

And last but by no means least in our guide to the best castles in Ireland is the mighty Donegal Castle .

You’ll find it standing proudly in Donegal Town. This is one of my favourite Irish castles as it’s evidence of what can be achieved with careful restoration.

Donegal Castle was built in 1474 by the  O’Donnell’s . However, over the years it fell to ruin. In fact, it decayed for two centuries until it was restored in the 1990s – it’s now one of the most impressive  castles in Donegal .

What Irish castles have we missed?

I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some famous Irish castles from the guide above.

If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!

Ireland castles FAQs

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are the best castles in Ireland for tours?’ to ‘What Irish castles can you stay in?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

How many castles are there in Ireland?

It’s believed that Ireland is home to over 30,000 castles. Some, like Ashford Castle and the Rock of Cashel, are huge fortresses and tower houses, while others are tiny, like many of the ones you’ll find in our guide to castles in Dublin.

What is the most beautiful castle in Ireland?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, in our opinion, Dunluce Castle, Dunlough Castle and Trim Castle are three of the most beautiful Irish castles.

Which is the oldest castle in Ireland?

Killyleagh Castle in County Down (1180) is said to be the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland. Castlegarde Castle in Limerick (1190) is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Ireland.

Which is the best castle to visit in Ireland?

Although the topic of the best castles in Ireland is open to debate, you won’t be disappointed with a visit to Trim Castle, Dunluce Castle, Kilkenny Castle and Ross Castle.

ireland castles to visit

Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.

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Sunday 22nd of October 2023

Drimnagh castle in Dublin. Restored and the only castle with a water filled moat.

Kilkea castle in Castledermot Co Kildare. Magnificent.

Rosrea Castle. Co Tipperary

Sunday 12th of June 2022

Dunlough (the three castles) on Mizzen Head. The most magnificent setting for a castle, high on a cliff overlooking the ocean.

Wednesday 4th of May 2022

You missed Castle Roche ruins near Dundalk! They are free and it is stunning.

Friday 29th of April 2022

Johnstown castle is worth mentioning!

Irven R Rathburn

Friday 3rd of September 2021

IRELAND IS A WONDERFULL PLACE !!

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An unofficial count estimates that Ireland has more than 30,000 castle and castle remains. Scattered throughout the country, most of the medieval castles were built as defensive homes by the island’s most powerful families. Unfortunately, most of the castles were abandoned and left to lie as ruins. However, many of the fortified palaces have been restored to their former glory and can be explored by visitors. Whether you want to seek out deserted countryside homes, kiss the Blarney stone, get married in Ireland , or simply sleep in luxury — here are the best castles in Ireland: 

Bunratty Castle: Co. Clare, Ireland

Bunratty Castle is one of the most beloved and well-known castles in Ireland. Though there were earlier settlements on the same spot, the castle as it stands today was built in the 1400s. It is a fortified tower house located in County Clare which was fully restored in the 1960s. The gray stone castle has been furnished with antiques from the 15th and 16th centuries to show what life would have been like when it was built by the powerful MacNamara family. It is possible to visit the castle and to book tickets for the medieval banquets that are held there almost every day.  

The Rock of Cashel: Co. Tipperary, Ireland

There are many myths associated with the large castle known as the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary . According to the legend, this is where Aenghus the King of Munster was converted to Christianity by St. Patrick in the 5th century.  The High Kings of Ulster ruled from the castle here ​and later donated the site to the Catholic Church. Most of the buildings in the large castle complex date back to the 12th and 13th centuries. It is possible to walk through the castle and admire the beautiful medieval architecture that makes the Rock of Cashel one of the most visited sites in Ireland.  

Dunluce Castle: Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

Dunluce Castle is an abandoned medieval castle set on the top of a cliff overlooking the sea in County Antrim, Northern Ireland that has been featured in the HBO series Game of Thrones. The dramatic setting is surrounded by steep drop-offs on every side and the castle can only be reached after crossing a bridge from the mainland. Dunluce was first built by the MacQuillan in the early 1500s but was taken over by the warrior MacDonnells in the 1550s. The clifftop location was ideal for defenses but proved a bit unstable — and part of the kitchen fell into the ocean during a stormy night in the 1630s. The castle passed hands to the Earls of Antrim but left to fall into disrepair. Today, there is a visitor center at the castle to stop into before wandering through the ruined walls which still stand.

Blarney Castle: Co. Cork, Ireland

Blarney Castle is a medieval fortress near Cork, Ireland that is surrounded by a large garden and set next to the River Martin. The castle dates back to the early 1200s, though the stone fortress as it stands today was built by the McCarthy family in the 15th century. It is still possible to visit some of the rooms of the castle and to seek out the main attraction – the Blarney Stone. The stone at the top of the castle is believed to give the gift of the gab to anyone who leans over the sharp drop off to kiss it.  

Ashford Castle: Co. Mayo, Ireland

While some of Ireland’s castles lie in ruins, the gorgeous Ashford Castle has been converted into a luxury hotel. The castle was first built in the 1200s, and its fortified walls were expanded over the centuries when it served as the location for fierce battles. After a truce was agreed, the castle eventually became a hunting lodge before being purchased by the member of the Guinness family in 1852. The famous Irish beer family expanded the castle and built new wings, before selling the property in the 1930s. A mix of Victorian and medieval architecture, the beautiful ivy-covered Ashford Castle now has 83 guest rooms and has been featured in film and television. 

Ross Castle: Co. Kerry, Ireland

 TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

Rent a bike to cycle from the town of Killarney to the picturesque Ross Castle. The medieval fort was built by the O’Donoghue clan on the edge of Lough Leane in what is now the Killarney National Park. Surrounded by extensive trails and plenty of picnic spots, Ross Castle is a popular stop for a day out. It is possible to take a guided tour of some of the castle, but many visitors also enjoy the view of the stone tower house from the outside while taking a quick walk around the grounds. 

Dublin Castle: Co. Dublin, Dublin

Located off Dame Street in the heart of the Irish capital, Dublin Castle has a long political history. The castle served as the location of the United Kingdom government offices for hundreds of years until Ireland gained independence in 1922 and the castle was ceremoniously handed over to Michael Collins, the leader of the Irish Rebellion . There are still important government offices inside the complex, but the castle is also open to the public to visit the State Apartments, Medieval Undercroft, and Chapel Royal seven days a week.    

Dunguaire Castle: Co. Galway, Ireland

Dunguaire Castle in County Galway is a fortified tower house dating back to 1520 that is built on the edge of Galway Bay. The castle was built by the Hynes clan and named after their ancestor Guaire Aidhne mac Colmáin, a legendary king of Connacht. After passing through different families over the centuries, the castle was eventually purchased by Oliver St. John Gogarty, a doctor, writer and senator who often invited famous Irish authors like W.B. Yeats to stay. Today the castle has been restored and it is possible to visit the exhibits as well as to book tickets for the medieval banquets that are held inside the castle halls from April through September.

Cahir Castle: Co. Tipperary, Ireland

Cahir Castle is one of the largest castles in Ireland and almost seems to grow out of the rocky island it is built into in the River Suir. Located in County Tipperary, the castle was built by the O’Brien family in the 13th century. It has survived over the centuries thanks to its defensive design which withstood several sieges and battles though it was ultimately taken over by Cromwell’s army in 1650. Located close to the village of Cahir, the castle offers an audiovisual experience to teach visitors about the long history of the fortress.

Malahide Castle: Co. Dublin, Ireland

A 30-minute train ride from Dublin transports you to Malahide Castle , a fully restored medieval castle that was home to generations of the same family for almost 800 years. The castle is surrounded by a large park as well as a botanical garden which includes many rare and tropical plants. It is possible to take a guided tour of Malahide Castle, and its Great Hall can even be rented out for special events.

Minard Castle: Co. Kerry, Ireland

No one has lived at Minard Castle since it was attacked by Cromwell’s army in 1650. The military destroyed parts of the tower house but three stories of the original structure are still standing. The pretty location on the edge of a quiet beach filled with boulders makes it worth a short detour down a country road to the abandoned castle in County Kerry. There is no visitors center, but it is possible to climb up the small hill and walk around the historic stone walls that overlook the Irish sea near the town of Dingle.

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15 Must-See and Best Castles In Ireland To Visit

Categories Antrim , Clare , Cork , Donegal , Dublin , Galway , Kerry , Kilkenny , Limerick , Mayo , Meath , Shannon , Tipperary , Where To Go

Ireland is home to over 30,000 castles. Say what?

Yes, there are several castles in Ireland that even locals already lost count and it’s probably one of the things that Ireland is famous for .

These castles were built as early as the 10th century and although most of them have already seen their days, these castle ruins still possess the grandeur they once had. There are also few castles that have been restored and still standing proudly up to this day.

These castles are scattered all throughout Ireland and it’s hard to decide which castles to prioritize. So if you have limited time, this guide to the best castles in Ireland can help you decide.

Things you'll find in this article

1. Blarney Castle, County Cork

2. kilkenny castle, kilkenny, ireland, 3. trim castle, county meath, ireland, 4. rock of cashel, co. tipperary, 5. glenveagh castle, co. donegal, ireland, 6. king john’s castle, co. limerick, 7. bunratty castle, county clare, 8. ross castle, county kerry, ireland, 9. slane castle, ireland, 10. kylemore castle, 11.cahir castle, tipperary, ireland, 12. athlone castle ireland, 13. ashford castle, county mayo, ireland, 14.malahide castle, county dublin, ireland, 15. dunluce castle, county antrim, northern ireland.

blarney castle

One of Ireland’s most popular attractions is Blarney Castle . It was built nearly six hundred years ago by Cormac MacCarthy, one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains.

Surrounding the castle are extensive gardens. There are paths touring the grounds with signs pointing out the various attractions such as several natural rock formations.

Aside from the castle itself, the place is also popular because of Blarney Stone.

In order to get the gift of eloquence, for over 200 years many famous people from around the world visit Blarney to kiss the famous Blarney Stone.

There is an ongoing debate over the story of the Blarney stone but no one has been able to prove the origin of the stone.

Opening Hours

9 am to 5 pm

Admission Fee

€16 for adults, €13 for students and seniors, and €40 for a family. For more information regarding booking, click here.

Contact Information

Location: Blarney, Cork , Ireland

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +353 21 4385252

Check this tour that includes a visit to the famous Blarney Castle. 

kilkenny castle ireland

Kilkenny Castle was built in 1195 to control a fording-point of the River Nore and the junction of several routeways. It was a symbol of Norman occupation and it is an important site to the history of Kilkenny . In 1967, the Castle was transferred to the people of Kilkenny for £50.

The Kilkenny Castle is now one of the very few castles in Ireland that offer tours to the public. The garden and park in the castle complex are also open to the public.

If you are planning to visit this city, this is also one of the best castles in Kilkenny. 

Daily from 9 am to 5:30 pm

Adult € 8.00 | child € 4.00 | Family € 20.00

Address: The Parade, Collegepark , Kilkenny , Ireland

Phone: +353 56 770 4106

Email: [email protected]

For other visitor’s information, click here . 

trim castle ireland

Trim Castle is a Norman castle on the south bank of River Boyne in the town of Trim and currently the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland.

The castle was built in 1173 by Hugh de Lacy, the castle was used as a center of Norman administration for the  Lordship of Meath . It is also probably best known as the setting for Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. 

This castle in Ireland boasts imposing twenty-sided towers protected by curtain wall and moat. It was a great example of experimental military architecture during its period.

If you want to learn more about the legacy of this castle, this day trip from Dublin is a must.

Opening hours vary depending on the season. For an updated list of opening hours, click here .

€5 per adult, €3 for students, and €13 for a family of 4. It includes access to the Trim Castle grounds and an audio-visual show at the visitor center. You can get a ticket from the visitor center.

Location: Trim, Co Meath

Phone: +353 46 943 8619 

Email:   [email protected]  

Check this tour that includes a visit to Trim Castle and Slane Whiskey Distillery.

Rock of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel , also known as Cashel of the Kings and St. Patrick’s Rock, is a historic site located at Cashel in County Tipperary . It is one of the most spectacular attractions in Ireland and also one of the most visited castles in Ireland.

This iconic landmark was the seat of the High Kings of Munster and was built between the 12th to the 13th century.

9 am to 4:30 pm during winter and 9 am to 7 pm during the summer.

Adult : €8.00, Group / Senior : €6.00, Child / Student : €4.00, Family : €20.00

Location: Rock of Cashel, Moor, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland

Phone: 062 61437

Email: [email protected]

Buy your ticket online here. 

Bunratty Castle

Set in some 16,500 hectares of County Donegal mountains, Glenveagh Castle is a 19th Century, castellated mansion built between 1870 and 1873 in Letterkenny .

The Scottish Baronial-style Irish castle is built by Captain John George Adair. When he picked the location for his castle, he went as far as evicting 244 tenants to have privacy.

The gardens around the house were planted in a free-flowing style with exotic species from Tasmania, Madeira, and Chile. The Glenveagh gardens itself is a major attraction aside from the surrounding lakes and forest in the area.

Opening Hours:

9 am to 5 pm but check in advance first as the castle tour is limited during off-peak and winter season. To verify the schedule, click here .

Adult Castle Ticket €7.00 | Concession Castle Ticket €5.00 | Family Castle Ticket €15.00

Location: Glenveagh, Churchhill, Letterkenny, Donegal

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +353 76 1002537

King John’s Castle

King John’s Castle is a 13th-century castle located on King’s Island in Limerick and next to the River Shannon. This Irish castle overlooks the river and the panoramic view of Limerick City.

The stunning new exhibition brings to life over 800 years of King John’s Castle and Limerick City’s dramatic history all through Touch-screen technology which will connect visitors to tales of siege and warfare. It is also one of the best castles in Ireland.

09.30 am – 5 pm

€10 for adult, €5 for children and €22 for family (2 adults + 2 children)

Address: Nicholas St, Limerick , Ireland

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +353 61 360788

Bunratty Castle in Ireland

Bunratty Castle is a large 15th-century  tower house  in  County Clare . The name Bunratty, Bun Raite in Irish, means “river basin” of the ‘Ratty’ river . This river, alongside the castle, flows into the nearby  Shannon   estuary .

The castle was built in 1425 and was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendor. It now contains mainly 15th and 16th-century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art that capture the mood of those times.

To live up to its medieval look,   medieval banquets  are held in the castle in the evenings and it’s open to the public to enjoy.

Daily from 9:00am- 5.30pm

Adult €15. Child/Student €9. Family (2 adults and 4 children under 18) €34.25.

Location: Bunratty West, Bunratty, Co. Clare, Ireland

Ross Castle KILLARNEY

Ross Castle is also one of the best places to visit in Killarney and one of the must-see castles in Ireland. The castle is a 15th-century tower house built by O’Donoghues Mor, a local ruling clan on the edge of Lough Leane.

The castle has a long history of rebellions and wars and it is said to be the last castle to surrender during the  Irish Confederate Wars .

9.30 am to 5:45 pm

Adult: €5.00, Group/Senior: €4.00, Child/Student: €3.00 , Family: €13.00

Location:  Ross Island, Killarney, Co. Kerry , Ireland

Email:   [email protected]

Phone: +353 64 663 5851

Buy your ticket online here.

Slane Castle

Slane Castle is located within the Boyne Valley near Navan and is set in the middle of a 1,500-acre estate. The castle was built in the 18th century and has been a family seat for the Conyngham family .

Today, the castle is a famous concert venue that held concerts for world music icons such as The Rolling Stones, U2, Madonna, Guns N’ Roses, Bob Dylan, Queens, Bruce Springsteen to name a few.

The guided tours to the castle are seasonal and only if there’s no event. To check for the latest tour schedule, click here .

Adults: €12.00, Children: €7.20, Students, O.A.P.’s & Groups: €10.80, Children under 5 years are free

Location: Navan Road, Slane Meath

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +353 41 9820643

Check this  tour that includes a visit to Slane Castle.

kylemore abbey castle

Kylemore Castle was built by Mitchell Henry, a wealthy doctor from England, as a gift to his wife Margaret in 1871. It was sold to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester in 1903 and was then purchased by the Irish Benedictine nuns in 1920.

Kylemore Abbey, a Benedictine monastery was then founded in 1920 on the grounds of Kylemore Castle, in Connemara . Since the 1970s, the estate has been opened to the public.

Nestled at the base of Druchruach Mountain and along the shore of Lough Pollacappul in Connemara , the Abbey is one of the most iconic attractions in Galway , Ireland. It is also one of the most beautiful castles in Galway . And no visit to Ireland is complete without spending a half-day to the castle ground.

Check out this Kylemore Abbey Tour article for more information.

9:30 am to 4:30 pm. The last admission is at 4 pm.

€13 for adult, €9 for the student, €10 for senior, and €26.00 for a family of 4.

Location:   Kylemore Abbey, Pollacappul, Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland

Email: bookings@kylemoreabbey. com

Check this full-day tour that includes a visit to Connemara & Kylemore Abbey.

Cahir Castle

Cahir Castle is one of the largest castles in Ireland. It is located on an island in the river of Suir, in the town of Cahir , County Tipperary.

Built-in 1142 by the Prince of Thomond, Conor O’Brien, it was designed as a defensive castle with state-of-the-art facilities. However, the castle was besieged multiple times during the Irish Confederate Wars .

March-Mid June Daily 09.30 – 17.30

Mid-June – August Daily 09.00 – 18.30

September – Mid October Daily 09.30 – 17.30

Mid October – February Daily 09.30 – 16.30

Adult: €5.00

Group/Senior: €4.00

Child/Student: €3.00

Family: €13.00

Location: Castle St, Townparks, Cahir, Co. Tipperary , Ireland

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +353 (52) 744 1011 

Check this tour that includes a visit to Blarney and Cahir Castles . 

Athlone Castle Westmeath

John de Gray, the Bishop of Norwich, constructed Athlone Castle amid the Norman Invasion of Ireland dating from the 12th century. It was fortified a few times and it was built to protect and defend the crossing point in Athlone and to provide support to facilitate the Norman advance into Connaught.

The castle is a free-standing polygonal tower built inside a moat and it’s one of the popular castles and attractions in Ireland.

For an updated list of opening hours, click here .

Adult €8, Senior/Student €6, Children/Under 15 €4, Children under the age of 4 are free, Family (2 adults & 2 children) €2

Location: St Peter’s Square, Athlone, County Westmeath , N37 A6D7

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +353 90 6442130

Ashford Castle County Mayo

Ashford Castle is a medieval and Victorian Ireland castle that was turned into a 5-star hotel over the years in County Mayo .

Built in 1228 by the House of Burke , an Anglo-Norman family , ownership was later transferred to other rich Irish families.

In the 19th century, the Guinness family, known for their accomplishments in brewing (Guinness beer anyone?) and other business, bought the estate and transformed it. It was later sold to Noel Huggard who made the castle a hotel.

The castle hotel in Ireland is a member of Leading Hotels of the World  organization and is considered one of the best hotels in the world.

To check the rates for this castle hotel, click here .

Location: Ashford Castle Estate, Cong , Co. Mayo , F31 CA48, Ireland

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +353 94 954 6003

Malahide Castle

Malahide Castle is one of the oldest castles in Ireland which dates back as far as 1175. This is also one of the few castles in Dublin County and it’s located in the remaining parklands of Malahide Demesne Regional Park.

The Malahide Castle was home to Talbot Family for almost 800 years and survived many wars and also the deaths of its previous owners inside the palace.

For 11 years, the castle was given by Oliver Cromwell to Miles Corbet  after the English Parliament conquered Ireland. He hanged himself following the death of Cromwell.

The Talbot family took the castle back but it was followed by the death of 14 members where they didn’t make it back after the Battle of Boyne near Drogheda . Now, this Irish castle is owned by the State as the last member of the Talbot family sold it.

9.30am- 5.30pm Monday-Sunday

Adults €12

Student / OAP €8

Child (under 12) €6

Family €26

Location: Malahide Demesne, Malahide, Co. Dublin, Ireland

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +353 1 816 9538

Dunluce Castle Image by Christine Rogador

Dunluce Castle, Image by Christine Rogador

Dunluce Castle is now a ruined medieval castle in Northern Ireland. It is located on the edge of rocks on the coast of County Antrim.

  Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster , built the first castle in Dunluce. From then on, this Irish castle witnessed a long and tumultuous history between Scotland, Ireland, and the UK.

Dunluce Castle is also said to be the inspiration for   Cair Paravel , the fictional castle in Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. It is also the film location of Game of Thrones for the Seat of House Greyjoy of the great castle of Pyke.

Daily: 10 am – 4 pm (last entry strictly at 3:30 pm)

Adult – £5.50, Child (age 4 – 16) – £3.50

Senior citizen £3.50

Student and Benefit Claimants (ID required) – £3.50

Child under 4 – Free

Family (up to 5 members, including up to 3 adults) – £15.00

Group rate(10 plus, must be pre-booked) – £4 per person

Location: 87 Dunluce Road, Bushmills, County Antrim, BT57 8UY

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (028) 2073 1938

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15 BEST CASTLES IN IRELAND | IRELAND TRAVEL GUIDE | IRELAND TRAVEL TIPS | IRELAND TRAVEL DESTINATIONS | ASHFORD CASTLE IRELAND | KYLEMORE CASTLE IRELAND | BUNRATTY CASTLE | DUNLUCE CASTLE | KING JOHN'S CASTLE | SLANE CASTLE | KILLARNEY CASTLE | ROSS CASTLE | IRISH CASTLES | IRELAND CASTLES #ireland #castles #europe

Hi, I’m Christine – a full-time traveler and career woman. Although I’m from the Philippines, my location independent career took me to over 40 countries for the past 8 years. I also lived in 3 continents – from the Caribbean, South East Asia to Africa. But despite living in several countries, my love for Ireland remains the same. A country that had been a part of my life since I was 14 because of my love for Irish music and bands. Ireland Travel Guides was born because of this passion and hopefully, in some little ways, this website will be able to help you on your next trip to Ireland.

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These 11 Irish castles showcase the dramatic beauty of historic Ireland

Oct 1, 2020 • 7 min read

Rock of Cashel on a sunny day.

The Rock of Cashel in Tipperary © Thomas Bresenhuber / Shutterstock

From brooding ruins on windswept hills to restored masterpieces, Ireland’s castles can be looked at, walked through, clambered over, dined in – and even slept in! With around 3000 castles spread across the country, you'll be spoiled for choice if you decide to check out a few. Here are 11 of our favorites.

Editor's note: check local travel restrictions and opening times before booking a trip and always follow government health advice. 

1. Kilkenny Castle

People walking by the left wing of the Kilkenny Castle in Ireland

Kilkenny Castle rises above the River Nore in Kilkenny and is one of Ireland’s most visited heritage sites. Stronghold of the powerful Butler family, it has a history dating back to the 12th century, though much of its present look dates from Victorian times. The first structure on this strategic site was a wooden tower built in 1172 by Richard Fitz Gilbert de Clare, the Anglo-Norman conqueror of Ireland better known as Strongbow.

