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
- Best Ireland Castles in Dublin
- Best Ireland Castles in Tipperary
- Best Ireland Castles in Cork
- Best Ireland Castles in Kerry
- Best Ireland Castles in Clare
- Best Ireland Castles in Galway
- Best Ireland Castles in Donegal
- Best Ireland Castles in Cavan
- Best Ireland Castles in Offaly
- Best Ireland Castles in Antrim
- Best Ireland Castles in Kilkenny
- Best Ireland Castles in Waterford
The Castles in Ireland
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Charles Fort Kinsale
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Clough Oughter Castle
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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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