Ross Castle: A Historical Castle In The Middle Of Ring Of Kerry

Ross Castle is a must-see castle if you’re doing the Ring of Kerry tour. Most travelers suggest a visit to this historic structure in the late afternoon, as the castle’s location is great for viewing the sunset.

Ross Castle: A Historical Castle In The Middle Of Ring Of Kerry

Ross Castle KILLARNEY

Where is Ross Castle located?

It is situated on the shores of Lough Leane, which is the lower lake in the massive Killarney National Park. 

History of Ross Castle

The castle and the area surrounding it is steeped in legend and a long history. It was built by a local ruling clan O’Donoghue Mór in the 15th century.

During the Second Desmond Rebellion of the 1580s, ownership of the castle was turned over to the MacCarthy Mór.

MacCarthy then had the castle leased to Sir Valentine Browne, who was the ancestor of the Earls of Kenmare

ross castle

During the Irish Confederate War, Ross Castle was known to be one of the last to surrender to Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads.

The castle was only conquered when the troops brought in weapons by boat via the Laune River.

Lord McCarthy stayed strong and held the castle against 4,000 soldiers and 200 horses, led by Edward Ludlow. It was by water, however, that Ludlow was able to seize the stronghold. 

Prior to the war, there was an Irish prophecy that goes: Ross may all assault disdain.

ross castle

Till on Lough Lein strange ship shall sail. This means that the castle could never be conquered until a warship could swim in the lake. It was quite impossible then, but that’s how Ross Castle yielded.

The ships used them were constructed in Kinsale, and was dragged by oxen to the castle. It was said that seeing the ship rattled the onlookers and Ross Castle eventually surrendered. 

During the end of the wars, the Brownes who used to lease the castle retained the land. They did not return to living in the castle though but instead built a mansion nearby.

However, since they were identified and remained loyal to James II, they were exiled. Ross Castle then became a military barracks and stayed that way until the 19th century. 

ross castle

There is a legend that O’Donoghue, who built the castle, actually still exists. It is said that he either jumped or was sucked out from the window at the top of the castle. He disappeared into the nearby lake along with his horse, his table and his library.

He supposedly still lives in a palace at the bottom of Lough Leane. They say that every seven years during May, he rises from the waters in his stunning white horse and circles the lake.

It is believed that those who catch a glimpse of him will be granted good fortune for the rest of his life. 

ross castle

Today, Ross Castle is now under the Office of Public Works and open to the public for visits. The Castle and its surrounding areas get a high volume of visitors every year.

The castle is among the recommended stops in the breathtaking Ring of Kerry tour, and one of the top Killarney attractions.

Much of the original Ross Castle can still be seen today, as well as some 16th and 17th oak furniture. The tour features friendly and knowledgeable guides who portray characters in the castle’s history. 

Being situated within Killarney National Park, Ross Castle is also a part of some of its walking and cycling routes.

It is a favorite stop among those exploring the park, a starting point for hikes, and a choice spot for viewing the sunset. 

Visitors Information For Ross Castle

Opening Hours:

9.30 am to 5:45 pm

Admission Fee

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

Contact Information

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

Email:  rosscastle@opw.ie

Phone: +353 64 663 5851

Ross Castle Tours

If you are looking for a tour of the castle, here are our recommended Ross Castle tours for you. 

 

11 Things To Do In Glengarriff, Ireland

Glengarriff is located on the breathtaking Bantry Bay, where the mountains meet the sea. It links the towns of Bantry and Kenmare and known for its scenic areas.

Since the 1700s, Glengarriff has been known as a holiday destination, attracting royalty and literary figures. It remains to be a must-visit in Ireland to make your visit memorable, here are some of the things to do in Glengarriff, Ireland. 

11 Things To Do In Glengarriff, Ireland

 1. Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve 

Glengarriff wood nature reserve

The Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve is the quintessential must visit that truly defines what this area is all about. The woods are nestled in the sheltered glen that spreads out into Glengarriff Harbour.

Above the woods, you’ll find the rocky Caha Mountains. The massive  Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve has trails suited for different fitness levels.

You can tackle the easier trail along the river walk or conquer the steep, but worthwhile climb up to Lady Bantry’s Lookout. 

2. The Ewe

The Ewe is the only ‘Interactive Natural History Museum-on-a-Mountain­’ in Ireland. It is quirky and fascinating, definitely one of the best places to see in Glengarriff.

It is a must-visit for nature lovers and a great place for relaxation. It is set along a stunning waterfall and can be reached by an hour-long scenic hike

3. The Beara Way

Beara Way

If you’re up for some hiking, cycling and stunning views, one of the best things to do in Glengarriff us to conquer the Beara Way.