In 1192, Strongbow's son-in-law, William Marshal, erected a stone castle with four towers, three of which still survive. The castle was bought by the powerful Butler family (later earls and dukes of Ormonde) in 1391, and their descendants continued to live here until 1935. Maintaining the castle became such a financial strain that most of the furnishings were sold at auction. The property was handed over to the city in 1967 for the princely sum of 50 Irish punts.

2. Dublin Castle

The exterior of Dublin Castle in Ireland

Dublin Castle was the stronghold of British power in Ireland for more than 700 years, beginning with the Anglo-Norman fortress commissioned by King John in 1204. The castle was officially handed over to Michael Collins, representing the Irish Free State, in 1922.

Only the Record Tower (1258) survives from the original building, as most of what remains now was built from the 18th century onwards. The castle is now used by the Irish government for meetings and functions, and tours take in the State Apartments and St Patrick's Hall, where Irish presidents are inaugurated and foreign dignitaries toasted. The castle is home to the world-famous Chester Beatty Library.

3. Cahir Castle

The exterior of Cahir Castle in Tipperary, Ireland

Cahir Castle in Tipperary enjoys a riverside site with massive walls, a moat, turrets, towers and keep, mullioned windows, original fireplaces and a dungeon. Founded in 1142 and passed to the Butler family in 1375, it's one of Ireland's largest castles.

In 1599, the Earl of Essex shattered its walls with cannon fire. The castle, originally built to protect a salmon fishery and important river crossing, eventually surrendered to Cromwell in 1650 without a struggle. It is largely intact and still formidable. It was restored in the 1840s and again in the 1960s when it came under state ownership.

4. Dunguaire Castle

The exterior of Dunguaire Castle in Ireland

Dunguaire Castle in Galway is a chess-piece style castle erected around 1520 by the O’Hynes clan. It sits on the fringes of Kinvara on the former site of the 6th century royal palace of Guaire Aidhne, the king of Connaught. The castle passed into the hands of the Martyns of Galway in the early 17th century. Dunguaire was bought and renovated by Oliver St. John Gogarty, the famous surgeon and literary figure, in 1924.

It became the venue for meetings of the literary revivalists such as W.B. Yeats, his patron Lady Gregory, George Bernard Shaw, Edward Martin and J.M. Synge. In 1954, the castle was acquired by Christabel, Lady Ampthil, who completed the restoration started by Gogarty after buying it for the equivalent of €500 ($586). She lived there from the 1950s to the 1970s, and the castle is now the property of Shannon Heritage.

5. Rock of Cashel

The exterior of the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary

The Rock of Cashel in Tipperary is an ancient fortified home of kings and one of Ireland's most spectacular historic sites. Sturdy walls circle an enclosure containing a round tower and a 13th century Gothic cathedral. The undoubted highlight is the early-12th-century Cormac's Chapel, an exquisite gem of Romanesque architecture with beautifully carved doorways and the precious remains of colorful wall paintings.

In the 4th century, it was chosen as a base by the Eóghanachta clan from Wales, later known as the MacCarthys, who lost possession to the O'Brien tribe under Brian Ború's leadership. In 1101, King Muircheartach O'Brien presented the Rock to the Church to curry favour with the powerful bishops and to end secular rivalry over possession of the Rock with the Eóghanachta. It's a five-minute stroll from the town centre up to the Rock, from where fantastic view over the Tipperary countryside can be enjoyed.

6. St John's Castle

King John's Castle in Limerick

King John's Castle in Limerick was built on the orders of King John of England between 1200 and 1212. It is considered to be one of the best-preserved Norman castles in Europe. Its massive twin gate towers still stand to their full height, and the armoury and its contents remain as evidence of the castle's turbulent history.

Limerick’s showcase castle is best viewed from the west bank of the River Shannon. The site on which the castle stands has been occupied for over 1000 years, and a number of houses believed to be Viking in origin were unearthed during earlier restorations of the castle. Elements of these dwellings and some artefacts found on site can be seen at King John's Castle visitors' centre.

7. Blarney Castle

A visitor kissing the Blarney Stone in Cork

Blarney Castle in Cork is a 16th-century tower set in gorgeous grounds, popular for its Fern Garden, Arboretum, Poison Garden and Rock Close. While the site dates back to the 10th century, the castle seen today was built by Lady Colthurst in 1874.

Crowds flock to the castle to kiss the Blarney Stone , which is said to be a former altar stone brought back from the Crusades. One of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, it is rumored to grant “the gift of the gab” to those who kiss it. In these virus-conscious times, an eco-friendly, World Health Organization-approved cleanser is used to clean the stone after each kiss.

8. Ross Castle

Ross Castle on a sunny morning in Kerry, Ireland

Ross Castle in Kerry dates to the 15th century, when it was a residence of the O'Donoghue family. It was the last stronghold in Munster to hold out against Cromwell, and was eventually taken by General Ludlow in 1652. It sits on the edge of Killarney’s lower lake and came into the hands of the Brownes who became the Earls of Kenmare. They owned an extensive portion of the lands that are now part of Killarney National Park.

Legend has it that O’Donoghue still exists in a deep slumber under the waters of Lough Leane, and he rises and circles the lake on his white horse on the first morning of May every seven years. Anyone catching sight of him is said to be assured of good fortune for the rest of their lives. The large rock at the entrance to the bay is known as O’Donoghue’s prison.

9. Trim Castle

Trim Castle by the banks of the Rover Boyne

Trim Castle in Trim was Ireland's largest Anglo-Norman fortification, and was founded by Hugh de Lacy in 1173 and destroyed by Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair, Ireland's last high king, within a year. The building seen today was begun around 1200 and has hardly been modified since.

By the 16th century, the castle had begun to fall into decline and in 1649, when the town was taken by Cromwellian forces, it was severely damaged. The castle's grassy two-hectare enclosure is dominated by a massive stone keep, mounted on a Norman motte. It briefly returned to its former glory in 1996 as a location for Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, where it was the setting for Edinburgh Castle, York Castle and the Tower of London.

10. Ashford Castle

Medieval Ashford castle in Ireland

Ashford Castle in Mayo was once owned by the Guinness family of stout fame. Located along the Wild Atlantic Way, the castle was built on the perimeter of a monastic site in 1228 by the Anglo-Norman de Burgos family on a 350-acre estate on the shores of Lough Corrib.

It has had various owners over the centuries, including the Bingham, Browne and Guinness families, and various additions have been made to the buildings and grounds. John Ford's famous film, The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara was shot on the grounds and in nearby Cong in 1959, and many of the stars stayed at the castle. Now a five-star luxury hotel, it was the setting for golfer Rory McIlroy's marriage to Erica Stoll.

11. Donegal Castle

The exterior of Donegal Castle in Ireland

Donegal Castle guards a picturesque bend of the River Esque in Donegal. It was built by the O'Donnells in 1474, and served as the seat of their formidable power until 1607. The castle was rebuilt in 1623 by Sir Basil Brooke, along with the adjacent three-storey Jacobean house.

The building complex fell into ruin in the 20th century, and was further restored in the 1990s. Highlights include the magnificent upstairs Great Hall with its vast and ornate fireplace, French tapestries and Persian rugs.

This article was first published in April 2010 and was updated October 2020. Additional research by Heather Howard. 

This article was first published April 2010 and updated October 2020

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15 Beautiful Castles in Ireland to Inspire Your Next Trip to the Emerald Isle

Here are 15 fairy-tale castles that you can visit in Ireland.

ireland castles to visit

Vipersniper/Getty Images

Ireland’s many castles, spread across the verdant countryside and set within charming villages , tell stories of the country’s past. From barely recognizable ruins to luxury resorts , Ireland’s castles are favorite destinations on visitors’ itineraries. Many castles offer tours with stories of their history, colorful characters, battles, and restorations, and some even host medieval-style banquets for an entertaining and educational experience. It is said that as many as 30,000 castles have been built on the Emerald Isle, so here are 15 beautiful castles in Ireland to inspire your next trip.

Related: These Are the Best and Worst Times to Visit Ireland

Bunratty Castle

Eye Ubiquitous/Contributor/Getty Images

Bunratty Castle is the last remaining castle on this site which began as a Viking trading camp in 970. Built in 1425 and restored in 1954, the castle is furnished with art and tapestries from the 15th century. Today, the castle is part of the 26-acre Bunratty Folk Park, a recreated medieval village with farmhouses, shops, and homes, from humble houses to an elegant Georgian residence. Guests can experience a four-course medieval banquet accompanied by the Bunratty Castle singers in the castle's Great Hall.

Lismore Castle

Hal Beral/Getty Images

Located in the town of Lismore in County Waterford, this castle is one of the ancestral homes of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Set on the banks of the Blackwater River in southeast Ireland, the 800-year-old castle was rebuilt in the Gothic style in the mid-19th century. Its elaborate gardens and contemporary art gallery are open to the public during the day, and the castle is available to rent, only in its entirety. Its 15 bedrooms can accommodate up to 27 guests.

Trim Castle

Irjaliina Paavonpera/Travel + Leisure

This well-preserved Anglo-Norman castle is located in County Meath on the banks of the River Boyne. Built in 1172, the castle is the largest Anglo-Norman fortification in Ireland, and it took 30 years to build. In its heyday, the massive 20-sided tower was protected by a ditch, curtain wall, and moat. The town of Trim is home to many medieval buildings, and the visitor center, located beside Trim Castle, offers a collection of medieval armor, model buildings, and tickets for Trim Castle tours.

Aughnanure Castle

PacoLozano/Getty Images

Built in the 16th century by the O’Flaherty clan, this castle is located near the shores of Lough Corrib in County Galway. The well-preserved example of an Irish tower house was restored during the 1960s, and visitors can see the remains of a watch tower, banquet hall, bastions, and an underground stream. Three species of bats inhabit the castle, and supernatural events, including the appearance of the gamekeeper’s ghost and the wail of a banshee, have been reported. The castle is open for tours.

Athenry Castle

This 13th-century castle overlooking the Clarinbridge River in County Galway still retains parts of its medieval walls, battlements, and decorative stone carvings. Its Great Hall is accessed via a wooden staircase, originally meant to be removed during battles to prevent the enemy from entering. Today, visitors can see medieval costumes, armor, weaponry, and a replica of a street scene and dungeon. Guided tours, a picnic area, a playground, and interactive exhibits make the castle a family-friendly attraction.

Cahir Castle

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Built in the 13th century, Cahir Castle is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles. Set on a rocky island on the River Suir in County Tipperary, the castle’s design was state-of-the-art at the time, and much of its original structure remains although the castle has been rebuilt and expanded over the years. Today, guided tours, a bookshop, and an audio-visual presentation tell the castle's story. The castle has even been featured in film and TV productions including Excalibur and The Tudors .

Donegal Castle

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Built in the 15th century by Red Hugh O’Donnell, Donegal Castle overlooks the River Eske in the center of Donegal Town. After losing a battle in the Nine Years' War, O’Donnell tried to destroy his castle rather than allow it to fall into English hands. He didn’t succeed, and the castle was restored in around 1616 by English captain Sir Basil Brooke who built a manor house, tower, and boundary wall. During the early 1990s, the castle was fully renovated, keeping the style of the 15th and 17th centuries. Visitors can tour the castle and visit a museum there today.

Dunguaire Castle

Set on a rocky outcrop along the shores of Galway Bay in County Galway, Dunguaire Castle was built in 1520. Said to be the most photographed of Ireland’s castles, it has a 75-foot traditional Irish tower. The castle was bought and repaired in the early 1920s by Oliver St. John Gogarty, a famous surgeon and literary figure. Because of him, the castle became an important site during the revival of Irish literature, and famous writers such as Yeats, Synge, and Shaw were frequent visitors. Today, the castle is known for its medieval-style banquets and tours.

Carlingford Castle

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This castle was built around 1190 by the Norman baron Hugh de Lacy, and it was later seized by King John of England (and for that reason, the castle is sometimes called King John’s Castle). Located in County Louth on the southern shores of Carlingford Lough, the castle is a short walk from the village of Carlingford, a walled town famous for its medieval buildings. Two rectangular towers in an enclosed courtyard were part of the original castle, and many changes have been made over the years. Guided tours are available from March to October.

Dublin Castle

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A short walk from Trinity College, Dublin Castle was built in the 13th century on the site of a Viking settlement. Its medieval tower, with walls up to nearly 16 feet thick, was constructed mainly during the reign of Henry III, King of England and Lord of Ireland. Today, the castle is a government complex as well as a tourist attraction, open daily for self-guided visits and guided tours of the chapel royal , state apartments , undercroft, and heritage center. The Castle Gardens , enclosed by wrought-iron gates with Celtic-inspired spirals, are also popular with visitors.

Kylemore Abbey

While not an ancient castle, Kylemore Abbey and its walled Victorian garden are historic and beautiful. Located about an hour from Galway City, Kylemore Castle was built in the late 1800s by Mitchell Henry. Ownership has changed through the years, and since 1920, a community of Benedictine nuns has resided in the abbey. Today, visitors come to experience Ireland’s largest walled garden, lakeshore walks, craft shops, and tours of the magnificent buildings and gardens.

Blarney Castle

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Built nearly 600 years ago, Blarney Castle is one of Ireland’s most popular attractions. Its large tower house was typical of fortifications built between the 15th and 17th centuries, with 18-foot-thick walls that slope inward for stability and defense. Of course, most visitors come to the castle to kiss the famous Blarney Stone . According to legend, anyone who kisses the stone will have the gift of gab, and it's been kissed by countless famous politicians, musicians, and other notable figures.

Kilkenny Castle

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Originally built in the 13th century soon after the Norman conquest of Ireland, this castle is located in the Nore Valley on the banks of the River Nore in County Kilkenny. Through the years, the castle has been rebuilt, and today its Victorian terraced rose garden, man-made lake, and historic decor attract visitors year round. Tapestries, paintings, and furniture fascinate visitors, and the nursery, with its Victorian toys, books, cradle, and furnishings, tells of 19th-century childhood. Set on rolling parkland with mature trees and wildlife, there’s also a playground, walking trails, and a tearoom.

Dunlough Castle

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Located in County Cork at a place called Three Castle Head, 13th-century Dunlough Castle is set atop cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. One of Ireland’s oldest castles, it exemplifies Norman architecture and dry stone masonry. A hike up to the castle rewards visitors with stunning views and a fascinating look at its remains; just be sure to keep an eye out for the ghostly “Lady of the Lake.”

Dromoland Castle

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Dating back to around the year 1014, Dromoland Castle was rebuilt in the 16th century, and a second castle was built in the early 1700s. It was remodeled and redecorated in 1963 when the castle became a hotel. Today, sumptuous accommodations, a championship golf course, award-winning cuisine, and a stunning landscape make Dromoland a beautiful and historic destination.

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Home » Europe » 10 STUNNING Castles in Ireland [2024 Edition]

10 STUNNING Castles in Ireland [2024 Edition]

Ireland has well-earned its nickname of the Emerald Isle. The lush, rolling green hills and majestic forests will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a medieval fairytale – all before you get to see the castles!

With more than 30,000 castles dotting the countryside, it’s impossible to visit Ireland without seeing some of them. But have you ever considered finding accommodation in one of the best castles in Ireland?

Well, you’re in luck, because there are actually loads of options to stay in a castle if you’re interested in finding unique accommodation in Ireland! In our list of Irish castles, we’ve selected some of the most beautiful, best budget, and all-around awesome places to stay.

In a Hurry? Here’s Where to Stay in Ireland for One Night

Drummond Tower Ireland

Drummond Tower

With all the charm a real, historical castle in Ireland should have and a reasonable price, Drummond Tower is your fantasy vacation waiting to happen! You’ll have the entire castle to yourself, including a full kitchen, large book collection, and even a washer and dryer.

  • Local restaurants in Monasterboice
  • Oldbridge and Battle of the Boyne
  • Mellifont Abbey

Is this amazing Ireland Castle booked for your dates? We’ve got your back with our other favorite properties below!

ireland castles to visit

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Staying in a Castle in Ireland 

The top 10 castles in ireland , faq about castles in ireland, final thoughts on the best castles in ireland.

Ireland

In a word, it’s amazing! If you’ve ever had a childhood fantasy of living in your own fairytale kingdom, you now have your chance when you stay in one of Ireland’s breathtaking castles. 

If you’re on a tight budget, there’s no need to fret. While some travellers consider Ireland an expensive destination , there are actually a lot of great budget castles in Ireland to pick from. Yep, you read that correctly – staying at a castle in Ireland is totally manageable on a small travel budget! 

Since most of these castles are refinished historic buildings, they can have their quirks and nuances – like creaky stairs or poor heat circulation – that you wouldn’t find in a hotel room. However, the experience of staying in an actual castle instead of a boring hotel definitely outweighs these small drawbacks. 

In many castles, you’ll be renting one room or a section of rooms within the building. There may be guests occupying other areas of the castle, but you’ll always have your own private space. In some cases, you can rent the entire castle for yourself for ultimate peace and privacy during your trip! 

What to Look for in a Castle

Many vacation rentals in Ireland have a unique charm, but none quite like a castle. Choosing the right castle has a lot to do with what kind of castle experience you want to have. Many of the castles in Ireland available as accommodation are very old and historic buildings; this gives them a unique charm, but also means they weren’t built with heating, plumbing, or modern electricity in mind. 

In every castle, you’ll find some combination of a unique historical atmosphere and modern comforts. However, stairs are usually the only way to reach rooms, and sometimes bathrooms and showers are only located on the ground floor. 

Location is another important factor when considering where to stay in Ireland . Castles are often located slightly outside of major cities, so it may be a good idea to have your own form of transportation. Some castles are close enough to public transport routes, so you won’t necessarily need your own vehicle. 

Since accommodation can range from a single private room to an entire castle, it’s easy to find spots suitable for solo travelers or huge families. And, while it may be a bit surprising, a lot of castles are reasonably priced in comparison to what you’d be spending for a hotel room! 

To look at options for castles in Ireland in more detail, you can check out search platforms like Airbnb. This is a great way to compare all the possibilities for unique accommodation in Ireland and refine your search to fit your price range, travel dates, and specific preferences.  

  • > Fully equipped kitchen
  • > Outdoor patio

Abbeyglen Castle Hotel Ireland

Abbeyglen Castle Hotel

  • > Breakfast included
  • > Gardens onsite

Annes Grove Miniature Castle Ireland

Annes Grove Miniature Castle

  • > Indoor fireplace
  • > Patio and outdoor furniture

The Spires Ireland

  • > Nearby scenic trails

ireland castles to visit

Fanningstown Castle

  • > Restored gothic architecture
  • > Beautiful views

Cregg Castle Ireland

Cregg Castle

  • > Kitchen and laundry

Medieval Durhamstown Castle Ireland

Medieval Durhamstown Castle

  • > Meals on request
  • > Close to Dublin

Looking for other types of accommodation? Check out our guide to Where to Stay in Ireland !

Ready to begin your own fantasy adventure? After you’re done looking through this list of Ireland’s best castles for accommodation, you’ll be ready to pack your bags and venture off on a unique and spectacular vacation! 

The Overall Best Castle in Ireland – Drummond Tower

Drummond Tower Ireland

  • 2 Guests 
  • Fully equipped kitchen 
  • Outdoor patio 

Not too expensive, and with all the charm a real, historical castle in Ireland should have, Drummond Tower is your fantasy vacation waiting to happen! You’ll have the entire castle to yourself, including a full kitchen, a large book collection, and even a washer and dryer. 

No matter which window you gaze out of, you’ll get a beautiful view of the Irish countryside. It’s only about a five-minute drive to the nearest town, but you might be perfectly content to enjoy your castle in peace and quiet during your stay. 

The Best Budget Castle in Ireland – Abbeyglen Castle Hotel

Abbeyglen Castle Ireland

  • Breakfast included 
  • Gardens onsite

Who said anything about budget travelers not being able to have the experience of staying in a castle? The economy rooms at the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel are the perfect solution: you can experience the luxury of a castle stay without an exorbitant price tag. 

A free breakfast is provided every morning, and there are gardens onsite to enjoy the outdoors. It’s walking distance from the Clifden town center, so no need for a car if you don’t have one. Clifden has great music venues and restaurants, and the bar and restaurant at Abbeyglen are open for onsite dining on select nights. 

Budget Tip : Dorms in Ireland start from $10USD per bed. They’re the cheapest accommodation in the city. Search for hostels in the area!

Best Castle for Couples – Annes Grove Miniature Castle

Best Castle for Couples

  • Indoor fireplace 
  • Patio and outdoor furniture 

Imagine having your own little private castle for a romantic vacation in Ireland! Annes Grove is Gothic-style castle has modern comforts while preserving a unique medieval atmosphere. 

Located on a quiet country road, it’s just a short drive to reach shops and restaurants, unless you want to spend all your time at the castle. Relax next to the fireplace, enjoy the view from the outdoor patio, or cook a romantic meal together and enjoy each other’s company. 

Best Castle for a Group of Friends – The Spires 

The Spires Ireland

  • 7 Guests 
  • Nearby scenic trails 

A group trip to Ireland just got way more interesting! Staying at The Spires you’ll have a secluded spot all to yourselves – plus, you’ll be close to the attractions of Letterkenny. Since it’s situated right along the Wild Atlantic Way touring route, it’s a perfect stopping point during your journey.

Other activities nearby include scenic trails, golf courses and some great local dining options, like the famous Brownes on the Green Restaurant . The building dates all the way back to 1838, but it’s been renovated to provide modern comforts like onsite laundry and an equipped kitchen. 

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Over-the-Top Luxury Castle – Fanningstown Castle

Luxury Castle in Ireland

  • 8 Guests 
  • Restored gothic architecture
  • Beautiful views 

This 12th-century Gothic castle is the place to stay if price isn’t an issue when looking for unique accommodation in Ireland! Located in the Golden Vale just three miles outside of Adare, you’ll be treated to some of the best views of the Irish countryside during your stay. 

Although the property certainly maintains an air of historic majesty, you can still count on having good modern amenities thanks to the renovations. On colder days, you can stay cozy next to the indoor fireplace – or when the weather is warmer, there’s a great outdoor patio to relax and take in the scenery. 

The Best Castle for Families visiting Ireland – Cregg Castle 

Cregg Castle Ireland

  • 5 Guests 
  • Kitchen and laundry 

Not only does Cregg Castle have spectacular views and unique medieval flair, but it also comes at a very budget-friendly price! Families will enjoy strolling the nearby walking trails or exploring around the castle, which is a work-in-progress restored historic building. 

