Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin via @TravelLatte.net

Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin

Driving through Ireland, one thing is apparent: The Irish love a castle. For every county, most cities, and random points in between, there is a castle. Granted, many are little more than ruins now, but castles none-the-less. Carlow County? Has a castle. The rugged coast of Kilmurry? Has a castle. The capital city of Dublin? Has a castle. (Of course!)

Castles Everywhere!

According to the website Enjoy Irish Culture, there are more than 30,000 castles and castle ruins on the Emerald Isle. That may seem extreme, but remember that this tiny island has seen more than its share of invaders. With every invading force came a castle. Not to mention the Irish landowners and settlers, who erected castles to defend against said invaders.

A country dotted with castles is the result, and that’s one of the things we love about Ireland! Each one is a portrait of Irish life and history through the ages. Together, they tell tales of adventure, war and prosperity. Many were family homes for generations, while others changed hands too often to keep track. And some stand silent and alone, keeping their secrets to themselves.

Carlow Castle in Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin via @TravelLatte.net

The remains of 800 year old Carlow Castle (an Irish National Monument), left unguarded but surrounded now by modern apartment and office buildings.

No visit to Ireland would be complete without a visit to a castle. We firmly believe the more, the merrier. Be warned: Time will slip quickly away as you explore the ruins, imagining that you are the Lord of the Castle! While none of these tours last more than 60- to 90-minutes, you’ll find yourself spending much longer. You could tick off several in a day, but we suggest taking your time. Make each one a Castle Day Trip, and explore the surrounding “kingdom”. To start, here is our list of the five best castles to visit on an easy day trip from Dublin – or any other city in the Republic.

Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin via @TravelLatte.net

The Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin


Dublin Castle

Alright, so technically not a day trip from Dublin, but an important castle to see, none-the-less. As early 840CE, Vikings were in Dubh Linn, establishing the Norse Kingdom of Dublin. In the basement of the Dublin Castle, you can see evidence of the Viking settlement, and later fortifications that show this site as a capital city since ancient times.

In 1204, King John decreed that a castle be built to provide a “safe place for the custody of our treasure…for the administration of justice and, if need be, for the defense of the city.” Ironically, the Crown Jewels disappeared from the castle about 700 years later, and have never been found.

Dublin Castle in Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin via @TravelLatte.net

The Chapel Royal was updated to its current Gothic appearance in the 1600s. What was then the Wardrobe Tower was converted to storage for the records of government, becoming the Record Tower. Renovations have begun, and it will reopen as a museum in 2019.

For hundreds of years, Dublin Castle was the residence of the Monarchy’s representatives, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland or the Viceroy of Ireland. The castle was severely damaged by fire in 1684, and was rebuilt as a Georgian palace. The Record Tower, which dates from about 1230, is all that remains (above ground) of the medieval castle.

Once Ireland won independence in 1922, the castle was turned over to the Republic, and held the Four Courts. In 1938, it was decided that Ireland’s Presidents would be inaugurated in the castle. Today, the castle houses many state offices, and is used for official functions and foreign affairs. It is open to the public on both self- and guided-tours. The Castle complex includes the free Dublin Gardens, the Chester Beatty Library, and the Coach House exhibition space.

Chapel Royal at Dublin Castle in Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin via @TravelLatte.net

The Chapel Royal was a later addition at Dublin Castle. Today, it is only accessible on a guided tour or, apparently, if you’re filming an episode of HBO’s The Tudors.

Admissions

Dublin Castle is open daily, except for Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Self-tours of the State Apartments and exhibitions are available for €7. Guided tours are €10, and include the Viking Excavation and the beautiful Chapel Royal. There are discounts for seniors, students, children, and families. Check hours and fees here, and purchase tickets here.

Directions

Dublin Castle is in the historic area of downtown Dublin, just behind City Hall on Dame Street (R137). It’s easy to enter from either Palace Street or Cork Hill. Coming from the Christ Church area, Ship Street Little leads to the Castle complex as well. The Castle is in walking distance from most downtown attractions and carparks.


Kilkenny Castle in Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin via @TravelLatte.net

Beautiful Kilkenny Castle is surrounded by lawns and gardens, perfect for a day trip picnic and epic photo ops!