The Beara Way follows the two-week march taken by Donal O’Sullivan Beare and a thousand supporters in 1603. It is the longest in Ireland and spans almost the length of the country.

The hike or cycle will take you to some of the most stunning and least explored areas.

You’ll also encounter some heritage sites such as castle ruins and monastic settlements. It’s quite an experience and a must when in Glengarriff. 

4. Molly Gallivan’s cottage and traditional farm

Molly Gallivan’s cottage

Want a taste of the old Ireland?  By old, we mean traditional, a glimpse at life before there were electricity and modern conveniences.

A visit to Molly Gallivan’s cottage and the traditional farm is one of the best activities to do in Glengarriff.

A visit takes you back in time to experience a simple country lifestyle. The cottage is over 200 years old.

The farm is complete with animals and traditional farm machinery. The old Tea Shop here serves food that’s cooked and baked in the traditional fashion, using fresh ingredients.

The cottage also holds Traditional Irish Nights with food, music, and storytelling.  

5. Bantry House and Garden

Bantry House and Gardens

Although not exactly part of Glengarriff, the historic Bantry House, and Garden is just less than 20 minutes away from the town center.

Located by the Bantry Bay, the estate has been around for several centuries. It is still inhabited but the house, garden, and tearoom are open to the public daily.

It is one of the top attractions near Glengarriff, where you can see some period furniture and objects d’art.

The garden is a must-visit as well, laid in several terraces. There’s also a fountain, a huge wisteria circle and a hundred steps that lead to the woodlands. 

6. Glengarriff Bamboo Park

One of the most enchanting places to visit in Glengarriff is Bamboo Park. This is a huge exotic garden that’s filled not just with bamboo but with a variety of plants as well.

There are palm trees, ferns, and flowers along with little pathways and seating areas. The place also offers fantastic sea views.

The park has a coffee shop that serves delicious homemade cakes that every visitor must try. 

7. Garnish Island 

Garinish Island

Situated in the sheltered harbor in Bantry Bay, Garnish Island is one of the most popular places to visit in Glengarriff.

This place is known all over the world for its stunning gardens that are spread in picturesque walks. It has a pretty diverse plant species, including rare ones.

A lot of the plants in the gardens of Garnish Island can’t be found anywhere in Ireland.

On the way to the island, lookout for a variety of marine life including dolphins, seals, and whales. Most of them inhabit the waters close to Garnish Island. 

8. Blue Pool

blue pool glengarriff

The Blue Pool has to be one of the most popular places to see in Glengarriff. One word best describes this area: magical.

This picture-perfect tidal harbor is located in a rock basin in the woods.  It is basically where the river meets the sea.

The Blue Pool is also surrounded by lush vegetation, and it looks like pixies would appear anytime. The area also has a number of scenic walking trails through the woods that are worth exploring. 

If you’re going to Garnish Island, the ferry runs from the Blue Pool so you get to enjoy this stunning sight on the way. 

9. Glengarriff Golf Club

If you’re up for a bit of golf, then this is one of the best places to visit in Glengarriff.

The nine holes in Glengarriff Golf Club has to be one of the prettiest places in Ireland. It has a lovely clubhouse that offers great views over the golf course, and also perfect for relaxing.

This area is one of those places in Glengarriff where one can enjoy nature and have fun at the same time. 

10. Glengarriff Harbour

glengarriff harbour

Glengarriff Harbour has to be one of the most beautiful places in the area. Located on the sheltered Bantry Bay, it is surrounded by rugged mountains and oak forests.

This is regarded as one of the oldest tourist destinations in Ireland, and among the top Glengarriff attractions. It has a number of facilities aimed at making each visit comfortable for the tourists.

This is an ideal place to simply enjoy the views and take in the sights of the surrounding areas. 

11. MacCarthy’s Bar

A great way to end any day in Glengarriff has to be a visit to a traditional Irish pub.

Head towards MacCarthy’s, at the Glengarriff Park Hotel, right in the heart of Glengarriff Village. It has a great selection of drinks and a variety of hearty pub grub that’s served all day.

This is one of the best places to visit in Glengarriff if you simply want to hang out and relax with a pint or a platter of good food.

On weekends, MacCarthy’s has some live music performances that are a hit among locals and visitors alike.

Ha’penny Bridge: The Historical Bridge Of Dublin

Dublin’s Ha’penny Bridge is a pedestrian path that crosses the Liffey River. Pronounced as ‘hey-penny’, it is among the most recognizable sights in Dublin. It is officially called the Liffey Bridge and was the only pedestrian bridge in the city for nearly two centuries until Millennial Bridge opened in 1999. 

