A great way to fully explore Dublin is through its many castles. With most of these stunning structures dating as far back as the 12th century, a visit to several castles in Dublin allows you to discover not just Ireland’s history but the evolution of its architecture as well.
Some of these Dublin castles have been in ruins for centuries some are even said to be haunted but still worth a visit as each castle has its own unique story. When visiting Dublin and you want to go castle hopping, make sure you visit the following Dublin castles.
Things you'll find in this article
- 11 Must-See Castles In Dublin Ireland
- 1. Dublin Castle
- 2. Howth Castle
- 3. Malahide Castle
- 4. Rathfarnham Castle
- 5. Swords Castle
- 6. Puck’s Castle, County Dublin
- 7. Drimnagh Castle
- 8. Ashtown Castle
- 9. Ardgillan Castle
- 10. Bullock Castle
- 11. Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre
11 Must-See Castles In Dublin Ireland
1. Dublin Castle
Regarded as the heart of historic Dublin, Dublin Castle fulfilled a number of roles through its history. It was originally built as a defensive fortification for the Norman city of Dublin by Meiler Fitzhenry under orders from King John of England in 1204.
The castle was the seat of the British government in Ireland until the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922. In 1938, it was decided that the inauguration of the first President of Ireland, Douglas Hyde would take place in the castle. And the complex has been host to this ceremony ever since.
Today, Dublin Castle hosts official State visits, foreign affairs engagements, State banquets, and Government policy launches. Dublin Castle is also one of the best things to do in Dublin.
Daily from 9:45 AM to 5:15 PM
Senior (60+) €10
Student (valid student ID required) €10
Child (12-17) €6
Family (max. 2 adults & 5 children) €30
Address: Dublin Castle, Dame St, Dublin
Phone: +353 1 6458813
2. Howth Castle
With its Gate Tower and Keep that date from the 15th century, Howth Castle is an example of how historic houses have evolved in Ireland through the centuries. Howth Castle is the home of the St Lawrence’s since 1177. And it is known as one of the longest continuously inhabited private homes in Europe.
When you visit this stunning, historic Dublin castle, make sure you stop by the Great Hall. Here, you can discover the history, tales, and stories of the family through portraits, furnishings, and artifacts.
Its dining room, meanwhile, has a life-size portrait of Jonathan Swift. And here, the guided tour staff will tell you the story of pirate queen Grace O’Malley’s visit to the Castle.
Be sure to visit the 18th Century drawing-room, the boudoir with its celebration of racing, the Lutyens Library, and the 17th-century kitchen, now the home of Howth Castle Cookery School.
You can relax at the Castle Cafe in the walled garden. Afterward, wander through the famous Rhododendron Gardens. Howth Castle is simply a must-stop for your Dublin itinerary.
Sat- 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Sun- 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Tickets are €20 with discounts for families and the unwaged.
Address: Howth Road, Howth
3. Malahide Castle
Malahide Castle is nestled on 250 acres of parkland in the pretty seaside town of Malahide. And it was both a fortress and a private home for nearly 800 years.
A gorgeous castle that’s located close to Dublin, it is an interesting mix of architectural styles. The castle was built by King Henry II of England for his friend Sir Richard Talbot in 1185.
The Talbot family lived here from 1185 to 1973, when the last Talbot died. The castle is furnished with beautiful period furniture together with a diverse collection of Irish paintings, mainly from the National Gallery.
The history of the Talbot family is featured in the Great Hall. It is where portraits of generations of the family tell their own story of Ireland’s turbulent history.
Another must-see in Malahide Castle is the beautiful Talbot Botanic Gardens. The gardens were largely created by Lord Milo Talbot between 1948 and 1973.
Malahide Castle may be one of the most visited castles in Dublin but rumor has it that it’s still haunted by its jester, the Puck of Malahide. Many potential buyers when the castle was up for sale in 1979 claimed to have seen the ghost roaming around.
Malahide Castle is also one of the best castles in Ireland that you should visit.
Daily from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM
|Student / OAP||€8||tbc|
Address: Malahide Demesne, Malahide, Co. Dublin, Ireland
4. Rathfarnham Castle
Now open as The Office of Public Works the Rathfarnham Castle dates back as far as the Elizabethan period. It was built for Archbishop Adam Loftus, who came to Ireland as Lord Deputy. He eventually became Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
When Rathfarnham Castle was built in the 16th century, the design was quite modern for the time. And it was based on continental influence about defensive architecture.
The castle went through extensive remodeling and redecoration in the 18th century under a series of later owners.
For a time, the Society of Jesus acquired the building and for much of the twentieth century, it was used as a Retreat House for lay visitors. As well as accommodation for trainee Jesuits attending college in the city.
After the departure of the Jesuits in the 1980s, the Castle came into the care of the Irish State. And a great deal of restoration work has been carried out since.
Sat – Sun – 10:30 am – 5:00 pm
Wed – Fri – 10:30 am – 5:00 pm
Address: Grange Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14, D14 K3T6
Phone: +353 1 493 9462
5. Swords Castle
In ruin since 1324 A.D. and currently being restored to be made into a heritage center, Sword Castle is also known as one if the setting for certain scenes in the BBC TB series, ‘Tudors’.