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny just may be the original Medieval Times. The historical district, called the Medieval Mile, includes the most important elements of Irish life in the middle ages: a cathedral, a pub, and a castle! Grab a map and start at St. Canice’s Cathedral just beyond the city wall. The adjoining Round Tower is the last remnant of Saint Canice’s 6th Century monastic settlement. On your way to the castle, you’ll want to stop by Kytelers’s Inn on St. Kieran’s Street. But be careful! Dame Alice de Kyteler was a witch, ya know. She escaped persecution, but her maid wasn’t so lucky. No, she was burned at the stake in Alice’s place. Sure, go on and have a pint in the 13th century pub, though. Then, on to the castle!

In 1172, the Norman knight Richard de Clare, best known as Strongbow, built a wooden tower at Cill Chainnigh, where several routeways came together to forge the River Nore. By 1195, the Earl of Pembroke, who happened to be Strongbow’s son-in-law, William Marshall, replaced the tower with a stone castle. Three of the towers from that castle remain at Kilkenny Castle today.

De Clare’s family line held the castle until 1381, when it was seized by the crown and sold to the Butler family of Ormonde. A politically successful family that was loyal to the Crown and to Ireland, the Butlers held Kilkenny until 1967, when they sold the castle – by then, abandoned and deteriorating – to the Castle Restoration Committee for £50. Along with Dublin Castle, Kilkenny is maintained today by the Office of Public Works.

Kilkenny's Medieval Mile in Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin via @TravelLatte.net

Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile makes for a wonderful day trip from anywhere in Ireland!

Admissions

Kilkenny Castle is open daily, but check the website for seasonal hours. Tickets are available at the Castle, and are €8 per person, with discounts for Seniors, children, and families. From February to October, tours are self-guided with a tour book. An English audio-guide is also available. November through January, tours are only permitted with a guide. Plan at least an hour for a tour.

Directions

Drive: Kilkenny is about 90 minutes from Dublin on the M9 motorway. Any GPS or street map will get you there. There is street parking available, though hard to find, along with several car parks around the Castle area. Driving Directions (Note: for convenience, we start from centrally-located Connolly Station in Dublin.)

Rail: Irish Rail service to Kilkenny leaves from Dublin Heuston station several times each day. In about 90 minutes, you’ll arrive at MacDonagh Station, about a 15 minute walk to the Castle. Return trains also run throughout the day. Fares are €11 to €13 each way.


Malahide Castle in Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin via @TravelLatte.net

You could spend all day at Malahide Castle, but it’s so close to Dublin, you can combine a visit with other sites.

Malahide Castle and Gardens

Dublin’s affluent suburb of Malahide is a meeting point. The Broad Meadow River meets the Irish Sea here. Chic boutiques meet beautiful countryside, and modern meets with medieval. The village makes a great day trip, highlighted by Malahide Castle Gardens.

The Malahide Estate was the Talbot family home for some 800 years, starting in 1185. Sir Richard Talbot accompanied England’s King Henry II to Ireland in 1174, and was granted the “lands and harbor of Malahide” as reward for his “war-like services,” in much the same way Strongbow came to hold Leinster.

The castle is thought to have been established around 1250. It was home to the Talbot family until shortly after the death of the Seventh (and last) Baron Talbot in 1973. On his death, the estate was passed to his wife Rose, who sold the castle to the Irish State in 1975.

Malahide Castle & Gardens in Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin via @TravelLatte.net

With more than 200 acres, the gardens, walking paths, and sprawling lawns of Malahide are a great day trip destination.

The history of the Talbot family at Malahide makes Game of Thrones seem tame by comparison. The family lost 14 members on the same day during the Battle of the Boyne. Richard’s grandson (also Richard) was slain with eleven allies and their families at a banquet. Plus, the castle was repeatedly attacked, though it was only wrested from the family once, by Oliver Cromwell from 1649 to 1660.

While the castle is fantastic, the surrounding demesne is one of the only examples of 18th Century landscaped parks in Ireland. In his retirement, the Seventh Baron collected more than 5,000 plant species from around the world. Unfortunately, he also introduced the mosquito to Ireland. Thankfully, we didn’t find any as we strolled through the walled garden, a Victorian conservatory, and six other greenhouses in the Malahide Botanical Gardens. The parks include walking trails and sports fields spreading over more than 260 acres.

Admissions

Malahide Castle is open daily year-round, except for the Christmas holiday. The Castle is open only by guided tours, which last 45 minutes and run throughout the day. Adult tickets are €12.50, and there are discounts for children, students, seniors, and families. You can purchase tickets in the Courtyard gift shop, and online directly from Malahide Castle or though the Shannon Heritage website. Your tour ticket also grants admission to the gardens; the courtyard and parks, though, are free.