Ha’penny Bridge: The Historical Bridge Of Dublin

ha penny bridge
Via Flickr by Crash Test Mike | Creative Commons 2.0

Ha’penny is a perfect arch that’s 141 feet or 43 meters and made of cast iron. It is one of the earliest bridges of its kind, with iron limbs, decorative arches, and pretty lampposts. It is now a favorite spot for photos among Dublin locals and tourists alike.

Ha’penny Bridge is also adjacent to Dublin’s most popular spots, open and free every day. It has become such an integral part of Dublin’s life that one cannot imagine that there wasn’t even a bridge over River Liffey centuries ago. 

History of Ha’penny Bridge

Before the construction of a bridge over River Liffey, people who wanted to cross the river had to ride passenger ferries. This is a daily occurrence that was rather inconvenient that city officials talked to the owner of the ferries William Walsh. It was a  choice between paying for substantial repairs on his ferries or having a bridge built across the river.

Walsh opted for the bridge, as long as he is entitled to a toll fee of a halfpenny (ha’penny) for the next one hundred years. There were turnstiles at either end of the bridge to ensure people will pay the ha’penny before crossing.

It was only removed in 1919, and the name had stuck. The bridge may have been free of charge for a century now, but it’ll always be known as Ha’penny. 

Ha'Penny Bridge

Aside from the colloquial Ha’penny and the official name Liffey Bridge, this structure was also called Wellington Bridge. It was named after the Dublin-born Duke of Wellington. That name didn’t last when the independent Irish Free State was established in 1922.

Since then, many other Dublin landmarks named after members of the Protestant Ascendancy have been changed. 

Today, the bridge is among the busiest in Dublin, with 30,000 pedestrians crossing it every day.

In 2001, the bridge underwent renovation using 85% of its original rail work. For a time, the Ha’penny Bridge was known for the ‘love locks’ attached to its white railings.

These love locks are padlocks with lovers’ names on them, just like in the Pont des Arts in Paris. There were numerous attempts to discourage couples from attaching love locks to the Ha’penny.

Liffey Bridge

The ban was finally enacted in 2013 after 300 kilograms of love locks were removed from the bridge. This move was to protect this popular Dublin structure and to not compromise the safety of pedestrians who use the bridge. 

Being located in the heart of the city, the Ha’penny Bridge is one of the busiest places in Dublin. The bridge links two popular areas of the city — the O’Connell Street and Temple Bar.

O’Connell Street is a vibrant stretch lined with pubs and shops. This is where The Spire is located. It is a 390 feet tall monument in the shape of a needle, made of stainless steel.

Temple Bar is the ultimate party capital of Dublin, with bars, pubs and great live music.

From the Temple Bar area, attractions like the City Hall and the Dublin Castle are within easy walking distance. 

St. Stephen’s Green Park: The Idyllic Park In The Heart Of Dublin

St. Stephen’s Green Park is without a doubt a favorite among most Dubliners and visitors to the city alike. This idyllic park is located right in the heart of Dublin and is close to most of its top attractions.

St. Stephen’s Green Park: The Idyllic Park In The Heart Of Dublin 

stephen's green parks in dublin

The Green is the ideal hideaway when you want to take a break from exploring the Irish capital. St. Stephen’s Green Park itself has plenty of interesting sights within its premises such as various historic monuments, lovely gardens, and even a duck pond. It is one of the best parks and gardens in Dublin

Still, this green space is a great place to relax, enjoy a leisurely stroll or even know more about Dublin’s history.

Aside from the monuments, St. Stephen’s Green in itself has a fascinating story to tell. 

St. Stephen’s Green Park History

St. Stephens Green Park

Several centuries ago, The Green, was far from the city center sanctuary that we see today. The park used to be a marshy common, which was used for the grazing of sheep and cattle.

This area was also the venue for public executions and witch burnings. 

All that changed in 1664, when the local government saw an opportunity to gain much-needed revenues. The area where St.Stephen’s Green was enclosed and the land around it was put up for sale. The tree-lined enclosure soon had buildings and residences around it, which then gave birth to St. Stephen’s Green. 

As these structures sprung up, the green space became a sort of private park for those wealthy residents who lived around it. Despite the many attempts to open the park to the public, it didn’t happen until two centuries later.

In 1887, A.E. Guinness (of the Guinness family) urged the city government to open the park to all. Guinness even paid to make improvements in the park, which was officially opened to the public in 1890.

St Stephen's Green Park

Since then, St. Stephen’s Green became a witness to recent Dublin history. It even became a battleground during 1916 Rising. Rebel forces set up camp in the park, dug up trenches and blocked off the toads. St. Stephen’s Green was used as some sort of stronghold against the British forces.

However, a ceasefire was soon called by both sides to allow groundkeepers to feed the ducks in the Lake inside the park. 

Ireland’s independence was declared a few years after. The Green, meanwhile, became one of the most visited parks in Dublin. St. Stephen’s Green got its name from a church and leprosy hospital which were found in the area during the 13th century. 