This old castle was built as a summer place for the First Anglo-Norman Archbishop of Dublin, John Comyn in 1200.
The Archbishop was also a baron who was empowered to hold court and even pass the death sentence. For this purpose, he had a gallows outside the town on the Brackenstown Road.
Sword castle has also been a witness to many battles making it one of the historic castles in Dublin.
Sat – Sun – 9:30 am – 4:40 pm
Tue – Fri – 9:30 am – 4:40 pm
Address: Swords Castle, Bridge St, Townparks, Swords, Co. Dublin K67 X439
Phone: +353 1 8905641
6. Puck’s Castle, County Dublin
Much of the history of Puck’s Castle is shrouded in mystery and it is also said to be haunted. Some say that it was built from sacred stones culled from the nearby Bearna Dhearg (or “ringfort”), but little is really known for certain about the structure today.
Its name Puck, an English derivative of the Gaelic “púca” or “pooka” meaning ghost or spirit even says a lot about its history.
Located in Rathmichael in County Dublin, the castle was built as a fortified house in the late 16th century. James II and his army sought refuge in it after fleeing The Battle of the Boyne in 1690, but after that, not much is known about Puck’s. It is even located in Rathmichael, a suburb with ruins, as there are also church ruins nearby.
Today, Puck’s Castle is a magnet for those who fancy abandoned places, as well as grazing cattle and the occasional fence-hopper.
Should you decide to visit this castle in Dublin, you can still see evidence of the stone stairwell and the fireplace. But almost everything else is long gone and crumbling.
Daily – Open 24-Hours
7. Drimnagh Castle
Previously used as a Christian Brother’s School, a GAA club and now a popular spot for weddings and other events, Drimnagh Castle is the only castle in Dublin and the rest of Ireland that still has a floating moat around it.
It has a restored Great Hall with its large 17th-century fireplace and a medieval undercroft. The undercroft can be booked for events and functions.
A tall battlement tower with lookout posts, a garden designed in a formal 17th-century layout and other separate buildings can also be seen in the castle ground.
Monday – Thursday – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Friday – 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Address:Long Mile Road, Drimnagh
8. Ashtown Castle
A Dublin castle with a fascinating story regarding its discovery, Ashtown Castle is a fortified house located in Phoenix Park. It is believed to date back to the 1430s.
Ashtown Castle was discovered hidden within the walls of a much more recent building that was in use until 1978. When that building was deemed structurally irreparable as a result of dry rot, the state ordered for its demolition.
As the old building was being knocked down, Ashtown castle was discovered and eventually restored. This newfound castle now forms part of the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre.
Nov- Apr : Wed – Sun incl 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM
May – October : Daily 10:00 AM – 5:45 PM
Address: Phoenix Park, Dublin 8
Phone: +353 (1) 677 0095
9. Ardgillan Castle
Said to be haunted by a spirit known as the Writing Lady, Ardgillan Castle is still one of those Dublin castles visited by families. And anyone who wants a walk back in time through a pretty castle set in the midst of 194 acres of parkland.
Considered as one of Ireland’s hidden gems, Ardgillan Castle is a large eighteenth-century country-style house with castellated embellishments.
It was first named ‘Prospect House’ with the central section built by Robert Taylor in 1738, and the west and east wings added in the late 1800s.
Ardgillan Castle is nestled in a park that consists of rolling open grassland, mixed woodland, and gardens, which overlooks the Irish Sea with views of Mourne Mountains to the north and Lambay to the south-east.
Daily- 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Students and OAP’s €5
Family (2 adults & 2 children) €14
Group Admission Prices:
Adult €5 per person
Address: Ardgillan Castle, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin
Phone: 01 849 2212
10. Bullock Castle
One of the castles in Dublin that has a rich, colorful history, Bullock Castle was built in the mid 13th century by the Cistercian monks of the Abbey of St. Mary. This was to protect the harbor for local fishermen. Its main building and high tower formed steady protection for the harbor below with its high walls.
After the dissolution of the monasteries, the harbor, village, and castle were taken from the monks and passed down through various families until the start of the 18th century.
Today, Bullock Castle is open for public visits and you can explore its archways, storage room, the spiral staircase. The staircase leads to a series of rooms and then marvel at its sturdy roof construction.
Address: C/O Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Tourism Avoca House, 8 Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire
11. Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre
Only thirty minutes south of Dublin, in the picturesque coastal town and namesake is the Dalkey Castle. Built in 1390, it has all the features of the larger Irish castles, like its state of the art interactive Heritage Centre and the battlements which offer a panoramic view of the town.
Dalkey Castle is known for its exciting guided tours. On these tours, you’ll meet costumed actors that will engage you in strange conversations. There are also various activities like archery or a taste of some weird cuisine.
Another interesting feature of the Dalkey Castle is its Writers’ Gallery, which pays tribute to the life and work of great Irish writers and creative artists from Joyce to Bono and Beckett to Maeve Binchy.
Monday – 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wenesday – Friday – 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sat- Sun – 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Address: Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre
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