Directions

Drive: Malahide Castle is an easy, 30-minute drive from downtown Dublin, and Google can get you directions. There is ample parking near the castle, but you will be vying for space with golfers and soccer families, so weekends will be crowded. Driving Directions

Rail: Malahide is in the DART Short Hop area, meaning that return fares from any Dublin area station are €6.15 per adult, €2.95 for children. It’s about a 30-minute ride from Dublin Connolly, followed by a short (15 minute) walk to the Castle. Trains run throughout the day.

Bus: Dublin buses go to/from Malahide Castle (stop 3645 on Route #42) in about 40 minutes from the Connolly Station area of Dublin. Fares are €3.30 Adult/€1.40 Child, each way.


King John's Castle in Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin via @TravelLatte.net

Get a good look at Medieval and Viking life at King John’s Castle in Limerick.

King John’s Castle

After visiting a few Irish castles, a pattern emerges: Vikings invade. Vikings build a castle. Normans invade. Normans build a castle. And so it was in Limerick. An island in the River Shannon made just the sort of base a Viking Sea King, in this case, Thormodr Helgason, loved. He built the first Viking stronghold on Inis Sibhtonn in 922, and raided the length of the Shannon. Eventually, the kings who made this island their home, fell to the Normans under John, Lord of Ireland, in 1195. Limerick was given a charter, and King John ordered a castle built on that island. By 1210, King John’s Castle protected the area from King’s Island, and Limerick prospered as a port and trading center.

The castle was besieged throughout the 17th century, suffering heavy damage. Part of castle walls had to be pulled down. The castle hosted a barracks from 1791 until the British army units left in 1922. Later, 22 houses were built in the castle yard. Thankfully, all of that has been cleared away. King John’s Castle underwent a massive €5.7 million restoration and redevelopment from 2011 to 2013. Besides repairs to the castle, a brand new visitor center was installed, and a café with views of the courtyard and River Shannon.

A new exhibition at the castle tells the story of King John, brother of England’s Richard the Lionheart. (Bonus Factoid: King John never actually visited the castle!) You can also see the Viking foundations, and evidence of medieval buildings found beneath the castle.

Limerick's Milk Market in Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin via @TravelLatte.net

A walk through Limerick, including a stop for lunch at the Milk Market, makes a memorable Irish day trip. (Photo: Limerick City & County Council)

Admissions

King John’s Castle is open year-round, except for the Christmas holiday, though hours vary seasonally. (Check hours here.) While a tour of the castle lasts just an hour, you should allow more time for wandering the grounds and the rest of Limerick City. (Self-guide leaflets are available in several languages.) Admission for adults is €10.50, with child, student and family discounts available. Tickets are available in the Visitor’s Centre and online from Shannon Heritage.

Directions

Drive: Limerick is about 200km from Dublin. It should take a little more than two hours on the M7 Motorway (which does have tolls). A free car park is nearby at The Bishop’s Palace. Driving Directions

Rail: There are two Irish Rail routes from Dublin Heuston Station to Limerick. Both will take two hours, fifteen minutes, and cost €12 in Low Fare to €31 for Flexible, each way. (We usually go for the Semi-Flexible, which is €15 for this trip.) Option One runs throughout the day and requires one change at Limerick Junction. The non-stop is less frequent, but takes you right to Limerick Colbert Station.

It’s a twenty-minute walk (1.5km) from train station to castle. Along the way, you’ll pass St. John’s Cathedral, the Milk Market, and the Hunt Museum. It’s an easy, and enjoyable, way to spend the entire day in Limerick.


Bunratty Castle in Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin via @TravelLatte.net

Dinner in an authentic Irish castle might make your day trip longer, but it’s worth every minute!

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

Bunratty may be our favorite castle experience in Ireland, because it’s so much more than a castle! Besides the usual castle tours, the complex includes a walled garden, and a heritage park to explore. Afterwards, you can stretch your day trip into the evening with a Medieval dinner show.

By now, you won’t be surprised to learn that Bunratty Castle sits on what was once a Viking trading camp around the year 970. The first Norman fortress here was an earthen mound with a wooden tower on top in 1250. Powerful Irish families repeatedly attacked and, eventually, defeated the Normans. The MacNamara Clan built the present-day castle around 1425, though it was later the stronghold for the O’Brien Clan from 1475 until Cromwell invaded.