There are a few local restaurants and shops just a few minutes’ drive from the property. Just a 15 minute drive and you’ll be able to explore Galway City , which makes for some great excursions. If you don’t have your own vehicle, cab rides are an easy way to get around the area. 

Best Castle for Backpackers – Medieval Durhamstown Castle

Medieval Durhamstown Castle Ireland

  • Meals on request
  • Close to Dublin 

Even though the Durhamstown Castle has a remote, historic atmosphere, it’s only a 15-minute ride into Dublin using local public transportation. The convenient location and great budget-friendly price make this castle a top pick for anyone backpacking in Ireland . 

During your stay you’ll have total privacy in the Bolt-hole of the castle, as well as access to the front garden. Nearby, there are lots of fun activities, like horseback riding, fishing, swimming, and historical tours of the area.

Best Castle for a Weekend in Ireland – Galway’s CastleHacket House 

Weekend in Ireland Castle

  • Outdoor BBQ and picnic area 

If you only have a short time to spend in Ireland, stay in Galway . You can make it a special time worth remembering at the CastleHacket House here. Built in 1703, the castle has a truly majestic atmosphere, complete with a library, large garden and woods, and a sunroom to relax. 

Light breakfast items and snacks are offered in the dining area, and you can reach other great local restaurants in just 15 minutes by car. It’s also walking distance from the famous Knockma Hill. Other top attractions like the Kylemore Abbey and Claregalway Castle are a short drive away. 

Best Castle for Views – Carraigin Castle

Carraigin Castle Ireland

  • 6 Guests 
  • Indoor fireplace
  • Next to Lough Corrib

To really soak in the beauty of the Irish landscape, stay on the shores of Lough Corrib in the majestic Carraigin Castle. You’ll have the entire property to yourself, as well as access to the seven private acres surrounding the castle! 

For a fun bonus activity, you can rent a fishing boat to go out on the lake. Even though it’s a historic building dating back to the 13th century, the castle has been renovated to have central heating and an equipped kitchen while preserving original features and historic charm. 

Most Traditional Castle in Ireland – Cahercastle

Cahercastle, Ireland

  • 4 Guests 
  • Secluded location 

From the winding staircases to the original stonework walls, Cahercastle is the real deal! Be prepared to trek up and down flights of stairs, but it’s hard to get any more authentic than this when it comes to staying at a castle in Ireland. 

The property is about two miles from the nearest public transportation, so it’s helpful to have your own vehicle to get around and explore nearby historic sites. If you want some suggestions about cool places to visit, the hosts have lived in the castle for 20 years and can give you good recommendations. 

Here’s what people usually ask us when they look for vacation homes in Ireland.

What are the best castles in Ireland?

The best castles in Ireland are: – Drummond Tower – The Spires – Fanningstown Castle

What are the cheapest castles in Ireland?

The best affordable castles in Ireland are: – Abbeyglen Castle Hotel – Creg Castle – Medieval Durhamstown Castle

What are the coolest castles in Ireland?

The coolest castle in Ireland is Carraigin Castle . It has insanely beautiful views and is totally private for you and your group.

Where can you book the best castles in Ireland?

Airbnb is the best place to find castles in Ireland. You can find a spot to suit your budget, group and preferred location with an easy search.

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ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

ireland castles to visit

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Whether you’re a long-term backpacker exploring Europe or just traveling for a short summer family vacation, there is nothing quite like having the experience of staying in one of Ireland’s castles. 

It’s a chance for you to see the amazing history of the country first-hand, not to mention some great bragging rights with all your friends and family! In terms of unique holiday rentals in Ireland, castles definitely take the gold medal in terms of authenticity and fantasy appeal. 

ireland castles to visit

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Sophie Steinebach

Sophie Steinebach

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15 Top-Rated Castles in Ireland

Written by Anietra Hamper Updated Oct 21, 2021 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

One of the most extraordinary things to do in Ireland is visit some of the centuries-old castles that accent the landscape throughout the country. Your castle options are vast, from the 13 th -century Dublin Castle in the heart of the bustling capital city to the ancient Trim Castle, one of the largest and most storied fortresses on the Emerald Isle and the backdrop for the movie Braveheart .

You can dress up like a character from the show Game of Thrones and shoot arrows in the courtyard at the Castle Ward or walk through the protected ruins of Dunamase Castle, which towers above the countryside in eastern Ireland.

Ireland has so many castles because throughout the centuries, local and regional rulers built fortresses to protect their land and belongings. Their castle dwellings represented wealth and power.

Castles were built at different periods, marking significant milestones in Irish history, from the medieval Norman and Viking periods to the English invasions. Whether you want to stay in a castle or just explore one for the day, you should plot your destinations before you arrive. For ideas, see our list of the top castles in Ireland.

1. Dublin Castle

2. trim castle, 3. dunluce castle, 4. bunratty castle, 5. enniskillen castle, 6. cahir castle, 7. dromoland castle, 8. castle ward, 9. dunamase castle, 10. glenveagh castle, 11. birr castle, 12. blarney castle, 13. kylemore castle, 14. kilkenny castle, 15. slane castle, map of castles in ireland.

Dublin Castle

One of the most significant symbols of power in Ireland is Dublin Castle. This 13 th -century castle , which is more of a multi-building complex, was built on a Viking settlement. The castle served as the government complex for the English then British rule for centuries and now serves as a main tourist destination.

Some of the castle highlights include extensive decorative arts in the form of formal portraits of rulers and royalty, as well as period furniture. Be sure to visit The Chapel Royal, a Gothic Revival chapel, which has been at Dublin Castle since 1242, and the castle gardens that have been here since the early 17 th century, featuring the Dubh Linn Garden, where patterns of sea serpents are cut into the lawn.

Beneath the castle, you can see ongoing excavations of Viking defenses that have been preserved. You can even go down steps to see the original moat.

Address: Dame Street, Dublin 2

Official site: http://www.dublincastle.ie

Trim Castle

For a castle worthy of bragging rights after your vacation, the Trim Castle is a must-visit. This is where Mel Gibson filmed the movie Braveheart , so you will likely recognize the iconic features of this powerful Norman Irish fortress. Construction started on the Trim Castle in 1176 and took 30 years to complete.

This massive structure has a 20-sided tower, masterful curtain wall, and moat. It is the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland and has also served as a prison and private home over the centuries.

Now, it is a popular tourist attraction and well worth your time to visit. You can only take a guided tour of the castle, but you can explore the riverside grounds on your own. You can also plan a stay at the Trim Castle Hotel and live like royalty during your trip.

Seaside Dunluce Castle

If castle mystery is more your speed then the coastal Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland should top your list. The medieval castle sits on a clifftop along the remote northern coast. The ruins on the site are said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman who died there, and there are mythical tales about fairies and fierce battles that took place on the site.

The Dunluce Castle was built as a family home in the 1500s and served as the inspiration for author C.S. Lewis, who used it to create his Cair Paravel castle in The Chronicles of Narnia .

The site is now under the guardianship of the Northern Irish Environment Agency. These are great ruins to explore, but a stop at the information center for some history and information before you set out will help in your understanding of the site.

Address: 87 Dunluce Road, Bushmills, County Antrim

Bunratty Castle

The Bunratty Castle is one of the best castles for bringing the medieval times to life. The castle was once part of a Viking trading camp in 970. It has been beautifully restored to its mostly original condition and houses one of the most extensive collections of medieval furniture in Ireland.

There is a Folk Park on the grounds , which is a 19 th- century living village, with 30 buildings that imitate what life in Ireland was like in the 1800s. The village is nice, especially for children, who can wander through the recreated farmhouses and village streets and buildings with a backdrop of Irish music.

One of the most engaging experience at the Bunratty Castle is the medieval banquet that you can take part in for an evening of indulgent food, dance, and music inside the castle. You can stay at the Bunratty Castle Hotel if you want to make several days out of your visit to the area.

Official site: www.bunrattycastle.ie

Enniskillen Castle

The Enniskillen Castle is a stunning structure that can be seen from the River Erne . The turrets and massive fortress walls are believed to have been constructed in the early 1400s, protecting the land in Northern Ireland.

Today, the castle houses two museums that highlight and preserve Fermanagh culture. The Fermanagh County Museum showcases the history of the region and the Inniskillings Museum has displays of 17 th- century weapons, military equipment, and uniforms. Take some time to go through both museums and walk the manicured grounds.

If your Ireland visit includes researching your family history, you may want to schedule a genealogy consultation at the castle.

Address: County Fermanagh, Enniskillen BT74 7HL, Northern Ireland

Official site: www.enniskillencastle.co.uk

Cahir Castle

As one of the largest castles in Ireland, the Cahir Castle maintains much of its original structure. The castle was built on solid rock on the River Suir, and it was one of the most powerful strongholds against invaders in the country.

It is notable because of its preservation, which is remarkable since it was built in 1142. If you want to see and experience authentic, original elements of a castle then the Cahir Castle should be on your list. There are guided tours that take about an hour and an audio-visual show that chronicles the castle's long history. Address: Castle Street, Cahir

Dromoland Castle

The elegant 16 th- century Dromoland Castle has its roots in the family lineage of Donough O'Brien, who ruled Dromoland in 1014 and is a family name of high nobility in Ireland. The 450-acre estate is now a destination for travelers, who come to stay in the lavish bedrooms with canopied beds and embellished furniture fit for a king.

The estate has a spa , a championship 18-hole golf course , and outdoor recreation, and it is a popular destination for weddings . While the Dromoland Castle is a destination versus a day visit, you can still swing by for a peek at the grounds, even if you are not staying here. Address: Newmarket-On-Fergus, Co. Clare

Official site: https://www.dromoland.ie

Castle Ward

For Game of Thrones fans, the Castle Ward is an unforgettable experience. The 18 th- century castle is the main filming location for the show . An exciting way to enjoy a visit to Castle Ward is to take part in a medieval banquet or sign up for the ClearSky Adventures on-site, which lets you try on Game of Thrones costumes with experts, who teach you how to shoot arrows in the courtyard.

Non- Game of Thrones visitors will enjoy the unusual architecture of the castle. When the castle was built for Lord Bangor and his wife, they could not agree on a structural style, so they compromised by building one side in Gothic architecture for him and the other in Palladian geometry to suit her. The Castle Ward is one of the most unique in Ireland.

Official site: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/castle-ward

Rock of Dunamase at sunset

The ruins of the Dunamase Castle are a destination for those who like to explore a little bit on their own. The structure, now only remnants, is referred to as the Rock of Dunamase. It was built in the Middle Ages, but archaeology research suggests that it dates back even further, to the 9 th century, and was once occupied by Vikings. The site is now a national monument, with a storied history. It sits 46 meters above the countryside on the eastern side of Ireland and is free to visit on your own.

Glenveagh Castle

The Glenveagh Castle is part of the Glenveagh National Park , a great location to put on your list if you are looking for a little recreation beyond just a castle visit. This remote 19 th- century castle is set near the Derryveagh Mountains and was an idyllic retreat for the private owners who occupied it since the 1800s.

As personal friends of the owners, Hollywood stars like Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin were known to visit the castle.

The 40,000-acres that surround the castle are fantastic for exploring. You can hike the trails and stroll through the gardens , or you can take a scenic drive through the estate property on a bus from the visitor center. Address: Church Hill, Letterkenny, County Donegal

Official site: https://www.glenveaghnationalpark.ie

Birr Castle

For an experience that combines the most stunning representation of early Irish castle architecture and gardens with science and engineering, visit the Birr Castle Gardens & Science Center. This castle is unique because it is still a private residence, although the descendants of the Parsons family open their doors to the public at regularly scheduled times between May and August.

Birr Castle was built in the 11 th century and welcomes guests with 3.6-meter walls at the central gate. The tours of the castle are only a small part of the experience. The Great Telescope is a must-see in the science center on the grounds. It was the largest telescope in the world for more than 70 years and it still operates today, remaining one of Ireland's most significant scientific contributions.

Address: Rosse Row, Birr, County Offaly

Official site: https://birrcastle.com

Blarney Castle

You have likely heard of the Blarney Stone in Ireland and the luck bestowed upon those who kiss it – a tradition that goes back more than 200 years. The Blarney Stone is just one of the reasons to visit Blarney Castle.

Be advised that if you plan to venture to the top of the tower to kiss the Blarney stone, lines will likely be long on busy days and can take several hours. That can also mean standing in tight stone stairways for long periods of time, so you will want to check the lines for that first as you plan your visit.

This is actually the third castle on this site, built in 1446. The first castle, made of wood, and the second castle, made of stone, were demolished over time and replaced by Blarney Castle, which welcomes visitors today.

Besides touring the castle and kissing the Blarney Stone, be sure to see the unusual gardens, which include a fern garden; woodlands; and a Poison Garden with plants that are so toxic, they have to be kept behind protective structures.

Official site: https://www.blarneycastle.ie

Kylemore Castle

One of the most impressive castles in Ireland is in the northwest in Connemara, overlooking Lough Pollacappul. The castle sits on more than 15,000 acres of land, with stunning gardens and a classically Victorian walled garden.

The castle was built in 1871 as a gift to the wife of an English doctor. The estate changed hands several times, eventually becoming an Abbey in 1920, when it was purchased by the Irish Benedictine. Although you can explore the castle grounds on your own, first-time visitors should take a guided tour to capture the full history and significance of the castle.

Some of the things to include on your Kylemore Castle must-experience list are: going inside to see the restored rooms and artifacts from previous owners, walking through the six acres of walled gardens accented with fruit trees and flower and herb gardens, and visiting the Neo-Gothic church on the estate.

Location: Kylemore Abbey, Pollacappul, Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland

Official site: https://www.kylemoreabbey.com/

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle in southeast Ireland is a 12th-century castle overlooking the River Nore. The castle holds an important piece of Ireland's history following the Norman conquest. Kilkenny Castle was privately owned for hundreds of years until the mid-1960s, when it became the property of the city of Kilkenny.

Today, it remains one of the finest examples of castle architecture in the country. You can walk the stairs below the Rose Garden Terrace to the castle's medieval foundation, and see how the structure winds through the ground floor. Be sure to take note of the circular room beneath the West Tower, which gives insight into the methods used during the castle's 13th-century construction. It seems labor intensive compared to what is used today with technology and machines.

Inside the castle, you can see a cantilevered staircase, a fireplace made entirely of marble, and a stunning grand entrance corridor that adjoins the east and west wings. The castle's collection of 17th-century tapestries is also worth a visit. You will want to plan a significant amount of time to walk the grounds, which feature a park and gardens.

Official site: https://kilkennycastle.ie/

Slane Castle

The Gothic Revival architecture of Slane Castle in County Meath is one of the reasons it is a standout among castles in Ireland. It was built in the late 1700s in the Boyne Valley by a family committed to improving the Village of Slane.

Guided tours of the castle are offered and recommended as a way to learn about the history of the castle, the significance of its architecture, and the people who lived in the castle throughout the centuries. The estate sits on more than 1,500 acres of park green space, which is nice to stroll, or you can hike up the Hill of Slane to find out about its connection to St. Patrick.

The Slane Castle has also been transformed into a concert venue, so that is a unique way to enjoy the estate if there is an event scheduled during your stay. There are overnight accommodations at Slane Castle available at the organic farm located on the estate.

Official site: https://www.slanecastle.ie/

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15+ Best Castles in Ireland to Visit

Ireland is a wonderful country with a rich history – and part of that history is on full display in their castles. Filled with legends, stories, love and war – the best castles in Ireland have it all. I teamed up with other travel experts to bring you over 15 of the best castles to visit in Ireland!

Be sure to add at least some of these to your Ireland Bucket List !

(P.S. If your favorite didn’t make the cut, let me know in the comments and I’ll add it as a reader favorite!)

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Ashford Castle

Recommended by olivia of girl with blue sails.

On the west coast of Ireland, overlooking Lough Corrib, stands iconic Ashford Castle. This medieval castle, originating from 1228, is now a 5-star luxury hotel, with a high-end spa and sprawling grounds, making it one of the best castles in Ireland to visit. It’s about a 45-minute picturesque drive from the major city of Galway and is entirely worth the visit. The history and opulence inside these castle walls provide an experience like no other. 

This historic castle has been passed through the ownership of many wealthy and established families, one of them famously being the Guinness family in the 1800s. The Guinness family is responsible for adding the two regal Victorian wings onto the castle. This estate is now owned by Red Carnation Hotels, who made the hotel into the record-breaking hotel property that it is today. 

Ashford Castle is a hotel able to be booked and visited by all. It has a variety of rooms and suites, as well as accessible rooms and ramps. Ashford’s grounds are freely open to visitors, who are able to stop by for lunch, dinner, or a stroll around the gardens. There are a variety of activities offered at Ashford as well that can be booked ahead of time online, including falconry, horseback riding, clay pigeon shooting, or a boat ride out on the lake.

Ashford Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Ireland

Blarney Castle

Recommended by me, the directionally challenged traveler.

One of the most famous castles in Ireland is Blarney Castle. It got it’s reputation because of the Blarney Stone, but it has more to offer. The fortress is over 600 years old and is home to interesting rock formations, ‘Rock Close’ and extensive gardens.

The most common reason people visit Blarney Castle is because of the Stone of Eloquence. Affectionately nicknamed the Blarney Stone, the legend is that if you kiss it you’ll receive the gift of gab. You’ll never be at a loss for words in any situation.

In order to kiss the Blarney Stone , you have to be brave! You must hang upside over a sheer cliff, kiss the stone, and balance yourself on a narrow ledge before you can receive the gift of eloquence. There are handles to hold on to, and people who will help you kiss the stone and they disinfect the stones between each person.

Admission to Blarney Castle does not include a tour – but tours do include admission in their price. Entry costs for the castle and grounds are 18€ for an adult, 14€ for seniors and students, 8€ for children between 8-16, and 45€ for a family (2 adults and 2 children). Be sure to give yourself a few hours to explore the castle and grounds! 

There is even more to see in Blarney, so if time allows, stay overnight at the Muskerry Arms Hotel and Restaurant.

Blarney Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland to visit.

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

Recommended by catherine at postcard narrative.

Bunratty Castle earns its place on this list particularly due to its Folk Park that transports you back into an era in which the castle was occupied.   A village was recreated to show how rural and urban lifestyles blended at the turn of the 19th century with homes, businesses, and farms set up as they were back then.  You’ll find musicians and actors who elevate your journey through time. 

Since it was developed in 1250 as a Norman Defensive fort, four castles have been built upon the grounds.  It is perhaps most famous for its occupation by the MacNamara and O’Brien clans and later Earls. 

The Bunratty Castle and Folk Park are located 20 minutes outside of Limerick, on the West side of Ireland. Visitors are welcomed to Bunratty daily during the spring and summer from 9:30 am-5:30 pm. Adult tickets are €15.25 and they offer discount ticket packages for families .  Consider adding another immersive experience, like a banquet dinner in the castle!

Bunratty is an ideal castle to visit with kids as there is so much more than the castle on the property to keep them engaged, active, and learning about days of old in the process.  They’ll get a glimpse into what a school house would’ve looked like 200 years ago and have the opportunity to interact with animals at the farm.  Fairies are alive and well in Ireland. Step into Bunratty’s mystical world on its Interactive Fairy Trail.   Before departing, burn off kids’ energy at the Viking Playground.

Bunratty Castle in Ireland

Cahir Castle

Recommended by faith of xyuandbeyond.

Cahir Castle can be found in Tipperary a mere 20-minute drive from the Rock of Cashel. Built-in the 13th century Cahir is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Ireland. Cahir (pronounced Kare) can be found situated on a tiny island in the River Suir. Archaeological evidence points to a house on the island that was occupied by Brian Boru around 926 and according to the Book of Lecan, a fort was destroyed here in the 3rd century. According to historians, the original fort was home to the Kings of Munster before the arrival of Christianity. It is from the word ‘cathair’ that the town’s name comes from.

At the time of building, Cahir Castle was at the cutting edge of defensive castle design and much of the original structure remains. Tickets for the castle cost Adult: €5.00 and this includes the exhibits displayed on the lower levels of the Castle and an audiovisual presentation of the castle’s history. The ground floor is accessible only as well as the courtyard of the Castle. The Castles hours do change depending on the season but it is open all year round. The Butler family came to Ireland in the late 12th century as a part of the Norman invasion and Theobald Fitzwalter married Stongbow’s daughter Isabel. Cahir was built by the Butlers to ensure their dominance and control within the local area.

In the 60’s the Castle was bought by the State and declared a National Monument and it is one of the few castles that contains several authentic pieces of medieval furniture and one of only three in the country to have a functioning portcullis. Cahir is also home to the Swiss Cottage which was built in the 1800s as a country retreat as the style is known as “Cottage Orne” which really means ornamental. The Cottage is believed to have been designed by John Nash and is a beautiful 2km walk from Cahir Castle.

Chair Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Ireland to visit.

Donegal Castle

Located in the north of Ireland (not to be confused with Northern Ireland) Donegal Castle is a must-visit. Nestled near River Eske in County Donegal, it’s easy to visit this castle from Galway .

The castle was built in 1474 by the O’Donnell family – one of the most powerful Gaelic families of that time. However, after the English won the Battle of Kinsale, Red Hugh O’Donnell (head of the family) destroyed the castle to prevent it from being in British hands and fled to Spain.

The castle was rebuilt by English captain Sir Basil Brooke with some notable improvements – such as a show-stopping fireplace and a nearby manor house. Upon his death in 1633, the castle changed hands a few times before falling into ruins until the 1990’s. Thanks to extensive restoration efforts, the magic of the castle is back and perfect for visitors to get a glimpse into history.

Visitors can take a 30-45 minute self-guided tour of Donegal Castle for only €5. The tour describes the area of the castle and gardens in detail.

The town of Donegal has plenty of pubs, restaurants, and even lodging options for visitors who want to extend their time nearby. The Gateway Lodge is a 2-minute walk from the city center making it a great place to explore from!

Donegal Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland to visit.

Dublin Castle

Recommended by kate abroad.

Dublin Castle is the most accessible castle in Ireland due to its location in central Dublin. While the 800-year old castle is now a major tourist attraction, it’s also a functioning government building. What’s interesting is that for almost all of its history the castle was British rather than Irish, up until Ireland gained independence just 100 years ago, the British ruled Irealnd from Dublin Castle.  

There are three main sections of the castle that visitors will want to check out, the Chapel Royal, the State Apartment, and the excavations of the Viking settlement that was on the same site as the castle. The castle is open 7 days a week, from 9:45 am to 5:45 pm, including on bank holidays. However, Dublin Castle is sometimes shut to visitors due to government business in the building, this is usually advertised on the website with advance warning. Tickets can be purchased at the castle on the day, or online up to a week before your visit and cost €8.00 for adults, €8.00 for seniors, or €8.00 for children. You can choose to do the self-guided audio tour (included in the ticket cost) or sign up for one of the daily guided tours. A self-guided tour is a great option for solo travellers in Dublin or others who prefer to go at their own pace.

