Best Castles near Dublin

Famous castles near Dublin-Malahide-Castle

The Best Castles Near Dublin

Ireland is said to be home to 30,000 castles but you don’t have to wander far from Dublin (if at all) to get your fix of history whether you’re exploring Medieval ruins or Georgian/Victorian Country Homes. Learn the history of Dublin as you explore ruins, period rooms, picturesque gardens and stunning scenery whether you’re looking out across the green countryside or out across the Irish sea.

1. Dublin Castle

Best castles near Dublin- Dublin castle

The seat of the British government’s administration in Ireland for more than 700 years, until 1922, most of what remains of Dublin Castle is from the 18th century though the Record Tower aka the Wardrobe Tower dates as far back as 1258. Take a guided tour inside the castle to see the State Apartments and St Patrick’s Hall plus the medieval undercroft.

Where: Dublin
When:
13th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily 9:45-5:45

2. Malahide Castle & Gardens

Famous castles near Dublin-Malahide-Castle

Set within 260 acres of parkland, this beautiful castle with gardens has 800 years of history to discover. Take a guided tour inside the castle to visit the private rooms and discover the history of the Talbot family and the role Malahide Castle played in Irish political history.

Where: Malahide, Co. Dublin
When:
12th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Guided tours are available 9.30am-4: 30 pm (3:30 pm in winter).

3. Swords Castle

Castles near Dublin-Swords-Castle

This castellated country home stands within the modern town of Swords and was built in 1200 not as a military fortress but as a summer palace for the Archbishops of Dublin. Recently renovated, Swords Castle featured in the TV series The Tudors.

Where: Swords, Co. Dublin
When:
13th century
Style:
Georgian
Open for visit:
Yes, Monday-Thursday 1am-12 and 1pm-4pm. Friday 10am-12 and 1am-3pm.

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4. Howth Castle

Best castles near Dublin-Howth-Castle

The family home of the Gaisford – St Lawrence family (descendants of the Earls of Howth) for 800 years, Howth Castle is one of the oldest residential Castles in Ireland. Take a guided tour on one of its few opening days to admire the staterooms as you hear of the visits by Queen Victoria and Bing Crosby.

Where: Howth, Co. Dublin
When:
15th century
Style:
Norman
Open for visit:
By guided tour only at certain times – Generally Saturdays and Sundays in July and Sundays only June and August.

5. Ashtown Castle

Famous castles near Dublin-Ashtown-Castle

Located in Phoenix Park, once a royal park, this restored tower house was lost to the outside world, hidden within Ashtown Lodge for centuries. The modern visitor centre tells the story of the castle and the park from 3500BC to today.

Where: Dublin
When:
17th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Park open 24/7. Visitor centre open daily May-October 10am-5.45pm and Wednesday-Sunday November-April 9.30am 5.30pm

6. Rathfarnham Castle

Castles near Dublin-Rathfarnham-Castle

This grand fortified house was built for the Archbishop of Armagh; Adam Loftus who later became the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Today Rathfarnham Castle is a beautiful Georgian Villa turned art gallery containing 18th and 19th-century paintings plus other items.

Where: Rathfarnham, Dublin
When:
16th century
Style:
Neoclassical
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily May-October 10am-5.45am, and Wednesday-Sunday November-April 9.30am-5.30pm

7. Monkstown Castle

Best castles near Dublin-Monkstown-Castle

A tower house with medieval gatehouse located within beautiful woodland on a golf course, Monkstown Castle has stunning views overlooking the harbour. Used as a family residence, military barracks, and as headquarters for the Monkstown Badminton Club from the 1900s, the partially restored tower house is up for sale and likely to become high-end accommodation.

Where: Monkstown, Co. Cork
When: 14th-17th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: No

8. Dalkey Castle

Famous castles near Dublin-Dalkey-Castle

A visit can be enjoyed by the whole family as costumed actors bring the history of the castle to life with interactive experiences as you meet the barber-surgeon and the cook and have the opportunity to try out an archer’s longbow before walking the battlements to admire the views. Surprisingly, the castle also includes a Writers’ Gallery which celebrates the works of great Irish writers including James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Maeve Binchy.

Where: Dalkey, Co. Dublin
When:
15th century
Style:
Norman
Open for visit:
Yes open Monday and Wednesday-Friday 10am-5.30pm and Saturday-Sunday 11am-5.30pm. Closed Tuesday.

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9. Trim Castle

Castles near Dublin-Trim-Castle

Built by Hugh de Lacy over 30 years, Trim Castle is the largest Norman castle in Ireland and due to its riverbank location, enjoys stunning views over the river Boyne. The grounds of the castle today, incorporate a luxury hotel, the rooms looking out onto the Norman ruins.

Where: Trim, Co. Meath
When:
12th century
Style:
Norman
Open for visit:
Guided tours of the ground only Monday-Friday November-February.

10. Kilkenny Castle

Best castles near Dublin-Kilkenny-Castle

This castle, which is more like a grand country house, with beautiful gardens, lake, and woodlands has stood guard over the river Nore for more than 900 years. Enjoy the exterior alone or take a guided tour inside to see the beautifully decorated period rooms.

Where: Kilkenny
When:
13th century
Style:
Victorian
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily from 9.30am

11. Ardgillan Castle

Famous castles near Dublin-Ardgillan-Castle

This grand country house enjoys sea views across its beautiful gardens and woodlands. A bit of a hidden gem, visitors can take a guided tour of the castle to see the 18th-century décor whilst learning about the people who used to love here. Alternatively, enjoy the grounds and the views from the exterior as you visit the rose garden, walled garden, and ornamental gardens.

Where: Strifeland, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin
When:
18th century
Style:
Gothic Revival
Open for visit:
Yes, open daily. Park opens from 9 am, the castle opens from 10 am.

12. Birr Castle

Castles near Dublin-Birr-Castle

Home today to the 7th Earl of Rosse, Birr Castle is famous for its beautiful gardens and also contains an outstanding science centre so there’s something to keep the entire family occupied. Why a science centre? The Rosse families were scientists/engineers, the 3rd Earl of Rosse having built the telescope that discovered the Whirlpool Nebula and his son having invented the steam turbine.

Where: Birr, Co. Offaly
When:
17th century
Style:
Victorian
Open for visit:
Exterior only, open daily from 9 am

 13. Rock of Cashel

Best castles near Dublin-Rock-of-Cashel

Otherwise known as Cashel of the Kings or St. Patrick’s Rock, this famous historical site sits on an outcrop of limestone and contains a collection of medieval ecclesiastical buildings spread across a large complex. See the 12th century Round Tower which is the oldest surviving building on the site, the 13th-century Gothic Cathedral, and the 15th-century castle.

Where: Cashel, Co. Tipperary
When:
12th-15th century
Style:
Romanesque/Gothic
Open for visit:
Yes, open daily from 9 am

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