Nearly 200 years later, after a succession of plantation owners and vacancies, Bunratty was restored and opened as a National Monument in 1962. Today, Bunratty Folk Park is an immersive experience where you can explore a 19th Century Irish village. Imagine browsing through period shops and meeting (or making) friends at the pub. Visit the places a resident might: the post office, the grocer, even a rural farmhouse. Interpreters in period costume make the setting that much more charming and educational. After a day roaming the cobbled streets, indulge in a Wild Irish Night – local singers, dancers, and musicians entertain while you enjoy an authentic, 19th Century Irish meal. Unfortunately, the village is only open from April to October, so you’ll need to time your visit.

While villagers enjoy their wild Irish nights, things are a bit more refined at the castle. Dinner there includes minstrels entertaining and telling the story of Bunratty Castle, while you enjoy a traditional Medieval banquet with the Earl of Thomond. There are usually two seatings each night, year round.

Bunratty Folk Park in Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin via @TravelLatte.net

Besides the castle, Bunratty Folk Park gives you a taste of village life by day, and parties by night! (Photo: Bunratty Tourism)

Admissions

A visit to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is €11.55 for adults, and also has discounts for children, seniors, and families. Wild Irish Nights are €30 per adult, €20 per child. The Medieval Banquet at Bunratty Castle is €57.75 for adults, and €23.35 to €38 for children, depending on age. Pro Tip Check the website for tickets and hours.

Directions

Bunratty Castle is a little more than 15km from Limerick Colbert train station, as a point of reference. Assuming you are already in Limerick, you have two options for getting to Bunratty:

Drive: It’s a quick and easy 20-minute drive between the castle and Limerick, and there is plenty of free parking on-site. If you don’t drive yourself, a taxi should run about €25 each way. If you’re driving from Dublin, allow about three hours. Driving Directions

Bus Bus Eireann line 343 will take you from the Caherdavin, Coonagh Roundabout in Limereick (near the city car parks), to the Old Creamery Pub outside Bunratty, in 15 minutes. It will set you back €7 to €11 each way.


Save on Sightseeing

The Heritage Card

Dublin and Kilkenny Castles are run by the Office of Public Works, and are included in the Heritage Card. At a price of €40 for adults (with family, student and senior discounts available), just visiting the castles isn’t worth it. However, the card covers admission to all OPW Heritage Sites in the country for an entire year! (With the exception of Muckross Traditional Farms in Killlarney.) That list includes the incredible sites of Brú a Bóinne – Hill of Tara, Newgrange, and Knowth – and all of the country’s National Parks. The Gallus Oratory on the Dingle Peninsula, the beautiful Muckross House and Gardens, the Official Residence of the President, and more castles than you can possibly fit in one lifetime… all are included. If you’ll be in Ireland for a while, or will be visiting several OPW sites, the card is a bargain. (Brochure is here.)

The Dublin Pass

Like the Heritage Card, the The Dublin Pass can save you some money if you’re visiting several attractions in Dublin. From this list, Dublin and Malahide Castles are included, though it only covers the self-tour at Dublin Castle. Other popular Dublin attractions, like the Guinness Storehouse, Christ Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedrals, and the Irish Rock and Roll Museum Experience are included, too. Plus, you get to ride the HOHO (Hop On/Hop Off) Bus! At €73 for a two day adult pass, though, do your math carefully to be sure you’re saving money. If you’ll be in Dublin for a week, you’re more likely to get value from the 5 Day Pass. It’s frequently on sale for about €88. Learn more here.

Leave It to Others

If you want an almost hands-off approach to seeing the castles, many tours are available from Dublin, and most other larger cities. Using a tour company doesn’t always save money, it can save lots of time. One of our favorite sites for booking tours and activities is Viator. We have used them around the world, with excellent results every time. While we did not visit these castles with Viator, a review of our trip to Newgrange with them is upcoming.


Now we’re curious: Do you have a favorite castle, in Ireland or elsewhere? We’d love to hear about it, and your impressions of our Top 5 Castle day Trips from Dublin. Just leave us a Comment below! And if you loved this post, please share with your friends on social media. Thanks for reading, and thanks for sharing!


Westin Dublin Hotel in Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin via TravelLatte.net

The Westin Dublin in the heart of historic Dublin earns 5 Stars from Expedia. (Photo: Starwood Hotels)

While in Dublin, TravelLatte stayed at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel and the Westin Dublin. Not your style? There are literally hundreds of hotels in Dublin. We often use Expedia to find just the right hotel at a great price, and you can too!