Bedford Tower of Dublin Castle in Ireland

Dunguaire Castle

Recommended by emily of emilyembarks.

Situated just 30 kilometers southeast of Galway, the Dunguaire Castle is one of the most iconic castles in Ireland to include on your trip! Offering breathtaking views of Galway Bay and nearby Kinvara for a mere €4-7 (child vs. adult), visitors can capture spectacular photos from its tower house. 

Originally constructed in the early 16 th  century, the castle was known locally as the home of Mayor Richard Martyn until 1642. Later in the 1920s, the castle’s restoration process began and it is now used to showcase the lifestyle of Irish natives from the 1520s to the present.

Plan your trip between April and early September to ensure the castle will be accepting visitors, and while they are technically open between 10:00am and 5:00pm, it’s recommended to get there early to avoid the crowds. Unfortunately, the castle is not wheelchair accessible, however, it’s still beautiful to visit and offers great photo opportunities from the ground. 

You can also opt to enjoy a medieval banquet dinner in their grand hall and even take a guided tour to learn the details of the castle’s captivating history!

After your visit to Dunguaire Castle, make your way to your  accommodation on the Dingle Peninsula . Often overlooked due to nearby Kinvara and Galway, Dingle is a unique seaside town overflowing with hospitable locals and Irish charm. The drive from the castle is wonderfully scenic, and you won’t regret taking the time to journey past several other Irish castles along the way.

Dunguaire Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Ireland.

Granuile’s Castle

Recommended by sarah carter of cornwall’s best.

The 16 th -century Granuile’s Castle is found on Clare Island in County Mayo on Ireland’s west coast.  The castle, which is a tower house is a National Monument of Ireland, was built by the O’Malley family, the Kings of Umaill, and was the stronghold of Grace O’Malley – Gráinne Ní Mháille.  The name Gráinne is anglicized as Granuile and she was known as the Pirate Queen.  The castle is located at the entrance to Clare Island harbor and its position meant that it was vital in controlling Clew Bay. The main living area of the castle was on the first floor, with access by a wooden staircase. 

The main entrance to the castle is a small passage in the wall. In 1820 the castle was converted into a police barracks. It was then taken over by the coastguard in 1831. It’s not possible to enter the castle, but it makes for a glorious photo at the entrance to the harbor at Clare Island. Ferries to Clare Island leave Roonagh Harbour, at least once a day and up to five times a day in the high season. Tickets cost €17.00 for a round trip.

Granuile's Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland to visit.

Kilkenny Castle

Recommended by rachel of caribbean uncovered.

Built over 800 years ago, rebuilt throughout the years, and renovated to open for visitors in 1976, Kilkenny Castle holds an important spot in Ireland’s rich history. The castle was originally built as a stronghold to overlook the grounds and banks of Kilkenny. 

The guided or self-guided tours will take you through the castle rooms, showcasing the history and uses of each part of the castle. If you can’t make it to Ireland, you can take an audio tour on their website! If you get a chance to visit this historic castle, visit the rose garden and lake before you leave for the perfect photo op. The tour can take 2-3 hours, but Kilkenny hosts a large farmer’s market for tourists and farmers to gather for fresh, locally sourced food and produce every Thursday if you want to make a day of it.

Hours, admission cost October to March 09:30 – 17:00 April to September 09:15 – 17:30 Admission ranges from $4-$20 with discounts available for students, families, and seniors.

Handicapped accessibility Admission to Kilkenny is free for visitors with disabilities. The castle is accessible to visitors with hearing and vision impairments. They also offer sensory-friendly visiting times.

For visitors with limited mobility, some rooms are handicap accessible, but not all. However, they continue to improve their facilities to make the castle more accessible in the future!

Kilkenny Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland to visit.

Malahide Castle

Recommended by anda of travel for a while.

Malahide Castle is one of the most accessible Irish castles to visit from Dublin. Add to that a long history and some amazing gardens, and you have enough reasons to take a short trip to  Malahide Castle and Gardens . The castle has been owned and lived in by the same family, the Talbots, for most of its 800 years history until being bought by the Irish State.

You can only visit Malahide Castle on a guided tour. Join one of the four daily tours at 9:30, 12:30, 14:30, or 16:30. The tour lasts about 45 minutes, and an adult ticket costs 14 Euros, and they have some family ticket options as well. You’ll hear about the Talbots’ story but also learn about Ireland’s history or nobility traditions throughout the centuries. Throw in some local ghost stories, and the tour will just fly by.

The gardens are completely wheelchair accessible, but on the castle tour, you can only visit the first floor in a wheelchair, but the second floor where the private rooms are located is only accessible by stairs. Around the castle, the domain is covered by large green areas, a Botanical Garden with a Butterfly House, the West Lawn, some public gardens, and sports centers. On the West Lawn, a huge attraction for the little ones is the fun Fairy trail that takes about an hour and a half to complete.

Malahide Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland to visit.

Rock of Cashel

The seat of the High Kings of Munster, the Rock of Cashel is technically not a castle. However, it’s pretty close, so let’s include it on this list! It’s actually one of the most intact, historically significant structures in Ireland dating back to medieval times! It also goes by the name Cashel of the Kings.

History (or legend) states that this is where St. Patrick (yes, that saint) converted King Aenghus to Christianity in the 5th Century AD. The site was granted to the church in 1101. That’s when the medieval complex was built. The complex includes a cathedral, tower house, chapel, and an abbey.

You can do a self-guided tour of The Rock of Cashel for €8. Give yourself about an hour to 90 minutes to do the full tour. If you have more time in the area, there is a nearby monastery, Hore Abbey. You can walk through the ruins for free. 

It’s easy to get to the Rock of Cashel from Dublin. It’s a two-hour drive or you can take a tour. If you’re road-tripping through Ireland, you can base yourself in Kilkenny and you’d be under an hour away. 

The Rock of Cashel, Ireland.

Ross Castle

Recommended by janelle of make the trip matter.

Ross Castle is located on the edge of Killarney’s lower lake (Lough Leane) in County Kerry. If you are spending any time in the Ring of Kerry, this Irish castle is well worth a visit for the spectacular surrounding scenery (with panoramic views of Killarney’s lakes and beautiful Irish mountains from the upper floors) and fascinating legend.

Ross Castle was built in the 15 th  century by O’Donoghue Mór who, as legend has it, still exists in a deep slumber under the waters of Lough Leane. The legend also says that every seven years on the first morning of May he rises from the lake on his white horse and circles the lake. If you can catch a glimpse of him, it’s said you will have good fortune for the rest of your life!

The stunning restored castle is open to the public from mid-March to the end of October from 9:30 am to 5:45 pm. Admission prices to tour the castle and learn more about its history and legends start at €3 for children/students and €5 for adults.

Ross Castle can be reached in several ways. If you are driving through Ireland, Ross Castle can be reached via a signposted right turn off the N71 traveling south from Killarney. Or you can walk or cycle from the Killarney House in Killarney National Park. Otherwise, horse-drawn carriages are available in town or waterbuses depart from Ross pier to the lower lake.

Unfortunately, Ross Castle is difficult to access for those with mobility challenges. Those in wheelchairs will only be able to visit the lower floors, as the upper levels can only be reached by a spiral staircase in a narrow stairwell.

Ross Castle is an overlooked castle in Ireland worth visiting

Slaine Castle

Recommended by ruma of the holiday story.

Slane Castle is a magnificent historical monument in Boyne Valley of County Meath, Ireland. The country’s capital Dublin is nearby and takes only a thirty-five-minute drive to cover the distance. A 1500-acre compound surrounds the establishment, and the river Boyne flows by the estate borders.

It’s a family property of the Scottish Conynghams. They used to be the landowners of the area during the 17th century. The castle was reconstructed in its present form in 1785 by William Burton Conyngham and his nephew. A 1991 fire caused significant damage to the Eastern Wing. The restoration work took ten years to complete. Today this castle is known for its spectacular architecture, impressive art collection, and most importantly, the summer rock concerts. 

Legendary artists like Queen, U2, David Bowie, Madonna, etc., have performed here since 1981. The grounds can host up to 30,000 people on its expansive grounds. On other days it’s open for tourists. It is also rented as a wedding venue. The Gandon Room operates as a fine dining restaurant inside the castle. A food truck named Silver Fox Food Truck is also present in the castle courtyard that serves coffees and Irish street food to tourists.

The castle organizes  walking tours for visitors to Ireland . On this tour, you can visit the Slane Distillery, Hatch Bar, and a gift shop on this tour along with the public section of the castle. The castle is open from Friday to Sunday, and on Bank holiday Mondays from 10 am to 6 pm.

The castle is handicapped accessible, but some regions have a rough surface or steep incline, which might cause difficulty.

Slaine Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Ireland

Swords Castle

Recommended by adam of as adam goes.

Situated in the leafy Dublin suburb of Swords, the Castle of Swords is by far one of the most underrated gems of the region.

The castle was built in and around the year 200 by the ex-Archbishop of Dublin, John Cromyn, and was to be his residence and administrative centre. According to legend, John Cromyn had his own constable who lived in the castle with him. For those of you who don’t know, a constable was the main man to hold court in the area, so he was pretty much ruling the roost when Mr. Cromyn wasn’t around. Swords Castle is made up of several buildings that form a pentagon shape where visitors can wander through. The grounds are a brilliant place to just get lost and are easily a contender for being one of the best walks in Dublin .

Throughout the whole year, Swords Castle is open for visitors to explore, and on certain days, guided tours of the grounds can be had by booking in advance. Taking a guided tour is a great way to get a real feel for history.

In relation to opening hours/days, visitors are allowed access to the castle from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 a.m. until 16:30 p.m. The castle itself is wheelchair accessible, so there’s no need to worry.

Swords Castle is a beautiful castle in Ireland.

Trim Castle

Recommended by rachel of bucket list places.

Trim Castle is a massive, medieval castle sprawling on the south bank of the River Boyne, and an absolute must-see destination when traveling from Dublin to Galway . The castle’s history dates back to around 1220 when historians believe construction was completed under the ownership of Walter de Lacy. Nowadays, only parts of the castle’s structure are still intact, but you can peer directly into the impressive stone towers and walk along the intimidating wall. In fact, the wall itself brings its fair share of tourists due to its appearance in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart . The movie used Castle Trim to represent the walled city of York– a testament to just how huge this castle is! 

Trim Castle is open to the public every day from 10 am to 5 pm, and you can explore the ground free of charge. Purchase a tour of the castle for €5.00 per adult, €3.00 per child or student, or €13.00 for a family. Some of the grounds have steep areas and loose gravel, so it’s not entirely wheelchair accessible. However, the path around the keep is hard gravel with a few minor ups and downs, and there is a wheelchair-accessible toilet right at the entrance.

Trim Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland to visit.

Tyrellspass Castle

Recommended by paulina of ukeveryday.

If you would like to visit the last castle of Tyrrells in Ireland, look no further than Tyrrellspass Castle. This interesting building from 1411 is about one hour drive from Dublin or Galway. 20 m high fortress is easy to see from Main St and it is a great place to stop during any road trip in Ireland.

Tyrrellspass Castle is open from 10 am until 8 pm every day. After renovations, the castle was transformed into a restaurant. If you are looking for a great Irish meal in a historic building, there is no better place to visit. Food prices are affordable starting from a few euros for starters and around 15-20 euros for the main course.

Visiting Tyrrellspass Castle is perfect for everyone. Whether you want to enjoy a great meal at a table outside or eat inside the historic building, the staff is very friendly. You can also have an authentic Irish experience in one of the best castles in Ireland.

Tyrrellspass Castle is a beautiful fortress to visit with many parking spots so you will not have to worry about finding a place to park your car. It is also set in a quiet location far away from the crowds. Delicious food, easy to find, and great service, make that Tyrrellspass Castle should be on every travel bucket list in Ireland.

Tyrellsburg Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland to visit.

Map of Best Castles in Ireland to Visit

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25 thoughts on “15+ Best Castles in Ireland to Visit”

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I was in Ireland back in March and loved it! I didn’t get a chance to visit any of these, but I know I’m definitely going back to Ireland at least 5 times in my life. It’s such an amazing country!

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These castles are all so cool! I love touring castles when I travel to marvel at the amazing architecture. I would love to explore Kilkenny Castle the most – what an amazing building. Thanks for sharing!

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I am going back to Ireland in September so I will definitely be hitting some of these up! It’s such a beautiful country!

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Bunratty is the absolute best for visiting Ireland with young kids! And I’d add Athenry Castle to your list. It’s well preserved and easy to access.

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One day we are going to visit Ireland and do a long road trip. Your post has now given me many great castles we will have to see on our travels in Ireland. I am sure visiting the castles would take me back to another time. And good to see how many are in great shape. I love that some are open to tour the inside.

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Wow, this is an ultimate guide and I loved most of these castles, so I will have to save them to my bucket list. Hoping to visit Ireland soon! Thank you for putting this together, great work like always.

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I am visiting Ireland for the first time in a few days. This guide is so helpful! Some of these places were already on our list but thanks to this post, we added a few more castles to see. Thank you so much

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I didn’t realize there were so many fabulous castles in Ireland! I’d love to visit & I’d really enjoy the history! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

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Wow, they all look sooo good! I hope I can visit every single one of them one day! 🙂

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This is such a great list! I have been to most of the castles on here, and they all have unique things to see. I have a particular fondness for Blarney Castle traveling with my Dad. It brings back such good memories, and kissing the stone! It was sooo long ago, and disinfecting and other things were very laid back back then. Thinking of it, makes me want to visit again soon! Thanks for a great read.

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I need to plan a trip to Ireland. There is so much that I need to explore and discover. Castles are just another cool thing to add to my bucket list.

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I absolutely love Ireland for its heritage – thanks for sharing such a detailed guide. Hoping to tick each of these off my list one day!

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I don’t think many non-Irish think that Ireland has many castles but, as your article shows, it does – and some beautiful ones too. I been to 7 of the 15 you mention and a couple of them more than once. I used to own a house about 10 miles from Cahir castle so saw it almost daily whenever I was in town shopping for groceries or at a pub. It brings back fond memories of Cahir town This is an impressive list with lots of details to get a good idea of what to expect from these varied castles.

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I love visiting castles in different countries and I would love to visit all of them. Ireland is on my list for a long time already and I can’t wait to go there. Saving this post for my visit!

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All of these castles are stunning! We’re looking at heading to Ireland next year and this post has inspired me!

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I still haven’t visited Ireland due to the pandemic but I must redouble my efforts. I want to see all these castles. I would love to stay at Ashford Castle, the medieval castle that is now a 5-star luxury hotel, with a high-end spa!!!

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this is such a fantastic guide! you’re making me miss Ireland! I need to go back.

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I think Ashford Castle would have to be on my list mostly because you can actually stay there. What an experience that would be. I really like the idea of the Medieval banquet dinner at Dunguaire too. Growing up in the UK we always visited castles but you’re making me want to check out all of these in Ireland now

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Wow, so many awesome castles to visit in Ireland! This is a fantastic list. I’d love to visit Kilkenny Castle, looks fascinating!

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This is a great selection of castles. How does one choose- I guess you have to see them all! I especially like Malahide Castle and would want to see those gardens. Great guide for when going to Ireland. Saving for future reference.

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Thanks for sharing those, these are all lovely castles and of interest to me. As someone mentioned, it would make for a great road trip to go around Ireland and tick each castle off the list. I’ve only ever been to Dunluce Castle ruin in Northern Ireland by the Causeway but can confirm Irish castles are worth a visit.

Carolin | Solo Travel Story

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There’s nothing I love more than castles! Cannot wait to visit Ireland.

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Ireland is jam packed with wonderful castles to explore! When I was in Ireland about 7 years ago, I visited the Blarney Castle and a few other ones while on a day tour, but I’ve long since forgotten the names. I loved visiting this historic and beautiful castles, and I’d love to see more the next time I’m in Ireland.

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Amazing and lots of detail, thanks for sharing this. I plan to travel around Ireland this year, if i can see some of these castles it will be a worth while trip!

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Glad you found it helpful! If you need anymore help, just let me know!

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Tourism Teacher

30 Amazing Ireland Castles You Need To Visit

Disclaimer: Some posts on Tourism Teacher may contain affiliate links. If you appreciate this content, you can show your support by making a purchase through these links or by buying me a coffee . Thank you for your support!

The Ireland castles are some of the best in the world. Steeped with history and placed in geologically beautiful locations, a trip to Ireland is not complete visiting seeing at least some of the Ireland castles. In this article I teach you all about the top 30 castles in Ireland. Ready to learn more? Keep reading…

The Castles in Ireland

Dublin castle , malahide castle , farney castle  , cahir castle , blarney castle , charles fort kinsale, ross castle , minard castle , bunratty castle , dromoland castle , doonagore castle , abbeyglen castle , mento castle, dunguaire castle , glenveagh castle , carrickabraghy castle, saunderson castle, clough oughter castle, leap castle, birr castle, belfast castle, carrickfergus castle, dunluce castle, shankill castle, burnchurch castle, ballybur castle , lismore castle, waterford castle, reginald’s tower .

Are you planning your next vacation to Ireland? In that case, take advantage of the opportunity to view the lush scenery and see some of the finest Ireland castles. There are more than 30,000 castles throughout the nation and a trip to a castle or three is definitely one of the best things to do in Ireland ! Simply said, it would be impossible to visit them all.

To spare you the trouble of picking the top castles to see. You can read an overview of the 30 best Ireland castles in this article. So, here is a list of Ireland’s top castles to visit:

Best Ireland Castles in Dublin

30 best Ireland castles

Dublin Castle is a regal classic and a remarkable example of Dublin’s architecture. The castle’s renovation has added more to its grandeur and opulence. If you are in Dublin , stop at the castle to praise the medieval look. 

During your visit, you will be given a tour of the castle. Apart from the tour, you get the chance to walk about the gardens and admire the remarkable corners of Dublin Castle, participate in the exhibition, and enjoy refreshments at the Terrace cafe. 

30 best Ireland castles

Malahide Castle is one of the spectacular Ireland castles. The unique Gothic style combined with the seaside village attractions makes it a popular tourist destination. While at it, take the Malahide Castle tour and experience the amazing interior, stories of art, building furniture, former residents, and spooky ghosts. 

Best Ireland Castles in Tipperary

30 best Ireland castles

Considered a hidden gem, Farney Castle is home to Cyril Cullen –an Irish International designer. The round tower has exhibitions of the designer’s porcelain and knitwear designs. If you plan to go around the castle, you can visit the exhibitions and buy the stuff you love! Furthermore, the castle is open to tours daily, allowing people to see the harp recitals as well. 

30 best Ireland castles

Located on a rocky island in River Suir is Cahir Castle, which has an amazing area at the rear side to relax. It is one of the picturesque Ireland castles and has appeared in movies like Last Duel, Barry Lyndon, etc. 

On your trip, you get enthralling tales and a 15-minute presentation unveiling the castle’s development. And that’s not it. On your way out, you can walk to the Inch Field Public Park, see King Arthur’s sword, and stroll along the riverside. 

Best Ireland Castles in Cork 

30 best Ireland castles

Millions of people have marched to Blarney Castle in the last 100 years. This makes it a world landmark and an Irish treasure trove. The Blarney Stone, or the Stone of Eloquence, is particularly interesting to globetrotters due to its folktale. Legend says kissing the stone gives the person the gift of eloquence. 

30 best Ireland castles

The star-shaped Charles Fort Kinsale was built between 1677-1682 . The guided tour of the castle is a treat for Historophiles, as they get to explore the backstory of people who worked and lived here. 

Furthermore, you won’t yawn during the tour as the guide presents information enjoyably. Besides the tour, you can make your own way around, so grab the brochure and relish the fascinating views and incredible architecture. 

Best Ireland Castles in Kerry

30 best Ireland castles

A tower house facing the shores of Lough Leane, Ross Castle is a famous heritage site and one of the tourist favourite Ireland castles. So what makes it worth the hype? The castle has a hiking trail, “Ross Castle Loop”, Muckross House’s stunning gardens, and farms. In addition, you can trek to the impressive Torc Waterfall and even book a boat tour to admire the castle’s scenery. 

30 best Ireland castles

Standing on a hill overlooking the beach, Minard Castle is picture-perfect! People call it an Irish archaeology triple treasure. Reaching the castle is a bit of a challenge due to the narrow road, but in the end, it’s all worth it as you experience this spectacular marvel. 

Best Ireland Castles in Clare

30 best Ireland castles

Bunratty Castle is renowned for its medieval banquets and fine 3-course meals. People love to explore the Bunratty Folk Park adjacent to the castle, it is an open-air museum. If you’re a history buff, you’ll appreciate the splendour of the medieval furniture collection. And lastly, stroll around the roof to see phenomenal views. 

30 best Ireland castles

Dromoland Castle is a castle-turned-hotel offering a luxurious and royal experience to guests. The hotel is located on the captivating West Coast of Ireland. You will be caught up in amazing resort activities like biking, horseback riding, playing tennis, clay shooting, hiking, jogging, and fishing during your stay. You can also walk about the Walled Garden, and your kids can enjoy the go-kart course. 

30 best Ireland castles

Referred to as a Disney-like tower, Doonagore Castle is one of the most beautiful Ireland castles. Despite its seeming beauty, the castle has a sinister past that sends shivers down the spine. On sunny days, you can see boats around the Doolin Pier and the breathtaking Aran Islands . If you are looking for sightseeing around the castle, the Cliffs of Moher, Inisheer, and the Burren Doolin Cave are some must-visit locations. 

Best Ireland Castles in Galway

30 best Ireland castles

Built-in the 16th century, the Abbeyglen Castle is situated in scenic surroundings near the Lough Corrib shores. The castle’s location on a rocky island makes it an immaculate example of a tower house. When visiting the castle, you can tour the banquet hall, the dry harbor, and the watchtower.

30 best Ireland castles

The Mento Castle is a remarkable landmark on the River Corrib’s bank. Covered in ivy, the castle blends in with the natural surroundings. You can walk from Galway to the castle while enjoying the riverside view. The peculiar thing about this site is the local folklore of fairies dancing in the nearby fields. 

30 best Ireland castles

Dunguaire Castle is a 75-foot tower at an impressive location at Galway Bay. The castle has a marvelous backdrop, making it one of the most photographed Ireland castles. Every year from April to October, Dunguaire Castle organizes medieval banquets, where you can savor 4-course meals and wines while being amused by poems, songs, and stories. 

Best Ireland Castles in Donegal

30 best Ireland castles

Glenveagh Castle, also known as the “Castellated Mansion”, is an inspiration for the Victorian romantic highland retreat. The castle overlooks the Lough Veagh, also called the Lake of the Birch, situated in the remote mountain setting. A fascinating feature of the castle is the crowning watch tower which is a hallmark of the area and can be seen by visitors from miles away. 