Today, the 22-acre St. Stephen’s Green is the place to be if you want to take a break from sightseeing around Dublin center or shopping along Grafton Street. Here, you may relax on a shady bench, watch the ducks on the lake or stroll through the Victorian gardens.

You may also enjoy a picnic here on sunny days.

Around the park, you’ll also see statues and memorials honoring personalities who became part of The Green and Ireland’s history as a whole.

St. Stephens Green

You’ll find the Yeats Memorial Garden that features a sculpture by Henry Moore, as well as a bust of James Joyce.

There is also a memorial dedicated to the Great Famine that happened from 1845 to 1850. The center of the park, meanwhile, has a bronze bust of Countess Markievicz wearing the Irish Citizen Army uniform. 

The German people also contributed a lovely fountain to the park. It was a gift to Ireland who sheltered five hundred children in a project called Operation Shamrock.

There are also statues of Theobald Wolfe Tone, head of the 1798 rebellion, and latter rebel leader Robert Emmet. Of course, St. Stephen’s Green has a seated statue of the man who made the park open to the public — Arthur Edward Guinness.

Aside from all these curious attractions, the park also hosts free outdoor concerts, especially during summer. 

 

Dublin Castle: The Historic Heart Of Dublin

Dublin Castle is one of the best attractions in Dublin. It is also one of the top historical places in this capital city.

Situated by the south side of the River Liffey, it is one of the easiest places to get to. You simply won’t miss Dublin Castle as it’s right in the heart of the city.  

The Dublin Palace complex in itself is a sight to behold. Added at different times during its long history, the result is an interesting mix of architectural styles.

The material used in construction also varies from plain stone to fine plasterwork.

Dublin Castle: The Historic Heart Of Dublin

Dublin Castle

History of Dublin Castle

From Medieval to Georgian, the styles you’ll find in the Dublin Castle betrays its fascinating history. 

In the early 13th century, it was the seat of English than British rule in Ireland. The castle’s main purpose was as the residence of the monarch’s representative  — the Viceroy Of Ireland. It was also an administrative and ceremonial center back then.

Originally, it was built as a fortress by King Kohn of England. It had huge towers connected by high curtain walls,  set around a central enclosure.

The castle was built in the elevated ground that used to be a Viking settlement. This castle stood strong until it was ravaged by fire in April 1684.

Most parts of the building were severely damaged but some of the Medieval and Viking structures survived. These areas can remain unharmed for centuries that visitors can still explore it up to this day. 

dublin castle tower

The old, fire-damaged castle was eventually rebuilt in the following centuries into a lovely Georgian Palace. This new building now has grand reception rooms called the State Apartments.

These new additions became the venue for a number of state functions aside from serving as the Viceroy’s house. Most of these events were held at the start of each year back then.

This season of festivities included balls, banquets and elegant ceremonies in honor of aristocrats. 

A Royal Chapel was built in the Lower Castle Yard at the start of the 19th century. This chapel was constructed in the Gothic Revival style, intricately decorated and adorned with pinnacles.

Today, this addition remains to be among the prime examples of the Georgian era in Dublin

Upon the Irish Declaration of Independence in January of 1922, the Viceroy handed over the castle to Michael Collins.

dublin castle

This also signaled the end of the British presence in Ireland after the Irish War Of Independence. These events resulted in the creation of the Republic of Ireland and are closely linked to the history of Dublin Castle.

Since then, most state functions are held in the castle. Every Irish president elected were also inaugurated in the grandest of all the State Apartments — the St. Patrick’s Hall. 

Throughout the centuries, historic figures have visited and were entertained at the Dublin Castle.

These famous people include Benjamin Franklin (1771), Daniel O’Connell (1841), Queen Victoria (1849, 1853, 1861 & 1900), Charles Dickens (1864), Princess Grace of Monaco (1961), John F. Kennedy (1963), Charles de Gaulle (1969), Nelson Mandela (1990) and Queen Elizabeth II (2011).

Today, the  Castle welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

Some of the most-visited parts of the vast complex are the Garda (police) Museum which has the still intact Medieval Tower, the Royal Chapel, and the elegant State Apartments. 

Visitor Information for Dublin Castle

Opening Hours

Daily from 9:45 AM to 5:15 PM

Admission Fee

Adult €12
Senior (60+) €10
Student (valid student ID required) €10
Child (12-17) €6
Family (max. 2 adults & 5 children) €30

Contact Information

Address: Dublin Castle, Dame St, Dublin 

Phone: +353 1 6458813

Email: dublincastle@opw.ie

Dublin Castle Tours 

If you are looking for a tour of the castle, here are our recommended Dublin Castle tours for you. 