Travel Blog Linkups

If you’re like us, you love reading about travel almost as much as the actual traveling! In addition to helping host the “Link Ups” you see on the right, we participate with other bloggers in those below. That means we share our posts, and get to read great travel stories by other bloggers who Link Up. Please visit the host bloggers today, or search for the hashtags on Twitter. If you follow us on Twitter, watch for Tweets about our favorites, too. And don’t forget to comment – bloggers love comments, and that’s how we build a community of like-minded travel lovers!


  • #WanderfulWednesday – Wanderful Wednesday, hosted by these wanderful bloggers:
  • #FarawayFiles – Faraway Files is a weekly roundup of some of the web’s best, rotating among hosts Oregon Girl Around the World, Suitcases & Sandcastles, and Untold Morsels.
  • 61 comments on “Top 5 Castle Day Trips from Dublin

    1. I’ve adopted a love for all things Viking after living in Denmark for three years and my Dad’s name was Shannon – so I’m definitely on board with a visit to King John’s Castle! Great list – thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

      • We like the Vikings, too. There’s a fairly new attraction, Dubliana, that goes into that history. A nice add-on for a day in Dublin, especially for teens and younger. Dublin Castle also has a bit on the Viking history. Just can’t separate the two today, and that makes for a really rich history. Glad you liked the post! Thanks for your comment, Erin.

    2. Fantastic post! We love visiting castles but have yet to see any in Ireland so I’m saving your post for when we do. I love all the juicy bits of history you’ve added here. Nothing like stories to make a castle come alive. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

      • Thanks Clare! So glad you liked it, and we hope you get to visit all of them and more! We do love the history behind the castles. You’re right, that’s what breathes life into those old stones. And some of them have had pretty spectacular lives! Thanks so much for your comment.

      • It’s hard to miss the castles in Ireland! There is lots of beauty in-between them, as well. As you said, breathtakingly beautiful! We hope you get there one day soon! Thanks for your comment, Corey.

    3. Pingback: #TheWeeklyPostcard – 10 November 2017 - TravelLatte

      • Thanks for the Pin, Sharon! Ireland was a dream of ours too – still is, really – and we do harbor a certain fondness for castles. (Who doesn’t?) There are more we’d love to see, and all of the great Irish countryside between them. Hopefully, you get to put this list to use sooner rather than later. 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

      • Ha – The scandals! We’ve got nothing on the middle ages high society! 😉 We hope you get to use this info sooner rather than later. Thanks for reading and Pinning, Shona!

      • Aren’t they marvelous? Kilkenny Castle is great, but making it a day trip to take in more of the city is fantastic. So much to see, plus some “shopportunities.” 😉 Thanks for reading, Vanessa!

      • And we barely scratched the surface! There are some great estates worth touring within a few hours of Dublin, plus ancient sites like Newgrange, Glendalough, and the Rock of Cashel. Even more. You could easily spend two weeks exploring the eastern half of Ireland from Dublin. Probably longer! We home your “someday” comes soon! Thanks for your comment. PS: There are a few motorcycle rental shops in Dublin – that would be a great way to see the country! 🙂

    4. I have some Irish blood, so Ireland is on my “must see soon” list. I love teaching castle history to the 6th graders at my school. All of the details relating to defense totally fascinate me! Pinning this for the future!

      • Ah, you would really enjoy King John’s Castle. There’s a little more about the logistics and defense of castles there than many others, which focus mostly on the families and their ornate lifestyles. There’s also a good bit on how castles were attacked. It is pretty fascinating stuff for students of history. Thanks for the Pin and the comment. Really glad you liked the post, and hope you do get to visit our ancestral homelands soon! (Rob is half-Irish, half-mutt. 😉

    5. I am like, OBSESSED with castles. I love anything to do with the Medieval Ages, castles, knights, any of it. I’m so glad I found this post because I just recently decided to visit Ireland but haven’t done any of the planning for it yet. I will definitely be making sure I visit every single one of these!

      • We can’t blame you – we’re a little obsessed with them, too! (Obvi!) Glad you’ve decided to visit Ireland. We absolutely love the country, and think everyone should visit at least once. That said, we acknowledge that it’s not for everyone. But, if you like castles, you’ll love it. 🙂 We’ll have more posts on Ireland coming up. Hopefully, that will help in your planning. We’d love to hear what else you’d like to know about Ireland – feel free to ask us, or leave suggestions for upcoming posts. Thanks for your commend, Kiyoko!