30 best Ireland castles

The magnificent Doe Castle, a historical site overlooking the ocean , is a must-see while traveling northwestern Donegal. Although it is free to enter and the grounds are accessible year-round, only the summer season offers guided excursions. Doe Castle’s closeness to several of Donegal’s best places, like Ards Forest Park, Glenveagh National Park, and Muckish Mountain, is one of its many charms. 

30 best Ireland castles

The Carrickabraghy Castle is perched on a rocky hill at The Isle of Doagh’s northwestern point. Locally referred to as “The Castles,” it is a stunning location with legends of bravery and battles, foreign invasion, and uprising. The location is very important in terms of local and national Irish history.

Best Ireland Castles in Cavan

30 best Ireland castles

A perfect representation of a large classic Irish castle, the Saunderson Castle is impeccable. It is situated in a stunning area of the Irish countryside and is flanked by woodlands and meadows. The castle’s setting allows travelers to indulge in the natural splendor and discover the past.

30 best Ireland castles

Clough Oughter Castle is situated on an artificial island on Lough Oughter and is accessible by boat. Book a Guided Kayak Tour if you want a unique experience while touring the castle. With an expert guide, paddle out to the castle, and learn the history while getting close to the wildlife.

Best Ireland Castles in Offaly 

30 best Ireland castles

Featuring the architectural heritage of Offaly, Leap Castle is a stone castle. The distinguishing feature of the castle is the presence of supernatural powers. Many visitors and even the owners have been confirmed to have sighted ghosts — making it one of the most haunted Ireland castles. Before exploring the castle, you should research the eerie history for a fascinating experience.

30 best Ireland castles

Birr Castle is a unique marvel in the heart of Ireland. The castle’s Science Center is the main attraction for many people. Visit the centre to see the wonder of early engineering, photography, and astronomy. 

In addition, the castle has the biggest treehouse in Ireland, with complimentary play equipment that kids can enjoy. The next stop to the treehouse is a cosy courtyard cafe that serves scones and jam with tea. It would be best if you also spent some time in Birr itself while in the vicinity.

Best Ireland Castles in Antrim

30 best Ireland castles

Belfast Castle is a medieval castle situated on the Cavehill Country Park’s slope. One of its most recognizable elements is the winding stone stairway on the garden façade. Tourists can enjoy the unhindered views of Belfast City and Belfast Lough through the castle. Besides the view, the castle is home to various animals, including long-eared owls, sparrowhawks, Belfast’s most endangered plant, the town hall clock, and parks. 

30 best Ireland castles

One of the most well-known Ireland castles is undoubtedly the impressive Carrickfergus Castle. You can pre-arrange guided tours given by skilled local guides or take your time and use the information boards to see the castle at your own pace. The immersive D3 experience is the highlight of the trip. Visitors may use the App to point at a cannon and watch as it fires on a ship at sea. 

30 best Ireland castles

Of all the Irish castles, Dunluce is among the most majestic and charming ones. The landscape of the castle is picturesque. It is located on the top of a crumbling cliff on the edge of the Sea of Moyle. A great place to stop and take in the breathtaking coastline view that is the nearby Magheracross Viewing Point and Picnic Area.

Best Ireland Castles in Kilkenny

30 best Ireland castles

Shankill Castle is an iconic landmark only a few miles from Gowran Castle. The castle has a stunning and magnificent spring garden with vibrant boundaries. It is a beautiful spot to get away from the bustle of contemporary life. If you enjoy gardening or admire the beauty of a well-kept garden, you should pay a visit to the castle.

30 best Ireland castles

Burnchurch Castle, a national monument, offers a sense of mystery with its underground tunnels and hidden apartments. This is a site you must see if you enjoy the mystery. The cramped rooms inside the walls amplify the castle’s enigmatic atmosphere. It is a superb illustration of the stepped battlements that are distinctive to Irish architecture.

30 best Ireland castles

Ballybur Castle is a five-story luxury vacation residence from the 16th century. All year long, the castle is available for self-catering vacations if you’re looking for a calm stay. It is a great venue for special occasions, including weddings, honeymoons, business gatherings, and gala banquets, and it can accommodate a wide range of events.

Best Ireland Castles in Waterford

30 best Ireland castles

The picturesque Lismore Castle is one of the incredible Ireland castles. You may stroll in the vast gardens and marvel at some breathtaking views of the castle and the surrounding area. Another interesting thing is that you can rent out exclusively!

30 best Ireland castles

One of Ireland’s finest Irish castle hotels is unquestionably the magical Waterford Castle Hotel. The castle has walking paths through the wilderness, a golf course, a driving range, tennis and basketball facilities, a playground, and lawn croquet. During the summer months, there is a kids club at Waterford Castle, and a junior golf camp is also offered at certain times.

30 best Ireland castles

One of Waterford’s most well-known landmarks is the ancient Reginald’s Tower. It currently has fascinating exhibits and relics from the Viking museum. One of its key attractions is the sheer number of objects inside Reginald’s Tower’s walls. There’s plenty to keep you entertained, including cannonballs, Viking swords, and reconstructions of old Waterford.

Final Word on the Best Ireland Castles

From 5-star castle hotels to ruins, Ireland has a rich castle tradition. On your next trip, remember to add at least one castle to your itinerary. Take this opportunity to explore the long history filled with mystery, violence, and vibrant characters!

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Isle Inn Tours

The Ultimate Guide to the Most Beautiful Castles in Ireland

ireland castles to visit

With more than 30,000 castles, or remnants of castles, on the Emerald Isle, this iconic stone structure becomes a part of the scenery on nearly any drive around Ireland. While there are some fantastic hotel castles (see our Castle and Manor House itinerary for example) we’ve compiled this like of the best castles in Ireland to explore the country’s legends and history.

All of the Most Stunning Castles in Ireland

Trim castle.

We’d be remiss to leave out Trim Castle, which “starred” as the Scottish Castle from Braveheart.  For our customers interested in Scottish castles, you’ll have to wait for our next list but you won’t find the Braveheart Castle there – you’ll have to go to Ireland! Located on the River Boyne and not far from Dublin, Trim is a great location for anyone visiting Newgrange on a day tour from Dublin.

ireland castles to visit

Dunluce Castle

Dunlace is an icon along the iconic Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland, and is a wonderful stop on any castle tour of Ireland. Once owned by Winston Churchill, the castle has an interesting history to go with the unrivaled location – making it one of Northern Ireland’s most photographed sports.

ireland castles to visit

Enniskillen Castle

Enniskillen Castle is another gem in Northern Ireland! Any visit to the Fermanagh Lake Region would not be complete without a stop at this wonderfully restored 600 year old castle and museum.  

ireland castles to visit

Kilkenny Castle

This castle is perhaps one of the best examples of an Anglo-era castle, and the tour is very well done. Located in the middle of the great town of Kilkenny, it’s a great stop on any itinerary that passes through the middle of the country. Be sure to pop in to the Kilkenny Design Center across the road after your tour or into Smithwicks Brewery for a look around.

ireland castles to visit

The Rock of Cashel

The history of Ireland, her Kings and Saints, are captured perfectly in a visit to Cashel. If you only see one castle on your tour of Ireland, Cashel would be a great choice. Located between Dublin and the popular tourist sights in Ireland’s Southwest, The Rock of Cashel and the nearby folk village are great stops!

ireland castles to visit

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle is without a doubt the most infamous of Irish castles, and even if kissing the legendary stone is not your thing (eek, hand me the Purell!) the grounds are stunning and if you have any last minute gift shopping to do you won’t find a better selection than at the Blarney Woolen Mill shop located adjacent to the castle.

ireland castles to visit

Bunratty can perhaps be dubbed the second-most “touristy” of all of Ireland’s castles, but it does it’s duty as one of the country’s favorite places to play “make pretend” as you attend a recreation of a royal dinner from centuries past. It’s authentic right down to the warm honey mead, Ireland’s version of the Hawaiian luau. A must see!

ireland castles to visit

King John’s Castle

King John’s Castle is a great example of a traditional Irish castle and is one of our favorite places to stop with kids! There’s an opportunity to dress up and take pictures as part of the tour, and what kid (of any age) doesn’t like a little dress up now and then?

ireland castles to visit

Ross Castle

Ross Castle makes our list because what list of castles would be complete without a “haunted” one?  Among all the things to see and do in Killarney, Ross Castle stands out for its history and easy access. In fact, you can actually ride to the castle in a traditional jaunting car (horse drawn carriage) from the middle of town and the walk back (less than 2 miles) through Killarney National Park is wonderful.

ireland castles to visit

Glenveagh Castle

While not haunted, Glenveagh is said to be cursed for the cruel treatment it’s original owner, Captain John Adair, put on the local tenants during the Captain’s time there. No subsequent owners ever found good fortune on the grounds and the estate was eventually donated to the public. It makes up a large part of the wonderful Glenveagh National Park.

ireland castles to visit

Cahir Castle

We had to put at least one “movie star” castle on our list! Cahir, located in Tipperary, was prominently featured in the film Excalibur.  But, perhaps more interesting is the actual cannonball that found its way over the moat and into the wall during the Nine Years War!

ireland castles to visit

If you’re going to be visiting Ireland, you’ll of course want to visit some castles and manors while you’re there! Ireland is known for their historic castles and they do not disappoint! On our most recent visit to Ireland, we visited a few that we just had to share with you all. Read on to discover some amazing stops during your travels!

Lough Rynn Castle

Located in Leitrim, Ireland, this castle is one that you can stay a night or two in while visiting Ireland! With spacious, immaculate grounds and locally-sourced food, you’ll be sure to enjoy your time at Lough Rynn.  Even if you don’t want to stay the night, you can enjoy a tour of the castle or afternoon tea! While there, make sure you explore the Victorian Walled Gardens!

ireland castles to visit

Markree Castle

This newly-opened castle is another that you can enjoy a few nights living like a king or queen in! Located in County Sligo, on the route of The Wild Atlantic Way, Markree Castle oozes elegance and romance. With majestic staircases and opulent suites, this castle specializes in weddings and bridal rooms, so if you’re looking for a honeymoon destination, this is your spot!

ireland castles to visit

Castle Leslie

Nestled on 1,000 acres of stunning Irish countryside, this castle is located in Glaslough, County Monaghan, and considered to be one of the finest Castle Hotels Ireland has to offer. Not only can you stay at this beautiful estate, the grounds offer an array of exciting activities for you to do while you’re there! Go horseback riding, kayaking, enjoy time at their Victorian spa…and so much more!

ireland castles to visit

Ashford Castle

This 5 star rated castle is set upon 350 acres on the picturesque shores of Lough Corrib. The castle contains a wealth of history, dating back to 1228, so you’ll want to get a tour while you’re there. Stay in one of their amazing 82 rooms or the Hideaway cottage and enjoy a wide array of activities while there! Their hotel spa was rated the best castle spa in Ireland, so make sure you stop by for a massage!

Don’t forget that we offer a comprehensive Castles And Manors Ireland Tour so you can see many of these incredible castles and more! You can request to download a free copy of our brochure here .

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog

A local's guide to 25 of the best castles in ireland.

Best Castles in Ireland: Castle Roche

Map of the Best Ireland Castles

Map of the Best Castles in Ireland

Best Castles Near Dublin

1. drimnagh castle.

Best Castles in Dublin: Drimnagh Castle

3 Castle Fast Facts

  • Drimnagh harkens back to the Norman period with the first recorded owners dating back to 1216.
  • In the early 20th century, the castle was taken over by dairy farmers to graze their cattle.
  • Drimnagh was a ruined castle brought back to life in the 1980s when it was lovingly restored using Medieval techniques

3 Reasons to Visit 

  • Drimnagh is the only castle in Ireland that still has a flooded moat. 
  • The 17th Century French-style walled garden is a real gem.
  • The craftspeople who restored the Medieval castle to its former glory carved their likenesses into the busts in the great hall.

2. Trim Castle

Ireland Castles: Trim Castle

  • Trim Castle was built in the 12th century over a 30 year period by Hugh de Lacy.
  • Trim masqueraded as the walled city of York in Mel Gibson's Braveheart.
  • The garrison at Trim was occupied by the army of Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century after the sacking of Drogheda in 1649.
  • Trim is the largest Cambro-Norman castle in Ireland.
  • Trim Castle presents a moody vibe that fluctuates with the weather. 
  • The grounds are incredibly atmospheric especially when bathed in an early morning fog.

3. Dalkey Castle

Dalkey Castle

  • Dalkey was originally a Viking settlement.
  • Dalkey Castle (much like other castles of the period) has a "murder hole" where boiling liquids could be poured on invaders. 
  • Dalkey Castle has a Medieval toilet where inhabitants hung their clothes so that the ammonia would kill any lice and 'clean' the clothing.
  • You may spot a celebrity on the way. Dalkey is famous for being Bono's home and this tends to attract other celebrities. Matt Damon, Russell Crowe, and Pierce Brosnan have all been spotted in Dalkey Village over the years.
  • The Living History Experience is positively magical. Learn about the history of Dalkey Castle via skilled actors in period costume.
  • Experience seaside Dublin and village life at its finest.

4. Ardgillan Castle

Ireland's Ardgillan Castle

  • Ardgillan Castle is not actually an Irish castle, but rather a large country house. 
  • Ardgillan was originally called "Prospect House" and construction began in 1738. 
  • Ardgillan remained in the Taylor family for over 200 years until 1962. In exchange for rights for the train to pass over their land, the Taylor's could hail any passing train and hop on for free.
  • The sweeping demesne with views over the Irish Sea.
  • Tour the big house which is decorated with period details.
  • Indulge in afternoon tea in the elegant drawing room on the last Saturday and Sunday of each month. 

5. Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

  • For over 700 years, Dublin Castle was the seat of English (and ultimately British) rule over Ireland.
  • Dublin Castle was originally built as a Medieval fortress.
  • Dublin Castle stands on the grounds of an old Viking settlement.
  • It's free and convenient to stroll the grounds. There is a lovely courtyard and garden to explore.
  • There are often exhibits or lectures happening at the Printworks Event and Exhibition Centre on the castle grounds.
  • The Chester Beatty Library (one of my top picks of Dublin hidden gems ) is located on the grounds of Dublin Castle. Chester Beatty Library features displays of ancient religious texts.

6. Malahide Castle

Castles in Dublin: Malahide Castle

  • King Henry II gifted Malahide and the associated harbor to Richard Talbot in 1185.
  • Malahide Castle was occupied by the Talbots, for over 800 years .
  • Malahide Castle was originally a wooden fortress, but was eventually upgraded and strengthened.
  • Malahide Castle has a butterfly garden in a greenhouse on the property.
  • Commune with nature by taking a walk in the walled garden and through the forested fairy trail.
  • The demesne (immense lawn) hosts a summer concert series.

Best Castles Beyond Dublin

7. blarney castle.

Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle in Cork

  • Blarney Castle was built over 600 years ago by Cormac McCarthy, one of Ireland's greatest chieftains.
  • Legend suggests that the Blarney Stone was one half of The Stone of Scone given by Robert the Bruce to Cormac McCarthy for supplying reinforcements at the Battle of Bannockburn in the 14th century.
  • Inhabitants escaped from Cromwellian forces via underground caves leading to Cork, Kerry, and a nearby lake.
  • To kiss the Blarney stone! Climb to the top of the tower, lean over backwards, and kiss the rock believed to give the gift of eloquence.
  • Blarney Castle features a fascinating poison garden. Watch your kids and pets as the deadly plants are not protected from curious creatures.
  • Blarney Castle is probably the most famous castle in Ireland. Just a 15 minute drive from Cork City, it's is a convenient day trip by car.

8. Kilkenny Castle

Best Castles in Ireland: Kilkenny Castle

  • Kilkenny Castle is over 800 years old.
  • The castle you see today is based on a stone fortress designed by William Marshall, the 4th Earl of Pembroke in the 12th century. 
  • Kilkenny Castle was home to a huge cast of colorful characters, many descended from the powerful Butler Dynasty.
  • Kilkenny Castle anchors one end of the atmosphere Medieval Mile and is one of my top picks of things to do in Kilkenny .
  • Kilkenny Castle features a large, open demesne which is great for picnics
  • You'll find miles of forested trails to explore on the grounds for free.

9. Bunratty Castle

Best Castles in Ireland: Bunratty Castle

  • Bunratty Castle is a 15th century tower house.
  • Technically, Bunratty Castle is in County Clare, but the closest population center is Limerick.
  • Bunratty Castle was used over the ages to guard the Shannon Estuary from attacks by Irish rebels.
  • Bunratty Castle features an extensive folk park to explore featuring traditional homes from across Ireland.
  • You can partake of a Medieval Banquet here.
  • Bunratty Castle has resident wolfhounds! I've never beheld a more majestic dog.

10. King John's Castle (Limerick)

King John's Castle in Limerick

  • King John's Castle is located on "King's Island" in Limerick's Medieval Quarter.
  • The first permanent base on King's Island was established by the Vikings, namely Thormodu Helgason in 922, ultimately laying the foundation for the city of Limerick.
  • King John, namesake of the castle, was known to be vengeful and treacherous. This behavior is what catalyzed the signing of the Magna Carta. 
  • King John's Castle is one of my top picks of things to do in Limerick .
  • Historic meets modern with some pretty impressive local street art nearby.
  • Meet costumed guides and play Medieval courtyard games.

11. Dungarvan Castle

Dungarvan Castle in Co. Waterford

  • Dungarvan Castle is an Anglo-Norman fortification built in the late 12th century.
  • Inside the castle wall, you'll find a 2 storey 18th century military barracks which was in use by the British Army until 1922. 
  • During the Irish Civil War, Dungarvan Castle was destroyed by the IRA before being rebuilt as the headquarters of the local police (Garda Síochana).
  • Dungarvan is a quaint seaside town and one terminus of the Waterford Greenway .
  • There are tables for a picnic just outside the castle walls.
  • Dungarvan is a small, walkable town. You can walk into town for a bite or a pint very easily after you finish your tour of the castle.

12. Athlone Castle

Athlone Castle in Ireland's Midlands

  • Athlone Castle was built for King John of England by Bishop John De Gray of Norwich in the early 13th century.
  • Williamites overcame the Jacobites here in 1691 in a face-off that became known as the Great Siege of Athlone.
  • Free State troops took the castle in 1922 and flew the Irish tricolour flag during the Irish Civil War.
  • Athlone Castle overlooks the River Shannon and you can avail of sweeping views.
  • Athlone Castle is just across the road from Sean's Bar which lays claim to the title of Oldest Pub in Ireland.
  • You'll find a museum with local artifacts on the premises.

13. Cahir Castle

Cahir Castle in Tipperary

  • The castle is situated on an island overlooking the River Suir.
  • Cahir Castle dates back to the 13th century and was a stronghold of the Butler family.
  • Cahir Castle was believed to be impregnable until it fell to the Earl of Sussex in 1599.
  • Cahir Castle is one of the largest castles in Ireland.
  • Cahir Castle is a good place to stop and stretch your legs on a Dublin to Tipperary road trip.
  • Cahir Castle is one of Ireland's best preserved castles.

Best Castle Hotels in Ireland

14. ashford castle.

Best Castle Hotels in Ireland: Ashford Castle

  • Ashford Castle was founded by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family in 1228 and was their main stronghold in Ireland.
  • Ashford Castle is the former home of the Guinness family.
  • Actor Pierce Brosnan got married at Ashford Castle.
  • Ashford Castle is situated on a 350 acre estate with plenty of activities for guests to partake in.
  • You can cruise Lough Corrib and visit Inchagoill Island which is home to ruins that date back to the 5th century and the time of St. Patrick.
  • You can avail of 5 star hotel treatment and experience how the rich and famous live. It will cost you a mininum of 600 EUR for the privilege though.

15. Kilkea Castle

Best Castle Hotels in Ireland: Kilkea Castle

  • The original castle was built in the late 12th century for Sir Walter de Riddlesford. 
  • Kilkea Castle was occupied by many colorful characters in the FitzGerald family over the years including Silken Thomas who denounced King Henry VIII and led an early rebellion against the English in Ireland. 
  • Legend has it that The Wizard Earl disappeared after demonstrating some of his magic for his wife Mabel. It is said that Gerald the Wizard Earl will return to Kilkea Castle on the 7th day of the 7th month of every 7th year riding a white steed with silver shoes. 
  • Room prices are reasonable and start from about 150 EUR in the off-season.
  • Kilkea is a great home base from which to explore South Kildare by car .
  • The Kilkea Castle grounds and gardens make for a relaxing stay.

16. Dromoland Castle

Best Castle Hotels in Ireland: Dromoland Castle

  • Dromoland has been a defensive stronghold since the early 11th century.
  • Donough O'Brien, son of Brian Boru (High King of Ireland) controlled Dromoland at that time.
  • The O'Brien's lived and ruled from Dromoland Castle for 900 years.
  • Dromoland Castle features a prominent golf course and some beautiful walking trails.
  • You'll find atmospheric Medieval suits of armor inside.
  • Dromoland Castle is easily accessible from Limerick City.

17. Clontarf Castle

Best Castle Hotels in Dublin: Clontarf Castle

  • There has been a castle in Clontarf since 1172. 
  • The current castle hotel dates back to 1837 and is one of the most unique places to stay close to Dublin City Centre.
  • The grounds of Clontarf Castle were confiscated from George King in the 17th century after he took part in the Irish Rebellion of 1641.
  • Clontarf Castle is a great place to have an atmospheric pint.
  • The tower is decked out with period decorations.
  • Check out nearby St. Anne's Park after your visit to the Castle.

Best Ruined Castles in Ireland

18. maynooth castle.

Ruined Castles in Ireland: Maynooth Castle

Maynooth Castle was founded in the early 13th century and became the locus of power for the earls of Kildare.  The original keep, built around 1200 was one of the largest in Ireland at the time.  Ireland was governed from Maynooth Castle by Garret Mór in the name of the king for a period of about 30 years in the 15th-16th century.

Maynooth is a fantastic university town. see maynooth castle and then explore the campus and soak in the academic atmosphere. maynooth castle is situated in the middle of town and offers dramatic photo opportunities. find a cozy spot under a tree to read or have a small picnic. tips for visiting:   maynooth is one of the best places to visit in ireland by train . hop on an irish rail commuter service from connolly station and arrive in maynooth in about 45 minutes. maynooth castle is free to visit., 19. carlingford castle.

Best Castles in Ireland: Carlingford Castle

Carlingford Castle is also known as King John Castle. As you can tell from reading this post, King John had a lot of castles named after him in Ireland! The Magna Carta was agreed in 1215 at Carlingford. Carlingford Castle was fired on by the Jacobites in 1689 and used as a Williamite Hospital before the Battle of the Boyne.