 


 

Glasnevin Cemetery: A Unique Way To Learn The History Of Ireland

Glasnevin Cemetery is probably one of the most interesting places in Dublin. A stroll inside will have you wondering if you’re really in a place for burying the dead. Perhaps you’ve just stumbled upon a secret park? Or is it an outdoor art museum? Try all of the above.

Glasnevin Cemetery

More than a final resting place for the people if Dublin, Glasnevin has become a unique attraction. It holds the graves and memorials of several notable figures in Ireland and was opened to the public for the first time in 1832.

Despite being an unusual place to do sightseeing, this cemetery is considered as one of the top attractions in Ireland due to its rich history.

A cemetery tour in Glasnevin will take you back to the history of Ireland through the people buried there. You can learn the stories Ireland’s political and notable figures such as Eamon De Valera, Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins, Countess Marckievicz and Brendan Behan just to name a few.

Apart from the usual graves and memorials, this is a well-landscaped area with winding roads lined with a variety of trees.

Also notably scattered within the grounds are beautiful sculptures. Having one’s art displayed in Glasnevin has become quite prestigious that artists happily and willingly accepted commissions.

This resulted in Glasnevin being some sort of an outdoor gallery for artists to showcase their work. 

Tour the Tombs at Glasnevin Cemetery

Another reason that makes Glasnevin special is that it is a nondenominational graveyard. This means that people can be interred here regardless of religious affiliations.

It has always been that way since Glasnevin was established in 1832. It was the first of its kind in the country.

At present, it is the final resting place for 1.5 million people. A number of the great and notable Irish people were buried here, making Glasnevin the ‘national’ cemetery and one of the best museums in Dublin. 

The first burial in Glasnevin was on February 22 on the year it was established.

Glasnevin is pretty good at record-keeping, too, so we know that the first person to be interred here was Michael Carey. He was the 11-year-old son of Michael and Bridget Carey.

Glasnevin since then has maintained a register of every single burial. This makes Glasnevin an ideal place for genealogy research.

Glasnevin’s records were actually three decades ahead of Dublin’s civil registration of deaths. 

This is all thanks to Daniel O’Connel, who established Glasnevin. His remains were buried within the cemetery grounds, beneath a tower that’s said to be the tallest in Dublin

Glasnevin Cemetery

Back in the 1800s, the Roman Catholics in Ireland were not allowed to bury their dead according to their religious practices. They were not even allowed to have their own burial ground. Daniel O’Connell persistently campaigned to have a cemetery that does not discriminate.

The establishment of Glasnevin was eventually approved and that was one huge step forward. It was the first-ever graveyard in Ireland where both Catholics and Protestants were given a dignified and proper burial. 

Each burial in Glasnevin was well recorded, too. Each record has the full name, address, cause of death, date, and location of death, as well as the name and address of the informant. The exact location of the grave are also indicated in the records.

However, even if the site can be accurately located, it does not guarantee that there is a headstone. A great number of those buried in Glasnevin are in unmarked graves.

Glasnevin Cemetery

These days, Glasnevin records can also be accessed online as well as the other four cemeteries managed by the Glasnevin Trust. 

Occupying 128 acres of land, Glasnevin is now also a top tourist spot in Dublin. A stroll through the area will easily tell anyone that it is a garden cemetery.

Over the years, as said earlier, Glasnevin has also become some sort of an outdoor gallery for artists. Aside from the park-like atmosphere and art, Glasnevin visitors go here to actually see the cemetery itself.

Some interesting places to see are the fancy graves of the rich, with intricate headstones and memorials. There are also special areas for the victims of many epidemics or outbreaks.

Glasnevin also has specific burial grounds for certain groups of people. Examples of these groups are those from the College of Surgeons or members if the Jesuit order of Dominican Friars.

What most consider as the most famous part of Glasnevin though is the Republican plot. This is where many of those killed or executed during the fight for independence were interred.

 

Belfast Castle: The Iconic Symbol of Belfast City

One of the most famous landmarks in Northern Ireland is the 19th century Scottish Baronial style Belfast Castle. It is situated 120  meters above sea level on the slopes of Cave Hill. This position makes Belfast Castle one of the best places to visit in Belfast. Gorgeous and storybook-like, Belfast Castle has a wealth of history that spans 800 years.

Belfast Castle: The Iconic Symbol of Belfast City

Belfast Castle, Northern Ireland

History of Belfast Castle

Before this stunning mansion came to be, other castles came before it that were burned or destroyed.

It was the Normans who constructed the first Belfast Castle building in the late 12th century. That castle was erected in the city center. In 1611,  a second castle was built by Sir Arthur Chichester, Baron of Belfast on this same site.

A century later, this castle was burned down. The only thing left on its place were street names such as Castle Place. This served as the location marker. 