      • Perfect! We’ll have some more for you between now and then. We bet you’re going to love Ireland as much as we do! Thanks for your comment, and feel free to reach out if you have questions.

      • Can’t go wrong with that combination! Sadly, we did not find beer at any of the castles. Of course, being Ireland, there was generally a pub nearby. (Thank the Lord, as they’d say.) Thanks for your comment – we’re really glad you enjoyed the post!

    6. I’ve really enjoyed following along your Ireland trip on Instagram and this post was a great read! Tales of King John and Richard the Lionheart always remind me of Robin Hood, haha. (I must admit I need to brush up on my Irish history…) It’s really incredible to see these ancient castles still standing today and I especially love Bunratty Castle and Folk Park – it looks like such fun!

      • We are soooo behind on posting Instagrams from Ireland! Glad you like them, because there’s more to come. We thought about Robin Hood, too, and figured out maybe that’s why John never visited the castle. But it’s cool to have seen a piece of history directly related. Being able to walk among these buildings that have seen so much history…truly an experience. Thanks for reading, Michelle!

      • Hey Scarlett – We thought of you in a few places around Ireland where every shop had a bowl of water out for the pups. And you would LOVE Malahide Castle. See, one of the Talbot’s symbols was a Hound (the other, a Lion), so there are statues and pictures of hounds everywhere. And most of the park and gardens are open to pups…and their people! (They’re nice that way.) In fact, the day we visited must have been Bulldog Day – dozens of the adorable mugs everywhere! 🙂 Hope y’all make it there. You will love it! Thanks for your comment.

    7. Love this post! We visited Ireland last year, and were able to get to both Malahide Castle and King John’s Castle as well as the Blarney Castle, Dunluce Castle, and Ross Castle! I do love a good castle! #theweeklypostcard

      • Isn’t Malahide wonderful? You visited some great ones, too! There’s just too many to mention. This post could have been 101 Castles, and still there’s more. We’ve decided our dream job involves moving to Ireland and attempting to document a castle a day. If that website’s right, it would take us…well, a long time. 😉 Thanks for your comment, Hilary. We’re really glad you enjoyed it!

      • That is a lot. They’re kind of obsessive about it! 😉 Or maybe we’re the ones who were obsessing. Pulling over to take another castle picture… We loved them all! Thanks for your comment, Kelly! Much appreciated.

      • Apparently, we do too! Coming from America, we don’t have that rich history of 800 year old buildings (or castles in general), so we’re captivated by it. Ireland is heaven in that sense, but then there’s the temptation of stopping at every castle and ruin…which makes a two hour drive take about four days! (Possibly a slight exaggeration.) What’s really great is that there is so much documentation and living history to go along with the castles. It really brings them to life. Thanks for your comment, Sally!

    8. What? More than 30,000 castles?! I have never been in Ireland, but I should go there as I hear and more and more about it. Your list of castles is great. Pinned for later.#TheWeeklyPostcard

      • Right? We did see a lot of them, but 30,000? Granted, that includes the ruins, and there are tons of them. It is a great country to explore – lots of history, and jaw-dropping scenery around every bend. Hope you guys make it there! Thanks for your comment, Tomas!

    9. What a great guide for the Dublin castles! It’s good to know that these 5 are accessible on a day trip from Dublin. We wanted to go to Ireland this fall, but our plans change. When do you think is the best time to go there?

      • Oh, that’s too bad that your plans changed – Although I’m sure you still had a great trip. We’d say it’s always a good time to go to Ireland! 😉 The best is probably spring or fall, when it’s not quite as crowded and the weather is (mostly) good. Thanks for the kind words, Anda. Hope you make it to Ireland soon – you’ll love it!

      • Lucky you! The Tiger Fringe Festival (a big arts festival) happens in Dublin in September. We missed it this year, but heard all about it. (Because there’s more to life than castles. Or so we’re told. 😉 Hope you have a fantastic trip…even though that seems like a long wait! Thanks for your comment, Sarah.

