10 Must-See Castles in Dublin

10 Must-See Castles in Dublin

Want to take a break from museums or just wish to escape the bad weather? Visiting Dublin’s castles is one of the best things to do around town.

Most people know Dublin, and the whole of Ireland, for the local nightlife and passion for drinking. But both the country and the city are equally impressive for the amazing castles and preservation of historic landmarks.

Dublin County has many castles in and around, some of which are also free to tour. Whether you’re looking for medieval ruins or fully restored buildings, there’s a bit of everything to see in Dublin.

1. Dublin Castle

Dublin Dublin Castle

Unless there’s a contrarian bend, any list of must-see castles in Dublin would start with Dublin Castle. It’s easily the city’s most iconic castle and one of the most impressive.

Initially a defensive fortification, it also held the seat for the British Government until the early 1920s. Although open for visitation throughout the year, the castle also hosts state visits, banquets, and other events.

2. Malahide Castle

Dublin Malahide Castle

One of the top things to do in Dublin is to visit Malahide Castle. It’s a bit outside the city and sits on 250 acres of land. The 800-year-old castle combines various architectural styles and has a unique place among Ireland’s castles and fortresses.

Malahide Castle served as both a private home and a fortress that features impressive interior decorations, art collections, and period furniture. You might want to make sure to also check out the Talbot Botanic Gardens before leaving.

3. Swords Castle

Dublin Swords Castle

Another iconic Dublin castle is the Swords Castle. And if it looks familiar, you may have caught glimpses of it on the hit TV show The Tudors. 

The castle is mostly in a state of ruin now, but various restoration projects are in the works. Still, it has its place cemented in history due to the fact that Swords Castle bore witness to numerous battles.

4. Drimnagh Castle

Dublin Drimnagh Castle

This castle has one thing that no others in all of Ireland have – a floating moat. Its unique feature makes it one of the must-see castles in Dublin. 

Although it doesn’t offer much in terms of art collections or other features, it’s a gorgeous building with a completely restored Great Hall. The massive fireplace and medieval vibe are the main reasons it’s such a popular choice for weddings.

5. Howth Castle

Dublin Howth Castle

Howth Castle isn’t among the oldest castles in Ireland. However, it’s a shining example of great preservation as well as innovation. The castle’s keep and gate tower are from the 15th century, while the castle itself is centuries older. 

Interestingly, Howth Castle occupies a special place in all of Europe, not for its historical significance but for being one of the oldest private homes. 

6. Rathfarnham Castle

Dublin Rathfarnham Castle

Yet another one of the must-see castles in Dublin is Rathfarnham Castle. It’s one of Ireland’s youngest and most modern castles.

Its construction only goes back to the 16th century. Yet, even for that period, the style seemed very modern and influenced by continental defensive architecture. 

It went through various restorations in the 18th and 20th centuries. Today, Rathfarnham Castle houses the city’s Office of Public Works.

7. Puck’s Castle

Dublin Puck’s Castle

Puck’s castle is one of the more unique castles in Dublin. There’s not much history known about it, which only gives it an air of mystery. Some even say it’s a haunted castle, perhaps to attract even more tourists each year.

What is clear about the castle is that it’s a late 16th century vintage. While most must-see castles in Dublin charge admission fees, Puck’s Castle doesn’t.

It’s an abandoned ruin that you can visit whenever you want. 

8. Ardgillan Castle

Dublin Ardgillan Castle

Often regarded as a hidden gem of Ireland, Ardgillan Castle is an awe-inspiring sight. It sits on a 194-acre parkland and features 18th-century architecture. 

That said, it also has more country-style exterior embellishments that create a unique appeal. It’s one of the top family-friendly Dublin attractions, in part because of its massive park.

It’s worth noting that thrill-seekers visit it to learn about the supposed spirit that haunts the castle grounds – the Writing Lady.

9. Bullock Castle

Dublin Bullock Castle

Bullock Castle is one of the smallest you can visit while vacationing in Dublin. Constructed by monks in the 13th century, its initial purpose was to act as a defensive fortification for the harbor.

After the dissolution of monasteries in the country, everything in the village, including the castle, found new owners in various families.

When you visit, you can see the storage room, take the spiral staircase, and check out some of its other rooms. The castle’s roof is arguably one of the most impressive features and an engineering feat of its own when it was constructed.

Note that there’s no admission fee for Bullock Castle.

10. Trim Castle

Dublin Trim Castle

Just a short bus drive away from Dublin, you’ll find Trim Castle. Its ruins will forever remain immortalized since it served as the set of Braveheart.

Along with its cinematic fame, Trim Castle also has an impressive history. At one point in time, it was Ireland’s biggest fortified house.

King Henry II commissioned its construction circa 1176. And like many other similar structures in the area, Hugh de Lacy oversaw the process. In its heyday, Trim Castle boasted a 20-sided tower. The defensive structure took three decades to build.

The official tour of the ruins is only available on weekends. However, you can walk freely on the grounds during weekdays.

Explore the Local History

Some of Dublin’s castles are of significant historical importance. Others may not be of the same level of significance as the others, but they still have their own fascinating tales to tell their visitors.

Don’t be afraid to take a couple of tours and marvel at Dublin’s fortified homes, ruins, or fully-fledged castles. Each one is unique in its own way and may show you something you won’t see anywhere else. 

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10 Must-See Castles in Dublin