Another hundred years passed before another Belfast Castle was built. A descendant of the Chichester Family, the third Marquis of Donegall decided to build a new castle in 1862. This time, it was in the deer park on the side of Cave Hill. This area is now known as north Belfast. 

Belfast castle

The design for the new castle was by architect John Lanyon. The style was the timeless Scottish Baronial.  The construction took nearly a decade, and it was quite expensive.

The Marquis received help from his son-in-law, Lord Ashley to ensure that the castle will be completed. This new Belfast Castle building was eventually finished in 1870.

In 1884 after the third Marquis of Donegall died in, the castle and its estate were relinquished to Lord Ashley, the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury.

In the coming ages, Lord Ashley and his wife, Harriet Augusta, along with their ancestors were honored by having streets named after them. The names of those who were part of the history of the castle now appear in the building’s wedding rooms. 

Close to the castle’s front door and the north wall, are the Donegall coat of arms. The exterior staircase, meanwhile, has a section of the Shaftesbury crest. This area is now a popular spot for wedding photos. These features were added in 1094 by the ninth Earl of Shaftesbury as a gift to his mother. 

The Shaftesbury family was known to be very generous and has donated to Belfast as well as supported many charities. They were well-loved that the ninth Earl even became Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1907.

In 1908, he became the chancellor of Queen’s University. In 1934, the family gave the castle and its estate to the city of Belfast. 

The castle became a popular venue for afternoon teas, dances and wedding receptions in the succeeding years. The castle then had to close down in 1978 for a major refurbishing work. This was ordered by the Belfast City Council. The project was supervised by Hewitt and Haslam Partnership architects. 

Belfast Castle

On November 11, 1988, the refurbished Belfast Castle was reopened to the public. It is now managed by the council. Belfast Castle is open free of charge to visitors.

The castle now sits in its own landscaped gardens, which includes the Cat Garden. This garden was inspired by a belief that as long as the castle keeps a resident white cat, it will always enjoy good fortune. The Belfast Castle’s Cat Garden has various depictions of the cat scattered in sculptures, garden furniture and even in paving. 

Inside the castle in the Shaftesbury Room, is the original oak paneling and fireplace. There’s also the Donegall Room as well as the elegant Chichester Room with its panoramic views that spans the full length of the building. Other rooms in the castle also enjoy views of the city and can be booked for events.

The cellar, meanwhile, has a Victorian vibe to it. This area is where the Cellar Restaurant,  The Castle Tavern, and Visitor Center are located.

Visitors Information for Belfast Castle

Operation Hours

Tuesday – Saturday: 09:00 – 22.30

Sunday – Monday 09:00 – 18:00, private tours on request.

Visitors must check with reception.

Admission Fees

Free Admission

Contact Information

Address: Antrim Rd, Belfast BT15 5GR, United Kingdom

Phone Number: +44 28 9077 6925

Email Address: LargeyM@BelfastCity.gov.uk

Belfast Castle Tours

If you are looking for a tour of the castle, here is our recommended Belfast Castle tour for you. 


 

Titanic Belfast: The World’s Largest Titanic Visitor Experience

When in the Northern Ireland capital, Titanic Belfast is a definite must-visit. More than a tourist attraction, it is an experience. Located right in the heart of Belfast, this six-story building is right next to the site where the world-famous ship was constructed. Currently, it is one of the best things to do in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Titanic Belfast: The World’s Largest Titanic Visitor Experience

Titanic Belfast

History of the Titanic Belfast

A visit to the Titanic Belfast Museum is a one-of-a-kind cultural experience. The first four floors take you through nine interactive galleries. These galleries feature exhibitions about the  Titanic from some design drawings to its first and only voyage.

There’s also an impressive collection of original artifacts. These are carefully considered and guaranteed authentic. The curators at Titanic Belfast also made sure that these items add to the narrative of Belfast’s maritime and industrial heritage, as well as that of the RMS Titanic. 

Titanic Belfast is known all over not just for its associations with the legendary Titanic. It is also recognized for the great work that went into ensuring that visitors enjoy the experience. Just how much work, and how long did it take to put up this excellent Belfast attraction? 

Titanic Belfast

It all started with the location. The site where the museum stands now used to be part of the Belfast water. This area was used for a variety of purposes, including shipbuilding.

This was where Harland and Wolff constructed graving docks and slipways for building Titanic and Olympic ships.

Sadly, shipbuilding businesses eventually declined. As a result of disuse and disrepair, and most of the derelict buildings were destroyed. This abandoned area was named the Titanic quarter or TQ in  2001. Soon after, plans to refurbish the area started floating around.

The TQ was to be converted into a vibrant, interesting place that has with a Science park, hotels, houses, a museum, and other entertainment facilities. 