Carlingford lough is one of the most idyllic places in ireland you can nip over to northern ireland on the ferry and visit the land that inspired c.s. lewis to imagine narnia. carlingford is one of the most quaint and colorful villages in ireland. tips for visiting:  rent a tesla with ufo drive in dublin and drive up to carlingford for a weekend . you can charge the car at ghan house, a lovely boutique hotel ., 20. castle donovan.

The Ruins of Castle Donovan in West Cork

  • Castle Donovan was believed to have been built by Donal of the Hides starting in 1560.
  • The tower was damaged by Oliver Cromwell's soldiers in the 1640s.
  • Castle Donovan is now an abandoned castle and has been uninhabited since it was blown up in the 17th century.
  • Castle Donovan is incredibly Instagrammable.
  • Castle Donovan is a good stopping off point on the way to Macroom.
  • Experience what it's like to drive on the extremely narrow roads of rural West Cork.

21. Ballinskelligs Castle

Ballinskelligs Castle on the Ring of Kerry

  • Ballinskelligs Castle was built in the 16th century by the MacCarthy Mórs.
  • The castle was believed to have been built to protect Ballinskelligs Bay from pirates.
  • The narrow promontory on which Ballinskelligs Castle is perched is subject to heavy erosion.
  • Ballinskelligs Castle is located near Waterville on the iconic Ring of Kerry .
  • You can combine your visit to the ruins with a sunrise walk on the beach.
  • Explore Ballinskelligs Abbey in addition to the castle (it's just up the beach).

22. The Black Castle

The Black Castle ruins near Wicklow Town

  • Henry II granted lands on the east coast of Ireland to Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke in the mid-12th century.
  • de Clare in turn granted the land to Baron Maurice FitzGerald on the condition that he build a series of castles along the coast.
  • The Black Castle was under constant attack from local Irish Chieftains.
  • You could easily add The Black Castle to a Dublin day trip itinerary.
  • The ruins of Black Castle are within walking distance of Wicklow Town.
  • Black Castle is incredibly picturesque with a stunning backdrop of the sea.

23. Castle Roche

Best Ruined Castles in Ireland: Castle Roche

  • Castle Roche was believed to have been built in the 13th century by Lady Rohesia de Verdun.
  • Supposedly Widow de Verdun promised her hand in marriage to the architect who would build a castle for her at Roche.
  • When the architect went to claim her hand, she had him thrown from what has since become known as the murder window.
  • Castle Roche is incredibly picturesque and rises above nearby farms.
  • You'll likely have the ruins of Castle Roche all to yourself. It really is a hidden gem.
  • Castle Roche is just an hour from Dublin by car.

Castles in Northern Ireland

24. belfast castle.

Best Castles in Northern Ireland: Belfast Castle

  • The first Belfast Castle was built by the Normans in the 12th Century.
  • A second castle, made partially out of wood was constructed in 1611. It burned down nearly 100 years later.
  • Today, Belfast Castle is a popular venue for weddings and events.
  • Belfast Castle has a lovely garden with a cat motif.
  • You'll find a cafe onsite for coffee and a snack. 
  • Enjoy sweeping views over Belfast City.

25. Dunluce Castle

Best Castles in Northern Ireland: Dunluce Castle

  • Dunluce Castle was built in the 15th century.
  • The castle kitchen fell into the sea on a stormy night in 1639.
  • Dunluce Castle is rumored to be haunted by a banshee.
  • Dunluce Castle is one of the most breathtaking castles on the island of Ireland.
  • The castle ruins are easy to combine with a visit to Derry and the Antrim Coast .
  • You can take the opportunity to hike along the dramatic cliffs.

Summing Up The Best Castles in Ireland

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A Local' Guide to Castles in Ireland

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15 Best Castles in Ireland You Should Visit

Tap into the storied past of the Emerald Isle by exploring the best castles in Ireland on your next visit. This way you could follow in the steps of generations of Irish clans, warriors, and nobility.

On an Irish castle tour, you could learn about the ruins and fortresses shrouded in myths and legends. Walk along lush gardens or take in scenic views from the top of stony towers.

  • Browse castle tour packages in Ireland

There are more than 30,000 castles and ruins left in Ireland today, most dating from the 12th to 16th centuries. Visiting a few (or many) of them will allow you to learn about Irish history right from the source. Your only challenge may be to narrow down your must-see list.

To help you, read this guide to find out the top castles to visit in Ireland. From mysterious cliff-side ruins to the best-preserved fortresses in the country, discover where to stop on your Irish tour.

  • Dublin Castle
  • Malahide Castle
  • Trim Castle
  • Ashford Castle
  • Dunguaire Castle
  • Bunratty Castle
  • King John's Castle
  • Ross Castle
  • Blarney Castle
  • Cahir Castle
  • Rock of Cashel
  • Kilkenny Castle
  • Belfast Castle
  • Dunluce Castle

1. Dublin Castle, County Dublin

Best for: Learning about Irish democracy

Whether you’re in town on a weekend trip or just starting your Ireland self-drive tour , you should spend some time roaming around Dublin . Ireland’s capital is a buzzing, colourful and welcoming place with much to see, including Dublin Castle .

This central building sits just south of the River Liffey, a strategic location for a fortress back in the day. Throughout the ages, it was the location of Celtic and Viking forts before becoming England’s seat of administration for nearly 700 years.

It was handed over to the Irish government once the country became independent. Today it still houses much of the government, but it’s also a popular highlight of the capital city, including the nearby Chapel Royal.

You can roam the grounds for free, but to visit book your tickets in advance. For other historic buildings in the city, stroll through the campus of Trinity College Dublin or visit the famous St Patrick’s Cathedral .

2. Malahide Castle, County Dublin

Best for: Visiting the National Portrait Gallery of Ireland

Located just north of Dublin, you could also visit Malahide Castle on a short city break to the capital. This 800-year-old fashionable residence was home to the Talbot family for generations.

Here you’ll be able to admire the various architectural styles of this fortress, which has been extended and adapted through time. One of the key features includes the Norman tower house that makes up the oldest part of Malahide Castle.

Inside, don’t miss the Oak Room, fully wood-panelled and dating back to the 1600s, and the Great Hall, built in 1495. The Great Hall is said to be the only one of its kind in Ireland that has preserved its medieval features. It also contains a large painting of the Battle of the Boyne, an important clash in Irish history.

Malahide Castle also houses an extensive collection of Irish portrait paintings. These make up the National Portrait Gallery, which is an integral part of the National Gallery of Ireland.

front view of Malahide castle

3. Trim Castle, County Meath

Best for: Stepping into Anglo-Norman history

Head inland from Malahide and Dublin to visit the charming town of Trim. Here you’ll find the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. Legends say it was here that St Patrick first founded a monastery in the 5th century.

Trim Castle was built in the 12th century, but its original wooden structure is all but gone. Today you can explore a large stone fortress from the 13th century that covers more than 3 acres of land. Walk along the fortified walls and discover the impressive central keep.

You may recognise the castle as it was used as a filming location for the movie Braveheart , about Scottish hero William Wallace.

  • Check out  Ireland self-drive tours , guided small group trips and privately guided packages

4. Ashford Castle, County Galway

Best for: Enjoying a luxury getaway

Treat yourself to a stay at a luxury hotel or simply stop by to see it and dine at the impressive Ashford Castle. Located just north of Galway City , this castle boasts 800 years of history as well as being the former home of the Guinness family.

Over the years and centuries, it hosted many notable figures, including kings and presidents. After extensive restoration, Ashford has held on to its status as one of the top hotels in Europe.

5. Dunguaire Castle, County Galway

Best for: Experiencing a true castle banquet

Just south of Galway, you could visit Dunguaire Castle . This beautifully restored fortress sits on a little outcrop along the shores of the Galway Bay.

Dunguaire was first built in the 1500s, but in the first part of the 20th century it was bought and repaired by Oliver St John Gogarty.

Gogarty was a famous literary figure in Ireland and so the castle became a central location and meeting point for the Irish literary revivalists. Writers such as W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and J.M. Synge visited Dunguaire during that time.

The extensive repairs were completed later in the 1950s before the castle became a heritage site. Today, during your visit you can learn about the inhabitants’ lifestyle from the 16th century on and about the castle’s literary ties. You could even enjoy entertainment and traditional food at a castle banquet.

view of dunguaire castle by the water

6. Dun Aengus, Aran Islands

Best for: Witnessing a unique prehistoric fort

Dun Aengus (or “Dún Aonghasa”) is not quite like the other castles on this list. Not simply because of its prehistoric background, but because it’s the only one not located on the mainland. To visit this magnificent and windswept fort, you’ll have to sail to the western Aran Islands .

If you have the time, this is a great day trip to add to your itinerary to soak up the island way of life. You’ll be able to learn about the Gaelic traditions that are alive and well in these parts.

Dun Aengus is located on the largest of the islands, Inishmore. What is left of this prehistoric fort sits along the southern edge of the island, by sheer sea cliffs that overlook the powerful Atlantic Ocean.

view of dun aengus and the sea cliff

When you arrive, you can stop at the visitor centre. From here, you’ll have a 1-kilometre (0.6-miles) walk on an uphill and rocky path before reaching Dun Aengus.

The fort is made up of 3 layers of defence walls as well as “chevaux-de-frise”, bands of jagged stones that act similarly to barbed wire.

Excavations have revealed that the fort is more than 3,000 years old and it was probably refortified around 700-800 AD. There has also been evidence found of prehistoric metalworking, artefacts, dwellings, and burial sites.

Another claim to fame? Dun Aengus has been recognised as one of the finest examples of pre-historic forts in Europe, making it worth the detour.

  • Visit Ireland in June , July or August to see it at the height of summer
  • Or visit Ireland in April , May , September or October to enjoy the quieter shoulder season

7. Bunratty Castle, County Clare

Best for: Walking through the most complete castle in Ireland

On a trip around Ireland, you have to pop by Bunratty Castle . It is recognised as the most complete and authentic castle left in the country today.

Dating back to the 15th century, the fortress was built by Irish nobility. But the site was occupied long before then. History has it that this location has been occupied for at least 1,000 years, starting as a Viking trading post in the year 970. You’ll also see traces of the Norman occupation and conquest here.

It’s the 1960s that saw the restoration of the castle to its former glory. When you visit, you’ll get a great window into Ireland’s past through the ages.

bunratty castle at night

8. King John's Castle, County Limerick

Best for: Diving into Viking and Norman history

Set at the heart of Limerick , on the aptly named King’s Island, you’ll find King John’s Castle. Overlooking the River Shannon, the imposing castle is one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks.

Dating back to 1210, you’ll uncover centuries of history during your visit. In fact, the Vikings first came to the area in the early 9th century. It was a few years later that Viking leader Thormodu Helgason established a base where the castle stands today.  

There are also pre-Norman features that were found on-site. Early defence systems, ramparts and ditches date from this time in history.

And why is it called King John’s Castle? Many simply call it Limerick Castle, but it was officially named after King John, Lord of Ireland. He was the brother of Richard the Lionheart, a famous king tied to such legends as Robin Hood . King John used this location for defensive purposes and had the castle built. 

During your visit, you’ll find interactive exhibitions and medieval games in the courtyard. All of this with the purpose to transport you in time to learn about the castle’s history.

Plus, if you're travelling the Wild Atlantic Way , an iconic Irish coastal road route, you can make the castle one of your stops along the way. 

9. Ross Castle, County Kerry

Best for: Exploring the heart of the Killarney National Park

Ross Castle is an excellent spot to visit while you’re in Killarney or travelling along the famous Ring of Kerry . This is another 15th-century fortress with an incredibly picturesque setting along the shores of Lough Leane.

The castle is made up of a tower fortress with round turrets sitting inside a defensive wall.

During your visit you could learn about the myths surrounding it. For years, legends were told that the castle would only be conquered by strange ships coming from the lake. At the time these were only stories because this was unimaginable.

But in 1652, Cromwell’s English forces did attack from the lake, having dragged boats all the way here to fire artillery from the water. The castle fell during this battle. You’ll get to walk through that history and admire scenic views of the lake during your visit.

  • Visit Ireland to  tour the Ring of Kerry
  • Related: Planning a trip to Ireland and Scotland

10. Blarney Castle, County Cork

Best for: Receiving the gift of eloquence (or learning about Irish folklore)

Blarney is one of the most famous castles in Ireland, thanks to the myth surrounding the Blarney Stone. It is located on the outskirts of the city of Cork . Whether you’re in town for a visit or passing by on a road trip, you simply cannot miss  Blarney Castle .

The medieval stronghold that you can see today is from the 1400s, but there are still traces left of the original buildings dating back to before the 1200s. With the woodlands surrounding the castle, you’re in for a scenic visit. Why not stroll through the grounds and try finding the standing stones?

But the true highlight of Blarney is the Stone of Eloquence. Walk to the top of the tower to see it, or kiss it! Legend has it that if you kiss the stone, you will receive the “gift of gab” and never be stumbling for words.

blarney castle towers

11. Cahir Castle, County Tipperary

Best for: Seeing one of the best-preserved castles in Ireland

Come visit Cahir Castle to take in an impressive fortress dating back to the 13th century. When you’re in the town of Cahir, you won’t miss the castle as it stands proudly on a rocky island by the River Suir. In fact, it’s only a stone’s throw from the main street.

The fortification that stands today is still one of the country’s largest and best-preserved castles. That means you’ll get a true look at how strongholds were built back in the day.

Up until the 16th century, it was even believed to be undefeatable due to its strong and effective design. But it fell to the Earl of Essex and then again during the Irish Confederate Wars.

That said, much of the original structure remains, which is what you can visit today. Don’t miss the exhibition and shows that will give you a glimpse at the history of Cahir Castle.

It even highlights the different films in which you might have seen Cahir featured, including Excalibur with Liam Neeson and The Tudors television series. 

  • Learn about history and clans with Irish heritage tours

12. Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary

Best for: Learning about historical and religious legends

Located a mere 20-minute drive from Cahir Castle, you could also visit the mysterious Rock of Cashel on your tour of Ireland. This is another medieval site that is steeped in legends and myths.

In fact, the Rock of Cashel is said to have always been an important royal and religious site. It is also known as St Patrick’s Rock and the Cashel of the Kings. Stories from back in the day say that it was here that St Patrick himself converted the King of Munster in the 5th century.

During your visit, you’ll soon see why it was such an important and iconic location. Sitting above a limestone hill, the spectacular group of buildings stands out in the skyline of the town. Walk through the Rock of Cashel and you can admire 12th- and 13th-century buildings, including a round tower, chapel, cathedral and castle.

  • Related: 10 Cool Irish facts

13. Kilkenny Castle, County Kilkenny

Best for: Admiring Victorian architecture and style

The city of Kilkenny is a must-see during your Irish adventure. It’s also an easy stopover on your way back to Dublin from the west coast.

While you’re in town you won’t want to miss the impressive Kilkenny Castle. It boasts one of the longest histories of occupation of any castle and building in all of Ireland. Built during the Norman conquest of the Emerald Isle, you’ll soon see it’s been adapted through the ages.

Today, the interiors are largely Victorian, with lavish portrait galleries, libraries, drawing rooms, bedrooms, and stately dining rooms amongst many more.

And that’s not all, step outside to take in the incredible estate. There are more than 51 acres of parkland that were opened to the public when the government took over the maintenance. The castle also has a formal garden reminiscent of any grand estate, with paths, statues and water features.

Kilkenny castle with view of the town and river

Castles in Northern Ireland

Finally, here are a few bonus castles you could also visit if you’re crossing into Northern Ireland. Doing a grand tour of the entire Emerald Island is a great way to get a full experience of Irish culture and history.

Add Northern Ireland to your itinerary and you could visit the capital Belfast , witness the beauty of the Giant’s Causeway , and walk along the Glens of Antrim.

  • Experience  Northern Ireland's Causeway Coastal Route

14. Belfast Castle, County Antrim

Best for: Taking in views of Belfast and its surroundings

While visiting Northern Ireland’s capital, you could go explore the country park where Belfast Castle is located. The imposing castle is one of the most famous landmarks of Belfast as it sits on a hill overlooking the city.

The first castle in Belfast was built in the 12th century, but this one dates back to the 1860s. Today it’s mostly used as an event and wedding venue, but you could lunch or dine at one of the restaurants on-site.

Or visit the Cave Hill Country Park, surrounding the castle, and the Cave Hill Visitor Centre. Here you’ll find enchanting woodlands and gardens full of wildlife. The Belfast Zoo is also located nearby.

15. Dunluce Castle, County Antrim

Best for: Marvelling at Ireland’s northern coast

Last but certainly not least is Dunluce Castle , nestled along the coast near the famous Giant’s Causeway. Thanks to its convenient location, it’s an easy add-on to any day trip you may have to Northern Ireland’s biggest attraction.

people standing on rocks at giant's causeway

Picture atmospheric ruins, sheer sea cliffs, and waves crashing onto the rocks. You’ll get all of this and more when you visit Dunluce Castle. Once an ancient fortress at the heart of clan warfare, you could uncover the mysterious history that ties Scotland and Ireland here.

Dunluce was indeed first built by the MacQuillan family of Scotland in the 1500s. It was soon thereafter seized by the MacDonnell clan before becoming the seat of the earls of Antrim in the 17th century.

  • Dive into more Celtic history and castles on a combined Scotland and Ireland trip
  • Related: Scotland or Ireland – Where should you go?

Planning your Irish castle tour

Wherever your adventure takes you, you’re sure to have plenty of castles to explore in Ireland. To travel at your own pace and have the flexibility to stop when you want and where you want, we recommend a self-drive tour of Ireland .

If you'd rather let someone else take care of the driving then opt for a guided small group trip or a privately guided tour of Ireland . This way, you'll also benefit from your local guide's insider insight. 

When you book with Nordic Visitor, you’ll benefit from the knowledge of our Ireland experts. You can contact us if you already have some ideas in mind, or you can browse our Ireland tours . Here you'll find a selection of itineraries that can be tailored to your taste and preferences.

Your dedicated travel consultant will take care of the details for you, including local transport, quality accommodation, and more. They'll also be able to tailor your trip with extra nights and optional activities. 

Start planning your Irish castle tour by getting in touch with our Ireland experts.

camila blog profile

  Camila grew up between the French Canadian and Chilean cultures, before moving to Scotland in 2012. When she’s not travelling or writing about travels, Camila loves to read, run, and puzzle. Her favourite destinations have been Reykjavík, Copenhagen, Estonia and Cape Town.  

Find Camila on LinkedIn .

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Historic European Castles

Best Castles in Ireland

It’s said that there are more than 30,000 castles in Ireland which is slightly mind-boggling! That’s why we have come up with a list of the best castles in Ireland.

These include the most intact and well-known such as Dublin Castle and Blarney Castle (home of the Blarney Stone) which simply can’t be missed, plus the most picturesque and interesting castle ruins that are less famous.

Map of Castles in Ireland

ireland castles to visit

32 Famous Irish Castles to Visit

1. blarney castle.

ireland castles to visit

Home of the famous Blarney Stone that you can still kiss, Blarney castle is a magical-looking Medieval stronghold that was built some 600 years ago through a castle that has stood on the site since as far back as 1210A.D ensuring plenty of history for you to uncover.

Enjoy the 60 acres of gardens and take a walk around Rock Close to witness Mother Nature at her most creative after exploring the castle.

Where: Cork When: 15 th century Style: Medieval Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here.

Click here to book your day trip from Dublin to Blarney Castle and Cork.

2. Bunratty Castle

Best Castles in Ireland Bunratty-Castle

This picturesque tower house is impressive by day but looks truly magical when it’s lit up at night, the stone architecture reflected in the river Raite.

The 15th-century exterior contains an interior that was beautifully restored in the 1960s, furnished with medieval décor giving visitors the most complete and authentic castle experience in Ireland today.

Where: County Clare When: 15 th century Style: Medieval Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here .

Click here to buy your tickets to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.

Check out more beautiful castles in County Clare. 

3. Cahir Castle

ireland castles to visit

One of the largest castles in Ireland that are well preserved with a keep, tower, and original defense structure, Cahir Castle (which means stone fort) boasts stunning views built on a rocky island in the river Suit. Step back in time to discover the history of the castle with an audio-visual show and guided tour.

Where: County Tipperary When: 13 th century Style: Medieval Open for visit: Yes, for more information,  check here .

4. Ashford Castle

Famous Castles in Ireland Ashford-Castle

Spanning 800 years of history, Ashford Castle is now an award-winning luxury spa hotel, deemed a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World with stunning lake views and sumptuous interiors.

Relax in the Prince of Wales Bar before going through to the George V Dining Room, and later, enjoy the elegance of your suite that incorporates many of the castle’s original features in the décor.

Where: County Mayo When: 13 th century Style: Medieval – Victorian Open for visit: Only for guests or those using the hotel facilities. For more information, check here .

You might also like: The best Castle Hotels in Ireland. 

5. Malahide Castle

Best Irish Castles Malahide-Castle

Surrounded by 260 acres of parkland, Malahide Castle has 800 years of dramatic history to show you as you view the riches housed in the private rooms of the noble Talbot family and learn how Malahide castle played its part in Irish politics.

If you feel a shiver down your spine when you visit, don’t brush it off, as this is one of the most haunted castles in Ireland!

Where: County Dublin When: 12 th century Style: Medieval Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here .

Click here to book your half-day trip from Dublin to Malahide Castle and the North Coast

6. The Rock of Cashel

Castles in Ireland The-Rock-of-Cashel

Otherwise known as Cashel of the Kings or St. Patrick’s Rock, it is one of the most popular castles in Europe ; that contains a sprawling group of medieval buildings on a limestone outcrop with spectacular scenery all around.

The 12th-century round tower is a sight to behold, as is the Romanesque chapel and restored Hall of the Vicars Choral.

Where: County Tipperary When: 12 th and 13 th century Style: Hiberno-Romanesque and Germanic Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here .

7. Ross Castle

ireland castles to visit

Built for the O’Donoghue Ross chieftains in the Middle Ages, Ross Castle overlooks the lower Killarney lake in the national park of the same name. It is this castle that held out longer than any other in the battle against Cromwell before eventually being taken in 1652 by General Ludlow.

Legend has it that O’Donoghue is still sleeping under the waters of Lough Leane; anyone who sees him rise from the lake on a horse on the first morning of May every seven years gets good fortune for the rest of their lives. So, keep your eyes peeled if you visit in spring!

Where:  Lough Leane, Killarney National Park When:  15 th  century Style:  Tower House and Keep Open for Visit:  Yes, for more information,  check here .

Check out these posts about castles around Ireland:

  • T he best castles in Northern Ireland
  • Haunted castles in Ireland
  • The best castles near Dublin
  • The best castles near Belfast
  • The best castles near Limerick
  • The best castles near Galway
  • The best castles near Cork

8. Kilkenny Castle

Irish Castles Kilkenny-Castle

Built to control a fording point of the River Nore, Kilkenny Castle is a historic country house that has been inhabited continuously over the last 800 years.