    10. Absolutely love castles and am ashamed to say I still haven’t made it over to Ireland yet but definitely on my list. Amazing how much there is to see around Dublin! Thanks for sharing

      • Lexx! Shame…you’re so close! You’d love the hiking, especially around the Wicklow Mountains and/or Killarney National Park. Absolutely beautiful. (Note to selves: We need to share more of those photos!) The great thing is that you can motor/take the train across the country for a day trip. Dublin and Limerick are on opposite sides, but just a few hours apart. And then there’s the fun of Dublin! We’ll be awaiting a full report. 😉 Thanks for reading, Lexx!

      • The good news is, you can fix that…and add to it! I’m sure you have no shortage of castles in your photo albums, but it’s always good to have more, right? 🙂 Thanks for your comment, Lolo!

    11. Now these look like proper castles… I know I’ll prob get lynched for saying but I don’t rate our Edinburgh one…the smaller Scottish ones are more quaint and more worth visiting. Much like these in and around Dublin. I’d certainly plan to visit one when on an excursion from a ship – hope to cruise to or maybe embark from Dublin next year as Celebrity Eclipse is going to be based in Dublin for a wee bit.

      • Castles AND a cruise! That’s the way to do it! We are looking forward to exploring some Scottish castles, and even Edinburgh! We figure it’s a must. 😉 Thanks for your comment, Sanna!

    12. 30,000 castles?! That is what I call a castle lover’s paradise. My daughter would be in heaven. The first thing she asks whenever I tell her we’re going on a trip is whether there are castles where we’re going. I guess we’ll have to take a trip to Ireland. (Although, it’s already hopefully in the works, anyway ;))

      • A castle lover’s paradise to be sure – Your daughter is sure to be delighted! Of course, a lot of those are castle ruins now, but even they are beautiful. Glad to hear Ireland is in the works for you – we’re sure you will fall in love with it! (We sure have.) Thanks for commenting, Alllison!

    13. Really useful post, Ireland is full of castles and these look great choices. Love the photo of King Johns Castle absolutely stunning! #TheWeeklyPostcard

      • Thanks guys! King John’s is funny – gorgeous from the water, but a bit plain inside unless you like archaeology. The Viking excavation is amazing. We were just thinking that it’s kind of ironic – the castle was built to be an imposing, threatening presence on the river, and today’s it’s seen as beautiful and inviting. What a difference a few hundred years makes… 😉 Thanks for your comment!

      • You’ll love it! And we really just scratched the surface with these five. Lots more, from simple to WOW! We hope you get to see some of them soon. Meanwhile, thanks for reading about them here!

    14. I love Ireland and I love castles, but for various reasons I have not seen many of the castles there. I loved the Dublin Castle, I am going to pin your post for my next trip so that I can check off a few more. #TheWeeklyPostcard

      • Dublin Castle is really neat, and they’re adding a new museum section – a reason to return! We really liked Malahide Castle, too. More of the Irish history there, and just it’s in fantastic condition with a lot of original furnishings. They way it’s arranged, you get more of “a day in the life” out of Malahide than the other castles we saw. We’ll have a more in-depth look at both later. Thanks for reading, Anisa!

    15. So, Ireland would be a paradise for me since I love castles. I do not think I would be able to hit 30,000 but would be happy to visit the five mentioned in here. The King’s John Castle took my breath away. Castles seem to be more stunning when water is around. Ready to read more about Ireland (hope yo have way more content). #WeekendWanderlust

      • Ruth, we were completely unprepared for what a paradise Ireland is! Sooo many castles, and so much history and culture, too. Just fantastic. You bet we’ll have more from Ireland! Only, it’s going to take a while to get it all out. Like I said – we were in paradise! Thanks for your comment, Ruth!

    16. I love castles and I’ve been dying to visit Ireland! Thank you so much for compiling this info castles. I laughed when you said Kilkenny Castle is the original “Medieval Times”. So funny!

      • Hi Amanda – Not just Kilkenny Castle, but the whole city! Definitely proud of their heritage and history. I guess Bunratty Castle is more like Medieval Times with the whole Medieval Banquette thing. Glad you liked the post – hope you get to go find the castle of your dreams in Ireland soon!

    17. I got to visit Dublin during a high school trip in 2014 where we also visited Bunratty Castle and I absolutely looooved it! I’ve never heard of the other castles you suggested but I know I definitely have to go back to Ireland asap and visit them all, they just look soooo beautiful!!! #WeekendWanderlust

      • Bunratty was so fun! We were surprised to see as many locals as tourists there, and made some great new friends. 🙂 Hopefully, you can get back to Ireland soon and discover more cool castles! Thanks for your comment, Lisa!

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