In 2008, plans for the ‘Titanic Signature Project’ was completed. Funding would come from various organizations such as Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Belfast Council.

More support came in as the construction of the Titanic Belfast museum progressed. The  Titanic Belfast was eventually finished then opened to the public in March 2012.

Titanic Belfast

The Titanic Belfast has an area of 14,000 square meters. This already covers the interactive galleries and underwater exploration theater. There are also cabins like those in the actual Titanic as well as deluxe suites. Titanic Belfast was designed and intended to tell a story. This story does not solely pertain to the infamous ship but also the era gone by.

That particular era was when the economy boomed and shipbuilding was still a major industry. Titanic Belfast was even of the same height as the infamous ship! 

Inside the attraction, the galleries and exhibitions feature everything you’d ever want to know about the ship. It starts from the sketches, its conception in Belfast during the early 20th century.

It continues through the construction and launch, to the much-celebrated maiden voyage up to the tragic end.

titanic belfast

Most of us may know the story already but in Titanic Belfast, it is told in a way that’s just a tad cheeky, fresh and insightful. 

There are some special tours you can join in Titanic Belfast especially if you’re working around a strict schedule while in the city. The first is the Discovery Tour, which lasts for an hour and done inside and outside the building.

This tour is basically like tracing the steps of those who designed and constructed RMS Titanic. The other tour is the Afternoon Tea, where you can enjoy Sunday tea in a luxurious Titanic suite.

There’s also a replica of the staircase and jazz musicians playing while you sip your tea. 

Visitors Information for Titanic Belfast

Operation Hours 

January – March10am – 5pm
April – May 9am – 6pm
June8.30am – 7pm
July – August (Sun-Thurs)8.30am – 7pm
July – August (Fri-Sat)8.30am – 8pm
September8.30am – 6pm
October (Mon – Fri)10am – 5pm
October (Sat – Sun)9am – 6pm
November – December 10am – 5pm

Admission Fees 

Adult£19.00

Child (5-16)* £8.50 Child (under 5)Free

Family Pack (2 adults, 2 children) £46.50

Essential Carer Free

Student/Unemployed  [Mon-Fri Only]£15.50

Senior (60+) [Mon-Fri Only]£15.50

Contact Information

Address: 1 Olympic Way, Queen’s Road, Belfast BT3 9EP, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)28 9076 6399 / +44 (0)28 9076 6386

Email: welcome@titanicbelfast.com

Titanic Belfast Museum Tours

If you are looking for tours to the museum, here are some of our recommended Titanic Belfast tours for you. 

 

 

Cahir Castle – History And All The Things You Need To Know

Built on a rocky island on the River Suir, Cahir Castle is one of Ireland’s brilliantly preserved castles.  Located in County Tipperary in the south of Ireland, Cahir Castle has a fascinating 800-year old history. It’s the location on a rocky island surrounded by a river also makes it one of the prettiest castles in Ireland

Cahir Castle – History And All The Things You Need To Know

Cahir Castle Tipperary

This well-preserved castle has managed to retain most of its parts in great condition. When you visit, you’d be looking at a tower, keep and defensive walls that witnessed its long history.

The palace complex meanwhile is made up of courts. One is the inner court set to the north.  The other is the keep to the south which used to be a gatehouse. 

Outside of the castle, the rocky islet where the castle was built had a great part in its long history. It was considered a good natural vantage point during the early times.

According to the ancient Book of Lecan, a fort was destroyed on this site in the 3rd century.  There’s also evidence that Brian Boru (926 to 1014) had a house here.

Cahir Castle

The Cahir Castle that we know today was from the 13th century, with additions made two centuries after. When it was built then, Cahir Castle was the largest and the most impressive during its time. It boasted of spacious courtyards, large halls, a  massive keep, and high defensive walls. 

The construction of Cahir Castle was started in the 13th century by the Worcester or de Bermingham families. It was continued when the castle was granted to the Anglo-Norman Butler in 1375.

During the Elizabethan War, the Butlers of Cahir sided with the Irish.

In 1959, however, Elizabeth 1 sent the Earl of Essex and captured the castle after a 3-day siege. That was the first time that the walls were successfully breached by the English artillery. 

Almost a century later, the castle was surrendered by George Mathews, to the parliamentary commander Lord Inchiquin. The conflict eventually ended officially two years later with the signing of the articles in Cahir Castle.

Cahir Castle

 

The Cahir Castle that we see now was largely the result of extensive restorative work in the 19th century.

Today, it remains to be an atmospheric and imposing structure that’s worth a visit. In 1975, the castle even served as a setting for the Stanley Kubrik classic ‘Barry Lyndon’ 

Currently, Cahir Castle is under the supervision of the Office of Public Works. Visitors to the castle get to enjoy a guided tour or a creative AVP called ‘Partly Hidden, Partly Revealed’.  A tour around the castle is definitely a must, especially if you’re into medieval history.