Today, visitors can admire the exterior with medieval ruins from the grounds before stepping inside to marvel at the 1830s décor in the Chinese drawing room and the 1860s décor in the State Dining Room.

Where: Kilkenny When: 13 th century Style: Medieval & Victorian Open for visit: Open for Visit:  For more information,  check here .

9. Donegal Castle

Donegal Castle

Having lain in ruin for 2 centuries, Donegal Castle (otherwise known as O’Donnells Castle) can now be seen in almost all of its former glory, the Tower House having gone from ruin to riches with a restoration project in the ’90s that enables visitors to step inside and admire the Persian rugs, and French tapestries.

Where: County Donegal When: 17 th century Style: Jacobean Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here .

Click here for more beautiful castles to visit in Donegal.

10. Dublin Castle

Best Irish Castles Dublin-Castle

Built on the site of a Viking Settlement, Dublin Castle has been used for many purposes over the years, including a military fortress, prison, treasury, and the seat of the British government’s administration in Ireland. See the State Apartments, Chapel Royal, and large Undercroft as you learn the history of the turbulent history of Dublin on a guided tour.

Where: Dublin When: 13 th century Style: Gothic Revival Open for visit: Yes. For more information, check here.

11. Birr Castle

Castles in Ireland Birr-Castle

Home to the 7 th Earl of Rosse, Birr Castle is certainly impressive with its 90 rooms on a 1,200-walled estate with views to the Camcor River and the oldest suspension bridge in Ireland.

More impressive than the view is the family history, as Birr Castle has been in the Rosse family since 1620 – On the grounds, you’ll find the Science Centre containing the once largest telescope in the world where the 3 rd Earl of Rosse discovered the Whirlpool Nebula.

Where: County Offaly When: 17 th century Style: Victorian Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here .

12. Dunluce Castle

Castles in Ireland Dunluce-Castle

These iconic ruins lie on a basalt outcrop on the Causeway Coast, accessible only by bridge from the mainland. If you think it looks familiar, you do not have a past life experience; it’s because the castle featured in Game of Thrones as Castle Greyjoy.

Take a tour of the ruins to learn the history of the castle, which dates back to 1513, or take a GOT tour to reminisce over some epic TV moments!

Where: County Antrim When: 16 th century Style: Medieval Open for visit: Yes. Open daily from 9.00 am

13. Trim Castle

Best Castles in Ireland Trim-Castle

Located on the bank of the River Boyne, Trim Castle is the largest Norman castle in Ireland and was built over a period of 30 years. It has been used as mint as well as a meeting place for Irish Parliament but more recently featured in the movie Braveheart.

Today the grounds of the castle ruins contain a luxury hotel that boasts breathtaking views of the castle walls and keeps.

Where: County Meath When: 12 th century Style: Anglo-Norman Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here .

14. Dromoland Castle

Irish Castles Dromoland-Castle

This picturesque castle on a 450-acre estate looks like it came straight out of a fairytale! Once the royal seat of the O’Brien clan, who were direct descendants of King Brian Boru, one of Ireland’s last kings, Dromoland Castle is now a luxury castle hotel with a golf course and spa allowing guests to live like royalty, if only for a weekend!

Where: County Clare When: 16 th century Style: Gothic Revival Open for visit: Only for guests using the accommodation or golf and spa facilities. For more information, check here .

15. Lismore Castle

Famous Castles in Ireland Lismore-Castle

Home to the 12 th Duke of Devonshire today, beautiful Lismore Castle sits on the site of an older 7th-century monastery and was once owned by Sir Walter Raleigh.

It has been lovingly restored in the Gothic style, with the 13th-century round tower still standing. Admire the exterior of the castle from the grounds with a visit to the gardens.

Where: County Waterford When: 13 th century Style: Gothic Open for visit: Only the castle grounds are open to visitors unless you are hiring the castle for a special event. For more information. check here .

16. Dunguaire Castle

Best Irish Castles Dunguaire-Castle

This beautifully restored small tower house with its 75-foot tower is a must-see; its stone architecture is reflected in Galway Bay. Built on a 7th-century stronghold, Dunguaire Castle became the center of Ireland’s 20th-century literary revival, so it has plenty of history to impart, the interior of the castle giving visitors an insight into life from 1520 up to the present day.

Where: County Galway When: 16 th century Style: Norman Open for visit: Yes; for more information, check here .

Click here to book your tickets to Dunguaire Castle .

17. Enniskillen Castle

Castles in Ireland Enniskillen-Castle

This 600-year-old castle is located on the River Erne and was built to guard one of the few passes into Ulster. The impressive turrets of the 17th-century Watergate will welcome you as you step inside today to discover the local history with the Inniskillings Military Museum and the County Museum.

Where: County Fermanagh When: 16 th century Style: Gothic Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here .

18. Belfast Castle

Best Castles in Ireland Belfast-Castle

Built on the slopes of Cavehill Country Park and enjoying views across the city of Belfast and Belfast Lough, a castle has stood on this site since the 12 th century, the current building (a house with semi-circular round towers) being finished in 1870.

Today, Belfast Castle is a lavish venue for weddings and has two eateries, but you can still walk in the grounds to admire the castle from the exterior.

Where: Belfast When: 19 th century Style: Scottish Baronial Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here .

19. Kylemore Castle Abbey

ireland castles to visit

This building might look like a picturesque castle from the outside, and indeed it was until it became a Benedictine monastery in the 1920s.

Complete with a Victorian walled garden, Kylemore Castle Abbey, with its lake and woodlands, is a truly picturesque place to learn the history of this baronial castle and the later abbey and all that abbey life entailed.

Where: County Galway When: 19 th century Style: Baronial / Victorian Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here .

20. Doe Castle

Castles in Ireland Doe Castle

Surrounded on three sides by Sheephaven Bay stand the proud ruins of Doe Castle, with a 15th-century central keep that has survived siege and cannon fire.

Said to have sheltered survivors from the Spanish Armada, Doe Castle was later converted into a 19th-century country manor, similar in style to the Scottish tower houses.

Where: County Donegal When: 16 th century Style: Scottish Baronial Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here .

21. Athenry Castle

Best Castles in Ireland Athenry-Castle

Athenry is one of the most notable surviving medieval walled towns in Ireland and, together with its tower house, is a national monument. Parts of the original enclosure wall of the castle survive along with the 13th-century battlements, and the large rectangular hall keep with base batter.

Where: County Galway When: 13 th century Style: Medieval & Romanesque Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here .

22. Blackrock Castle

Irish Castles Blackrock-Castle

This impressive castellated fortification with a circular tower, crenelated parapets, and Watergate was built in 1828 and stands on the site of 2 older castles; some parts of the wall of the latter of the two castles are still visible today.

Today Blackrock Castle contains an observatory and BCO’s Universe, an interactive experience teaching kids and grown-ups about the castle’s battlements and maritime history, as well as about space and aliens!

Where: County Cork When: 19 th century Style: Gothic Revival Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here .

23. Carlow Castle

Famous Castles in Ireland Carlow-Castle

A national monument of Ireland, Carlow Castle was once a military fortress that stood on the banks of the River Barrow.

Today it’s a ruin consisting of just two towers and an intervening wall; the building only stands in ruin due to a plan in 1814 to turn the castle into an asylum which saw a local physician demolish far more than he planned for!

Where: County Carlow When: 11 th century Style: Norman Open for visit: Yes, the grounds are open 24/7.

24. Glenveagh Castle

Best Irish Castles Glenveagh-Castle

This beautiful fairytale-like castle is actually a castellated mansion that was built as a hunting lodge. Situated on the shores of Lough Veagh within Glenveagh National Park, you’ll find waterfalls, woodland oaks, and a backdrop of mountains – certainly a picturesque spot to spend the day enjoying nature.

Where: County Donegal When: 19 th century Style: Scottish Baronial Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here .

25. King John’s Castle

Castles in Ireland King-John's-Castle

This stunning 800-year-old castle is located on an island of the same name, next to the River Shannon. The island once housed the Vikings, but it wasn’t until 1200 that a castle was built.

Today the castle allows you to step back into Medieval times with interactive displays that recount the times of siege and warfare.

Where: County Limerick When: 13 th century Style: Norman Open for visit: Yes, for more information, click here .

Click here to book your tickets to King John’s Castle.

26. Knappogue Castle

Best Castles in Ireland Knappogue-Castle

This restored Medieval tower house with a beautiful Victorian walled garden invites you inside to take part in a 3-hour Medieval Banquet with dancing, singing, and of course, plenty of feasting.

Admire the period furniture as you get caught up in a Medieval make-believe world and stay the night surrounded by 15th-century splendor.

Where: County Clare When: 15 th century Style: Medieval Open for visit: Yes, for more information, click here .

27. Macroom Castle

Irish Castles Macroom-Castle

Built by the Carew family to guard the ford across the river, Macroom Castle is now a shell with just the arched gateway, square tower, and some walls remaining, but these are well-preserved rather than complete ruins.

Two 18th-century navy cannons that were found within the grounds now stand on either side of the gate, with picturesque river walks nearby.

Where: County Cork When: 12 th – 15 th century Style: Gothic Open for visit: Yes, click here for more information.

28. O’Brien’s Tower

Famous Castles in Ireland O'Brien's-Tower

As the highest point on the Cliffs of Moher (the UNESCO Global Geopark) the folly that is O’Brien’s Tower boasts stunning views from its stone viewing platform out towards Hag’s Head, Doolin, and sometimes as far as the Aran Islands, but only if the weather is in your favor as if there’s a sea mist you won’t see much!

Where: County Clare When: 19 th century Style: Gothic Revival Open for visit: Yes, for more information, click here .

29. Parke’s Castle

Best Irish Castles Parke's-Castle

This fortified mansion or ‘plantation castle’ is located on the shore of Lough Gill and stands on the site of an older 15th-century fortified structure with a curtain wall surrounding it. Beautifully restored, visitors are able to explore the castle rooms while learning about life in Medieval times.

Where: County Leitrim When: 17 th century Style: Medieval Open for visit: Yes, for more information, click here .

30. Rathfarnham Castle

Castles in Ireland Rathfarnham-Castle

Originally an Elizabethan Castle built as part of a chain of castles to defend Dublin from attack, today Rathfarnham Castle is a fortified house that underwent extensive remodeling in the 18 th century.

The castle is used for cultural events, exhibitions, and lectures, with many rooms furnished with pieces from the 18 th century.

Where: Dublin When: 18 th century Style: Neo-Classical Open for visit: Yes, for more information, click here .

31. Swords Castle

Best Castles in Ireland Swords-Castle

Built as a manorial residence for the first Norman Archbishop of Dublin back in 1200, Swords Castle is considered (despite its name) more of an episcopal palace than a castle.

The 800-year-old sprawling complex includes the remains of Constables Tower, the Chapel, the Chamber Block, the Gatehouse, and more, all enclosed by the 300-meter long pentagonal curtain wall.

Where: Dublin When: 13 th century Style: Norman Open for visit: Yes, for more information, click here .

32. Leap Castle

Irish Castles Leap-Castle

Famous for being the most haunted castle in the world, Leap Castle (pronounced Lep) has a long and bloody history, with numerous people being kept prisoner and then executed at the castle.

As you walk around learning the history, be aware if you smell sulfur as one of the ghosts nicknamed ‘It’ – A terrifying creature about the size of a sheep with a decaying face, will be following in its wake.

Where: County Offaly When: 15 th century Style: Scottish Baronial Open for visit: Open to visitors on request. For more information, click here .

FAQ about the Best Castles in Ireland

If you visit the castles in Ireland, you should definitely see Blarney Castle in County Cork, The Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, Malahide Castle in County Dublin, Bunratty Castle in County Clare, and Ashford Castle in County Galway.

The most beautiful castle in Ireland is the famous The Rock of Cashel, also known as Cashel of the Kings or St. Patrick’s Rock. This castle contains a group of medieval buildings with spectacular scenery all around. Dunluce Castle is the most stunning castle in Northern Ireland. The iconic ruins are only accessible by a bridge from the mainland. Dunluce Castle is situated on rough cliffs giving incredible views of the Causeway Coast.

Blarney Castle in County Cork is one of the most visited castles in Ireland. Visitors mainly come here to kiss the famous Blarney Stone at the more than 600-year-old castle.

The coolest castle in Ireland is Dunluce Castle on the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland. The iconic ruins, dating back to the year 1513, are also famous for being featured in Game of Thrones as Castle Greyjoy.

ireland castles to visit

ireland castles to visit

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ireland castles to visit

Ireland Has More Than 1,000 Castles. These Are the 10 You Must See

Ronan O'Connell

Bloodshed and revolution: these are the stories behind Ireland’s most famous castles.

They were imposing, fortified hubs from which lords, queens, and kings repelled invaders, quashed rebellions, and launched bloody campaigns that changed the course of Irish history. And today, there are more than 1,000 castles across Ireland. Some remain only as ruins, while others are in pristine condition. Together, these castles help bring to life the ancient tales of this beautiful nation, which, for so many centuries, was occupied by foreign forces and divided by internal rifts.

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ireland castles to visit

Kilkenny Castle

The Normans caused carnage when they invaded Ireland in the 1100s, forging a path of death and devastation. One of the few positive aspects of their legacy is the commanding Kilkenny Castle. Built by the Normans in the late 12th century, this gigantic complex still dominates the tiny city of Kilkenny .

Tourists can access more than a dozen lavish rooms within the castle. The highlights include the Chinese Withdrawing Room, which is decorated with 200-year-old handpainted Chinese wallpaper, and the enormous Picture Gallery that is lined with ancient portraits. Kilkenny Castle also has gigantic, immaculately-landscaped lawns and gardens, perfect for a romantic walk or family picnic.

Donegal Castle

Deadly sieges, foreign invasions, bloody mutinies, the rise of ferocious kings, triumphs, and tragedies: All of this was experienced by one powerful clan that ruled from Donegal Castle for centuries. This is the story of the O’Donnell Dynasty. To trace the remarkable tale of this clan, which wielded enormous power for 1,000 years, you can travel to their stronghold of  County Donegal  and visit their old castle. Donegal Castle is among the best-maintained medieval castles in Ireland, dating back to the 1400s.

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Ashford castle.

Your daydreams about owning a castle can come true, to an extent, by staying in Ireland’s most opulent castle at Ashford. Regularly voted as one the world’s best five-star hotels, Ashford Castle boasts a commanding location on the banks of Lake Corrib, amid verdant woodland in County Mayo . This stunning 350-acre estate, once owned by the Guinness brewing family, has a horse-riding academy, archery range, private golf course, endless forest and parkland, and even Ireland’s foremost falconry school. The hub of all this is the 800-year-old castle.

Lismore Castle

The palette of colors seems almost impossibly vast. Bright reds bleed into striking pinks, flanked by warm oranges, citrus yellows, ocean blues, and fluoro greens. These hues paint the flowers that decorate a huge garden on the grounds of a magnificent castle. The perfectly-trimmed hedges, winding stone paths, flowing fountains, and endless flowers of Lismore Castle make for a calming, meditative space. This well-preserved castle dates back more than 800 years and is now the Irish residence of the British Duke of Devonshire in County Waterford .

Grace O’Malley’s Castle

On the Atlantic Ocean, in County Mayo in the far West of Ireland, Achill Island is a place of raw beauty where the Gaelic language is still widely spoken. Here, by the water’s edge, are the remains of a castle named after Ireland’s famous pirate Queen. Grace O’Malley, also known as Granuaile, used this 15th-century castle as one of her homes while she led the O’Malley Clan during the second half of the 1500s. She was famous for her rebellion against the occupying British. The magnificent Tower of Kildavnet is the best-maintained remnant of her castle here on Achill.

Dublin Castle

Part medieval castle, part government office, part tourist attraction, Dublin Castle is one of the most unique structures in Ireland. The original castle, with its giant stone tower, is more than 800 years old, although only parts of the building remain in place. Attached to the original castle is a more modern administrative building, which was the Irish hub of the British Government until 1922 when Ireland had become independent. Although there are still Irish government agencies based in this complex, tourists can visit every day of the week, with guided tours available.

McDermott’s Castle

McDermott’s Castle should be a major tourist attraction, but somehow isn’t. Few castles in the world own a more spectacular location than this fortified mansion, marooned on an island in pristine Lake Key, which is surrounded by lush forest in County Roscommon.

It’s not clear exactly how old this structure is, but there has been a castle on this island for more than 800 years. The current castle was built at least 500 years ago by the McDermott clan, who commanded this part of western Ireland for more than 600 years up until the late 16th century.

Kylemore Castle

Set at the foot of a wooded mountain and on the banks of a placid lake in Ireland’s most rugged national park, Kylemore Castle is a beautiful, romantic setting. It makes sense then, that this was the location chosen by a man who wanted to build a symbol of love for his wife.

In the late 1800s, British businessman Mitchell Henry built this enormous castle in Connemara National Park for his wife Margaret. After he passed away, this stunning estate in County Galway became owned by Benedictine Nuns, who still occupy what is now called Kylemore Abbey. Tourists are free to roam the property and its manicured gardens.

Dunguaire Castle

It is not easy for a castle to stand out in Ireland, but what makes Dunguaire Castle unique is that you can gorge on an old-fashioned feast inside its lofty walls. This 500-year-old castle in County Galway regularly hosts four-course banquets in its cavernous dining room. It also has been used as a fairy-tale setting for film and TV due to its picturesque waterside location.

Parke’s Castle

Parke’s Castle is best viewed from afar. Lake Gill, on the banks of which this castle is situated, is perhaps one of the most gorgeous places in all of Ireland and offers wonderful views of this castle from the walking trail that hugs the lake’s south shore.

This castle in County Leitrim was built about 400 years ago and is in terrific condition thanks to a major restoration 20 years ago. The best way for tourists to visit is by catching a scenic boat cruise from nearby Sligo city.

THE 10 BEST Ireland Castles

Castles in ireland.

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ireland castles to visit

61. Mallow Castle

Emerchamp

62. Menlo Castle / Blake's Castle

jamesdkp

63. Farney Castle

AuggieDaddy

64. Carrigafoyle Castle

Breach21

65. Ballyhack Castle

lindsaymD5762JY

66. Barryscourt Castle

JSJTB

67. Black Castle

amandan210

68. Howth Castle

globetrottingYankee

69. Shankill Castle

118joerin

70. Tara's Palace and Museum of Childhood

jangems

71. Kanturk Castle

johnnorth2018

72. Kildavnet Castle

HowlnBubba

73. Dysert O'Dea Castle

Timothy_314

74. Carey's Castle

angelabA7252OI

75. Redwood Castle

cork2011

76. Oranmore Castle

LEECHCON21

77. Rathfarnham Castle

DUN01170

78. Claregalway Castle

sarahnZ1076VC

79. Rahinnane Castle

Marcia2424

80. Roslee Castle

ACanuckAmok

81. Clonony Castle

bronagh2

82. Dunboy Castle and Puxley Mansion

ciaran11

83. Carlingford Castle

annedS7568TR

84. McCarthy Mór Tower House - Ballinskellig Castle

JasonM624

85. Manorhamilton Castle

BeVeggie

86. Glin Castle

CatharineS405

87. Smithstown Castle

sandrahC7631SO

88. Gleninagh Castle and Fulacht Fiadh

QGJohn

89. Ballyhooly Castle and Castleblagh Woods

954majellab

90. Newtown Castle

Archaeobuff

What travelers are saying

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Heritage Ireland

Rock of Cashel at sunset

The Rock of Cashel

BOOK ONLINE

See all opening times

*Cormac’s Chapel visit is by guided tour only. Last tour is 14:30 daily. Limited tickets for the interior tour of Cormac’s Chapel can only be purchased at the site.  Please ring ahead for tour times and details of same as these can change at short notice Please note there is a short walk , up a steep incline , of approximately 200 Metres from the municipal cark park to the entrance of the Rock of Cashel *

Guided/Self-Guided Tour: Adult €8 Senior €6 Student/Child €4 Family €20 Group rate €6

Getting here

St. Patrick's Rock of Cashel Cashel Co. Tipperary E25 KX44

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Set on a dramatic outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale, The Rock of Cashel, iconic in its historic significance, possesses the most impressive cluster of medieval buildings in Ireland. Among the monuments to be found there is a round tower, a high cross, a Romanesque chapel, a Gothic cathedral, an abbey, the Hall of the Vicars Choral and a fifteenth-century Tower House.

Originally the seat of the kings of Munster, according to legend St. Patrick himself came here to convert King Aenghus to Christianity. Brian Boru was crowned High King at Cashel in 978 and made it his capital.

In 1101 the site was granted to the church and Cashel swiftly rose to prominence as one of the most significant centres of ecclesiastical power in the country.

The surviving buildings are remarkable. Cormac’s Chapel, for example, contains the only surviving Romanesque frescoes in Ireland.

The Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland’s most spectacular and – deservedly – most visited tourist attractions.

The Rock of Cashel Highlights

Opening Times

See Seasonal Opening Times

Closed 24 – 26 December inclusive.

Please note that all groups must be pre-booked.

Tour operators visiting The Rock of Cashel are requested not to drive directly to the site but rather to avail of the nearby car-park.

The tour times of the Chapel and the General Guided tours can change at any time due to weather and if we have works going on inside.

Cormac’s Chapel visit is by guided tour only. Last tour is 14:30 daily

Limited tickets for the interior tour of Cormac’s Chapel can only be purchased at the site. 

Please ring ahead for tour times and details of same as these can change at short notice

Seasonal Opening Times

Daily 09:00

Last admission 16:45 Average Length of Visit 1 – 1.5 hours

Last admission 15:45 Average Length of Visit 1 – 1.5 hours

[email protected]

By Car – Public car park close to site.

By Bus – Take the X8 to Cashel and walk 500m from the centre of Cashel town off the Dublin Road.

By Train – The nearest train station is Thurles.

Click the relevant icon below to open Maps directions

Getting Here

By Car  – Public car park close to site.

By Bus  – Take the X8 to Cashel and walk 500m from the centre of Cashel town off the Dublin Road.

By Train  – The nearest train station is Thurles.

Open location in Google Maps

Facilities Restrictions

  • Audio Visual Show
  • Card Accepted
  • Coach parking
  • Events Venue
  • Guided tours

Restrictions

  • Appropriate footwear
  • Assistance dogs only
  • Hold hand rail
  • Low Doorways
  • No climbing
  • Uneven walkways

Social Guide and Visitors Guides

Download, print and read our social guide (PDF) about visiting The Rock of Cashel. This will help first-time visitors, families and people with developmental and learning disabilities to prepare for a visit to The Rock of Cashel.