Cahir Castle has managed to retain most of its features. This is why the castle remains to be among the most visited in Ireland. After your castle tour, feel free to explore the nearby sites, which are just as interesting. 

Cahir Castle

Formerly with the Butler Estate, Cahir Park which is also by the River Suir was converted into a golf course. With its richly timbered, vast lands, the park also became a popular hiking spot.

One particular route is the one that leads to the Cahir Swiss Cottage. This Swiss Cottage was intended to be a retreat from the ‘big house’ or Cahir Castle. The cottage also serves as a fishing and hunting lodge. 

The town surrounding the castle and with the same name is also worth exploring.

From its rustic medieval origins, it is now an estate town. Stroll through the square and its adjoining streets and admire the impressive architecture. Walk further and marvel at the cut-stone buildings such as the railway station.

Visitors Information for Cahir Castle

Opening Hours

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

Admission Fee

Adult: €5.00

Group/Senior: €4.00

Child/Student: €3.00

Family: €13.00

Contact Information

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

Email: cahircastle@opw.ie

Phone: +353 (52) 744 1011 

Cahir Castle Tours 

If you are looking for tours to the castle, here are some of our recommended Cahir Castle tours for you. 

 

Bunratty Castle- A Beautiful Medieval Fortress In Ireland

Situated by the River Ratty, Bunratty Castle is regarded as the most authentically restored and complete medieval fortress in Ireland. The name Bunratty means “river basin” or the end of the river that’s right next to it. It is also considered one of the must-see castles in Ireland

Bunratty Castle- A Beautiful Medieval Fortress In Ireland

Bunratty Castle in Ireland

Built using grey stone, this County Clare castle is comprised of a single large tower house with five floors. The castle is known for its vast collection of medieval furniture and other items. There are 450 pieces on display, and all of them are genuine.

The friendly and knowledgeable guides provide trivia about each piece as well as on the life of former castle occupants. With the castle being in existence for 800 years, expect an impromptu history lesson during your tour. 

It is widely believed that the Norsemen were the first occupants of the site of Bunratty Castle.

However, their settlement was destroyed by the Irish King Brian Boru in 977. Centuries later in 1250,  King Henry III granted Robert de Muscegros the district of Tralee. A motte and bailey castle was supposed to be constructed on the site.

Bunratty Castle

The following year, Muscegros instead cut down many trees on the castle grounds and used the place for the Bunratty fair. King Henry III took the castle back and granted them to Thomas De Clare in 1276. 

Between 1278 to 1318, Thomas De Clare built the first stone building exactly on the site of the now Bunratty Castle. Soon after its completion, he and his son Richard was killed in battle.

The newly built castle was also destroyed along with the nearby town. The King of England then restored the castle building.

However, it again destroyed by Irish chieftains fourteen years later. It was left in ruins for about two decades before Sir Thomas Rokeby rebuilt it, only to be destroyed by the Irish again. 

The Bunratty Castle that we see today was built by the McNamara family in 1425. Thirty years later during a battle, the castle was granted to the O’Brien clan. This was when they were granted the title ‘Earls of Thomond’ by Henry VIII. 

The castle became the chief seat of the O’Briens. It was also one of the main strongholds of Thomond.

It was eventually taken by Thomas Radclyffe and granted to Connor O’Brien who was responsible for the many improvements in the castle.

Bunratty Castle facade

Bunratty Castle was then taken by the Confederates during the Confederate Wars in the 17th century. The castle was then sold to the Studdert family, who also left in 1804 to move to a more modern residence. With nobody tending to it, the castle fell in disrepair. It was quite a huge story locally when the roof collapsed. 

When Bunratty Castle was in danger of being demolished in 1954, Viscount Lord Gort bought it. The Viscount was an Irish medieval history enthusiast, he restored the castle with the assistance of the Tourist Board and Government. It reopened to the public as a national monument in 1960, and presently managed by Shannon Heritage. 

The design of the Bunratty Castle that we see today was from the 15th century. It has a central keep, with four towers at each corner. In this central keep, you’ll find large halls. The towers meanwhile, contains the smaller rooms. 

Aside from the main castle building, the grounds surrounding Bunratty also has gardens and parklands. In the same site, you’ll also find the Bunratty Folk Park,  This park contains a church, farmhouses, a pub, shops, and a lovely garden.

Visitors Information for Bunratty Castle

Opening Hours

Daily from 9:00am- 5.30pm

Admission Fee

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

Contact Information

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

Email: reservations@shannonheritage.com

Bunratty Castle Tours 

If you are looking for tours to the castle, here are some of our recommended Bunratty Castle tours for you. 

 

 

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