Download the Social Guide

Download the Visitors Guide

Guide français du Rocher de Cashel

Rock of Cashel Deutscher Reiseführer

Treoir as Gaeilge

Guida Rock of Cashel in italiano

Przewodnik po Rock of Cashel po polsku

Guía de Rock of Cashel en español

Nearby sites to visit

Holycross abbey.

A place of pilgrimage with a fascinating past

Approx. 13.4 km from The Rock of Cashel

Cahir Castle

A defensive powerhouse of the thirteenth century

Approx. 16.4 km from The Rock of Cashel

The Swiss Cottage

An idyllic fantasy of country life

Approx. 18.2 km from The Rock of Cashel

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Aerial view of Scattery Island

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Jerpoint Abbey

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Kells Priory

Visit Ireland’s largest enclosed ecclesiastical site

Ennis Friary

Ennis Friary

Admire some exquisite Renaissance carvings

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Boyle Abbey

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Sligo Abbey

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ireland castles to visit

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Go World Travel Magazine

7 Best Castles to Visit in Ireland

Ireland is home to some of the most beautiful castles in the world. Here are the seven Irish castles that you’ll want to visit.

Ashford Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland

Go World Travel is reader-supported and may earn a commission from purchases made through links in this piece.

Apart from the greenery that has become a legend in the world, stunning cities, and traditional sites, Ireland is also very well-known for being home to the most beautiful castles in the world. There are over thirty thousand castles scattered all around the Emerald Isle, and if you are already going on a holiday here, this is your chance to see some of the best ones. We have narrowed it down to the 7 finest, so take a look!

Blarney Castle

1. Blarney Castle

Probably already very well-known; Blarney Castle still deserves mentioning, maybe even the number one spot! This medieval stronghold and fortress was built by the MacCarthy of the Muskerry dynasty and served as a home and safe house for all kinds of high-rank people of Ireland. Now you can visit it as a museum with partial ruins and battlements and, of course, kiss the Blarney Stone. Legend has it that if you climb up ten stories and hiss the stone hanging upside down, the Gods will bless you with eternal knowledge! 

Bunratty Castle

2. Bunratty Castle

An absolutely perfect location for history-lovers, the Bunratty Castle in County Clare has been open to the public since the 1960s and has become even more popular every year. The castle was built on what once was the Viking trading camp and is now open for exploration. So if you wish to see the furniture, tapestries, and other elements of the 15th century, Bunratty is for you! Also, you can try to catch a traditional medieval festival, where you will be served some of the funniest yet most traditional and authentic medieval food! 

Ashford Castle

3. Ashford Castle

Quite often included in tours to Ireland, Ashford Castle is your dream come true if you have ever dreamed of staying in a castle. This Victorian masterpiece was built in the early 13th century and, over time, became a luxurious 5-star hotel and wedding venue! So, if you have ever wanted to live like a royal, Ashford is your chance. With stunning surroundings and lovely staff, this might just be your perfect holiday. You might even get to stay in a room that famous people once occupied—people like Ronald Reagan or John Lennon. You never know! 

Malahide Castle

4. Malahide Castle

Only 9 miles away from the center of Dublin, the Malahide Castle is the 12th-century stunning masterpiece of stonework. You can walk around the impressive Talbot Botanic Gardens, named after the noble family of residents, and see the Victorian conservatory. There are also woodland trails, sports fields, cafes, and a children’s playground, so you will have plenty of entertainment. However, the biggest attraction of Malahide Castle seems to be the fact that the Irish declared it the most haunted castle in Ireland. Over the years, visitors and workers all reported curious and unsettling things happening. If you like a bit of mystery, you will love your visit here! 

The Rock of Cashel

5. The Rock of Cashel

There are plenty of tours to Ireland that always include a trip to Cashel, only to see this iconic castle of the early centuries. With the dramatic background of Irish lands, the Rock of Cashel is extremely important as a historical site and displays the perfect vision of medieval architecture. It also includes a round tower, a high cross, a Romanesque chapel, a Gothic cathedral, an abbey, and the Hall of Vicars Choral. There are many legends surrounding, most of them of Christianity and the Kings of Ireland, so do not miss out on an opportunity to learn more about the origins of the Irish! 

Donegal Castle

6. Donegal Castle

Looming over the River Eske, the Donegal Castle is a 15th-century fortress of Red Hugh O’Donnell and has overcome so many dramatic changes over the years that it has now become a must-see. According to historians, when Red Hugh O’Donnell left for Spain, he was determined not to let the castle fall into the arms of England, and to make sure of it, he set it on fire! It left a prominent mark on the court, and what was once called one of the most splendid Gaelic castles in Ireland now required reconstruction and lots of work. We, however, believe that the Donegal Castle is still worthy of its title, so why don’t you go and check it out for yourself?

Dublin Castle

7. Dublin Castle

Now indeed, as you are making your way through the streets of Dublin, it is a guarantee that you will end up visiting Dublin Castle, as you should. Created as a defensive fortification in 1204, the castle now serves as a government complex and a conference center, making it one of the most essential establishments in Ireland. Take a guided tour through the Dublin and Vikings excavation sites, and see the spectacular work done at The Chapel Royal, famous for the services of 2nd September 1821, when King George IV was in attendance. It also got its name from this event! 

There you go! Fill up your itinerary with these stunning establishments, see the medieval architecture, and learn of iconic events surrounding these castles, some of which were so crucial to Irish history that it has formed the country into what it is today. Good luck! 

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Sampling America

Sampling America

Emerald Isle Escapes: Top 10 Must-Visit Places in Ireland

Posted: September 12, 2023 | Last updated: September 12, 2023

<p><a href="https://samplingamerica.com/10-pilgrimages-for-book-lovers/">Ireland</a> is well-known as one of the most beautiful places in the world, with rolling green hills, stunning cliffs, and medieval castles ready to be explored.</p> <p>Follow along to find the best places in Ireland. From the Guinness factory to the most stunning castles and jewel green meadows, there’s a place for everyone to explore the Emerald Isles.</p>

Ireland is well-known as one of the most beautiful places in the world, with rolling green hills, stunning cliffs, and medieval castles ready to be explored.

Follow along to find the best places in Ireland. From the Guinness factory to the most stunning castles and jewel green meadows, there’s a place for everyone to explore the Emerald Isles.

<p>Donegal is frequently on visitors’ must-see list. With charming castles, rocky cliffs, and rugged landscapes, this small area on the northwest coast of Ireland is home to some of the best views in the country.</p><p>Most people choose to drive past the Slieve League Cliffs to see a dramatic view of the ocean. The cliffs here are more than three times as tall as the Cliffs of Moher, another incredibly popular spot in Ireland to visit.</p>

Donegal is frequently on visitors’ must-see list. With charming castles, rocky cliffs, and rugged landscapes, this small area on the northwest coast of Ireland is home to some of the best views in the country.

Most people choose to drive past the Slieve League Cliffs to see a dramatic view of the ocean. The cliffs here are more than three times as tall as the Cliffs of Moher, another incredibly popular spot in Ireland to visit.

<p>It might seem cliché to visit the capital city of a country, but <a href="https://samplingamerica.com/the-12-most-overrated-cities-according-to-the-internet/">Dublin</a> is one of the most underrated major cities in the Western world. The city is a hub for politics, music, art, and culture.</p><p>Along with plenty of stunning metropolitan amenities, you can also visit the 13th-century Dublin Castle for a magical experience of learning more about medieval royalty.</p>

It might seem cliché to visit the capital city of a country, but Dublin is one of the most underrated major cities in the Western world. The city is a hub for politics, music, art, and culture.

Along with plenty of stunning metropolitan amenities, you can also visit the 13th-century Dublin Castle for a magical experience of learning more about medieval royalty.

<p>Known as the “Wild Atlantic Way,” this stunning natural destination is one of the most visited spots in Ireland. When driving through the coastline, going through the Slea Head Drive will take you through all of the best spots.</p><p>Be sure to bring your camera to snap a few photos of the trails, islands, and cliffs that populate this area. You can also take a ferry to Blasket Island to explore an island filled with sheep, green fields, and Atlantic dolphins swimming in the shoreline.</p>

Dingle Peninsula

Known as the “Wild Atlantic Way,” this stunning natural destination is one of the most visited spots in Ireland. When driving through the coastline, going through the Slea Head Drive will take you through all of the best spots.

Be sure to bring your camera to snap a few photos of the trails, islands, and cliffs that populate this area. You can also take a ferry to Blasket Island to explore an island filled with sheep, green fields, and Atlantic dolphins swimming in the shoreline.

<p>The town of Killarney is one of the most magical places to stop by in Ireland. Visit the Killarney Castle to take a walking tour of the 15th-century tower.</p><p>The rolling green hills create a quintessential experience of Ireland’s views. The town is also surrounded by the Killarney National Park with the highest mountain range in the country.</p>

The town of Killarney is one of the most magical places to stop by in Ireland. Visit the Killarney Castle to take a walking tour of the 15th-century tower.

The rolling green hills create a quintessential experience of Ireland’s views. The town is also surrounded by the Killarney National Park with the highest mountain range in the country.

<p>Probably the most popular place to visit in Ireland, the <a href="https://samplingamerica.com/top-destinations-unplugged-getaway/">Cliffs of Moher</a> are a stunning display of natural formations and geological processes.</p><p>More than 100 miles from the closest city, day trips are organized for tourists to take buses or a car can be rented to visit the area.</p><p>The cliffs measure more than 8 miles long and 700 feet tall. Be sure to bring a windbreaker, though the cliffs are famous for being an incredibly windy spot.</p>

Cliffs of Moher

Probably the most popular place to visit in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher are a stunning display of natural formations and geological processes.

More than 100 miles from the closest city, day trips are organized for tourists to take buses or a car can be rented to visit the area.

The cliffs measure more than 8 miles long and 700 feet tall. Be sure to bring a windbreaker, though the cliffs are famous for being an incredibly windy spot.

<p>Rocky, looming cliffs surround the rocky beaches on the coast of Sligo create a picture-perfect countryside. Visit the always beautiful Sligo Abbey to see centuries old architecture. </p><p>Known as the home of the famous poet William Butler Yeats, the area is a popular destination for literary lovers to see the home of the renowned writer.</p>

Rocky, looming cliffs surround the rocky beaches on the coast of Sligo create a picture-perfect countryside. Visit the always beautiful Sligo Abbey to see centuries old architecture. 

Known as the home of the famous poet William Butler Yeats, the area is a popular destination for literary lovers to see the home of the renowned writer.

<p>Next to Dublin, Cork is the largest city in Ireland. Tourists often visit to see the colorful houses that line the roads of the canals.</p><p>Cork is famous for being home to the Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone, which you can still visit and give a kiss. The legend states that anyone who kisses the Blarney Stone will be gifted eloquence, which, for 19th and 19th century writers, was well worth it.</p>

Next to Dublin, Cork is the largest city in Ireland. Tourists often visit to see the colorful houses that line the roads of the canals.

Cork is famous for being home to the Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone, which you can still visit and give a kiss. The legend states that anyone who kisses the Blarney Stone will be gifted eloquence, which, for 19th and 19th century writers, was well worth it.

<p>Just after visiting the colorful city of Cork, be sure to take a stop in the neighboring town of Cobh. The charming town sits on an island in Cork Harbor and is well-known for the stunning cathedral in the center of town.</p><p>The town has plenty of historic museums, such as the Cobh Heritage Centre and the Titanic Experience, as Cobh was one of the harbors that picked up Titanic passengers.</p>

Just after visiting the colorful city of Cork, be sure to take a stop in the neighboring town of Cobh. The charming town sits on an island in Cork Harbor and is well-known for the stunning cathedral in the center of town.

The town has plenty of historic museums, such as the Cobh Heritage Centre and the Titanic Experience, as Cobh was one of the harbors that picked up Titanic passengers.

Lismore Castle

Although this castle is a bit smaller and lesser known than the more popular tourist attractions, its beauty is simply unmatched. 

Initially contracted in 1185, Lismore Castle sits on 7 lush acres of Irish greenery with extensive gardens on the riverfront.

The castle can be toured most days of the week, however, they offer an unusual service. Unlike most of the other castles in Ireland, this castle can be completely rented out for private events. 

<p>Although Dunluce Castle sits mostly in disrepair as walls and rubble, the grounds of the castle are still a lovely place to visit.</p><p>Sitting above the rocky cliffs and rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the castle was once home to powerful families and wealthy royals. It’s easy to see how this looming castle was an impressive force protecting the countryside.</p>

Dunluce Castle

Although Dunluce Castle sits mostly in disrepair as walls and rubble, the grounds of the castle are still a lovely place to visit.

Sitting above the rocky cliffs and rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the castle was once home to powerful families and wealthy royals. It’s easy to see how this looming castle was an impressive force protecting the countryside.

<p>Are you planning a day trip from Reno, Nevada, and looking for some exciting options? Look no further than this article, which highlights the best day trips from Reno. There’s something for everyone, from skiing in Mount Rose to relaxing in Steamboat Hot Springs. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains and beyond!</p><ul> <li><a href="https://samplingamerica.com/reno-day-trips/">11 Day Trips From Reno: Desert Stops For Everyone To Enjoy</a></li> </ul>

  • 11 Day Trips From Reno: Desert Stops For Everyone To Enjoy

Are you planning a day trip from Reno, Nevada, and looking for some exciting options? Look no further than this article, which highlights the best day trips from Reno. There’s something for everyone, from skiing in Mount Rose to relaxing in Steamboat Hot Springs. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains and beyond!

Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

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<p>Are you looking for an unforgettable vacation spot with breathtaking natural beauty? Look no further than Utah! With stunning national parks like Zion and Bryce Canyon, as well as unique attractions like the Homestead Crater and Dead Horse Point, Utah has something for everyone. This article provides insider tips and recommendations for the best places to visit in Utah, from hiking to skiing to soaking in natural hot springs. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore this incredible outdoor playground!</p><ul> <li><a href="https://samplingamerica.com/utah-vacation-spots/">Best 16 Utah Vacation Spots</a></li> </ul>

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If you’re looking for a vacation spot that offers breathtaking natural scenery and exciting outdoor adventures, then Utah is the place to be! This article highlights the top places to visit in Utah, from the stunning Zion National Park to the unique Homestead Crater. Whether you’re interested in hiking, skiing, or simply soaking in a hot spring, Utah has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the diverse and awe-inspiring landscapes of Utah!

<p>National parks are a wonderful opportunity for people of all ages to experience the beauty and wonder of nature. However, not every park is a perfect choice for families with young kids! Rugged terrain, long distances, or limited services may make some parks more challenging for families with young children to visit. When planning a vacation for your young family, consider skipping these 10 national parks. </p>

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  1. The 11 Best Castles to Visit in Ireland

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  2. 20 Best Castles in Ireland

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  3. The 11 Best Castles to Visit in Ireland

    ireland castles to visit

  4. The 10 Best Castles to Visit in Ireland

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  5. These 11 Irish castles showcase the dramatic beauty of historic Ireland

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  6. 10 Charming Castles You Will Want To Visit In Ireland

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  5. Visiting Dublin's Castle, Grafton Street and More

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COMMENTS

  1. 33 Best Castles in Ireland (2024 Edition)

    1. Glenveagh Castle (Donegal) Photos via Shutterstock There are few castles in Ireland with a location that's as mighty as Glenveagh Castle in Donegal. Built between 1867 and 1873, Glenveagh Castle is finely placed on the shores of Lough Veagh.

  2. The 11 Best Castles to Visit in Ireland

    The 11 Best Castles to Visit in Ireland By Natalie Kennedy Updated on 05/14/20 Fact checked by Jillian Dara joe daniel price/Getty Images An unofficial count estimates that Ireland has more than 30,000 castle and castle remains.

  3. 20 Best Castles in Ireland

    January 12, 2024 Share You can't go far in Ireland without catching a glimpse of a castle. With more than 30,000 castles in the country, it's almost impossible to see them all. We've narrowed the list down to the greatest castles in Ireland so you know which ones to stop by and which ones to roll past. GIGASHOTS / shutterstock.com Blarney Castle

  4. 15 Must-See and Best Castles In Ireland To Visit

    1. Blarney Castle, County Cork One of Ireland's most popular attractions is Blarney Castle. It was built nearly six hundred years ago by Cormac MacCarthy, one of Ireland's greatest chieftains. Surrounding the castle are extensive gardens.

  5. THE 10 BEST Ireland Castles to Visit (Updated 2024)

    Castles in Ireland Enter dates Attractions Filters • 2 Sort All things to do Category types Attractions Tours Day Trips Outdoor Activities Concerts & Shows Food & Drink Events Classes & Workshops Shopping Transportation Traveler Resources Types of Attractions Sights & Landmarks Nature & Parks Museums Sights & Landmarks

  6. Ten must-see castles in Ireland

    Travel Stories Ireland Ten must-see castles in Ireland Fionn Davenport Feb 13, 2018 • 6 min read Castles - whether ruined, regal or otherwise - are a feature of the Irish landscape. With 3000 or so spread across the country, there's no shortage of history and grandeur on display.

  7. These 11 Irish castles showcase the dramatic beauty of historic Ireland

    1. Kilkenny Castle Kilkenny Castle is one of Ireland's most visited heritage sites © RobinsonBecquart/Getty Images Kilkenny Castle rises above the River Nore in Kilkenny and is one of Ireland's most visited heritage sites.

  8. 15 Beautiful Castles in Ireland to Inspire Your Next Trip to ...

    02 of 15 Lismore Castle Hal Beral/Getty Images Located in the town of Lismore in County Waterford, this castle is one of the ancestral homes of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Set on the...

  9. 10 STUNNING Castles in Ireland [2024 Edition]

    10 STUNNING Castles in Ireland [2024 Edition] Ireland has well-earned its nickname of the Emerald Isle. The lush, rolling green hills and majestic forests will make you feel like you've stepped into a medieval fairytale - all before you get to see the castles! With more than 30,000 castles dotting the countryside, it's impossible to visit ...

  10. 15 Top-Rated Castles in Ireland

    1. Dublin Castle 2. Trim Castle 3. Dunluce Castle 4. Bunratty Castle 5. Enniskillen Castle 6. Cahir Castle 7. Dromoland Castle 8. Castle Ward 9. Dunamase Castle 10. Glenveagh Castle 11. Birr Castle 12. Blarney Castle 13. Kylemore Castle

  11. 15+ Best Castles in Ireland to Visit

    Ireland is a wonderful country with a rich history - and part of that history is on full display in their castles. Filled with legends, stories, love and war - the best castles in Ireland have it all. I teamed up with other travel experts to bring you over 15 of the best castles to visit in Ireland! (P.S.

  12. 11 Amazing Castles In Ireland To See!

    7.) Cahir Castle. One of the largest and best-preserved castles in Ireland, Cahir Castle stands atop an island on the Suir River in Cahir. Originally built as a top-tier defensive fortress, it was constructed on the site of a former stone fort called a Cathair, which gave the current castle its name.

  13. 25 Best Castles in Ireland to Visit

    Looking for the most beautiful castles in Ireland to visit on your next trip? From Blarney Castle to Rock of Cashel, here is the list of the must-see castles on Emerald Isle.

  14. 30 Amazing Ireland Castles You Need To Visit

    Steeped with history and placed in geologically beautiful locations, a trip to Ireland is not complete visiting seeing at least some of the Ireland castles. In this article I teach you all about the top 30 castles in Ireland. Ready to learn more? Keep reading… Contents The Castles in Ireland Best Ireland Castles in Dublin Dublin Castle

  15. The Ultimate Guide to the Most Beautiful Castles in Ireland

    Ireland is known for their historic castles and they do not disappoint! On our most recent visit to Ireland, we visited a few that we just had to share with you all. Read on to discover some amazing stops during your travels! Lough Rynn Castle. Located in Leitrim, Ireland, this castle is one that you can stay a night or two in while visiting ...

  16. A Local's Guide to 25 of the Best Castles in Ireland

    Waterford and Wexford road trip Ashford Castle Lodge Galway to Connemara road trip Discover the best castles in Ireland. Explore the best castles near Dublin, best castle hotels, and best ruined castles to explore in Ireland.

  17. 15 Best Castles in Ireland You Should Visit : Nordic Visitor

    Rock of Cashel Kilkenny Castle Belfast Castle Dunluce Castle 1. Dublin Castle, County Dublin Best for: Learning about Irish democracy Whether you're in town on a weekend trip or just starting your Ireland self-drive tour, you should spend some time roaming around Dublin.

  18. Best Castles in Ireland

    32 Famous Irish Castles to Visit. 1. Blarney Castle. Home of the famous Blarney Stone that you can still kiss, Blarney castle is a magical-looking Medieval stronghold that was built some 600 years ago through a castle that has stood on the site since as far back as 1210A.D ensuring plenty of history for you to uncover.

  19. The Best Castles To Visit In Ireland

    Bunratty Castle, Co. Clare. This 15th-century medieval castle is one of the best known castles in county Clare. Bunratty castle and folk park provide the visitor with one of the most authentic and complete Irish history experience, ranging as far as over 1000 years ago from Vikings, Irish Earls, Normans to the noble Lords and Ladies.

  20. Best Castles To Visit In Ireland

    Trim Castle is one of the best castles to visit in Ireland as it is easily reached on the #111 bus from Busáras bus station in Dublin in approximately an hour and a half. Get off at the Ring Road stop and enjoy the 10-minute walk up the Riverwalk. The drive takes a similar amount of time.

  21. The 10 Best Castles to Visit in Ireland

    Part medieval castle, part government office, part tourist attraction, Dublin Castle is one of the most unique structures in Ireland. The original castle, with its giant stone tower, is more than ...

  22. THE 10 BEST Ireland Castles to Visit (Updated 2024)

    Shankill Castle. 35. Castles. By 118joerin. A beautiful spot on a sunny day and lovely to have a browse of the art that is displayed in the stables. 70. Tara's Palace and Museum of Childhood. 65. Speciality Museums • Castles.

  23. The Rock of Cashel

    Search Altamont Gardens Annes Grove Gardens Arbour Hill Cemetery Ardfert Cathedral Askeaton Castle Athenry Castle Aughnanure Castle Ballyhack Castle Barryscourt Castle Battle of the Boyne Boyle Abbey Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre (Newgrange and Knowth) Cahir Castle Carlingford Castle Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery Casino Marino Castletown House and Parklands Charles Fort Clonmacnoise Corlea ...

  24. 7 Best Castles to Visit in Ireland

    Go World Travel is reader-supported and may earn a commission from purchases made through links in this piece. Apart from the greenery that has become a legend in the world, stunning cities, and traditional sites, Ireland is also very well-known for being home to the most beautiful castles in the world.

  25. Emerald Isle Escapes: Top 10 Must-Visit Places in Ireland

    Ireland is well-known as one of the most beautiful places in the world, with rolling green hills, stunning cliffs, and medieval castles ready to be explored. Follow along to find the best places ...