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49 of the Best Castles in Ireland

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There are approximately 30,000 castles and castle ruins in Ireland, which is simply astonishing and means you can’t go far without a view of a romantic castle in the Emerald Isle! It also creates a problem for the tourist, how do you decide which ones to visit? – In the article below we will list the best castles in Ireland to visit on your next trip.

Clontarf Castle

Clontarf Castle is a much-modernised castle, dating to 1837, in Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland, an area famous as a key location of the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. There has been a castle on the site since 1172. In modern times, it has functioned as a bar, cabaret venue, and hotel.

The first castle on the grounds, of which no trace remains, was built in 1172 by either Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath, or his tenant Adam de Phepoe. Clontarf was subsequently held by the Knights Templar and, after their suppression in 1308, passed to the Knights Hospitaller, until they were in turn deprived of it at the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The last prior, John Rawson was created Viscount Clontarf in 1541 in return for surrendering the castle and its lands to the crown.

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This castle is also a luxury hotel and a great place to stay.


Castles, with their nooks and crannies and ancient histories are made for exploring, and you’ll chance upon amazing secrets at the gorgeous Cabra Castle.

Wander through the magnificent reception rooms, find a quiet corner or fireside to relax with a book, or just enjoy the atmosphere in one of the best-known Castle hotels in Ireland. Period features and furnishings create an authentic, old-world charm and a long tradition of warm and friendly service make Cabra Castle the perfect retreat from the pace of modern living.

Set on 100 acres of parkland and gardens, with the magnificent backdrop of Dún a Rí Forest Park, there is much to explore, both indoors and out.

Due to its idyllic location and superb range of accommodation, Cabra Castle is one of the leading luxury hotels in Ireland and is also one of the best-known castle wedding venues in Ireland. It has been the venue of choice for many society and celebrity weddings due to its large capacity.

Markree Castle

Welcome to Markree Castle, a 17th Century authentic Irish castle located in the beautiful County Sligo on the route of the world-famous Wild Atlantic Way.

Markree Castle is a place to be inspired, to reflect, to recharge and reconnect. One of the largest privately-owned castles in Ireland, Markree Castle stands on a secluded 500-acre estate in the scenic north-west of Ireland. Extensive renovations were completed in 2017, allowing this Gothic masterpiece to reclaim its position as one of the finest historic castles and wedding venues in the land.

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Now is your opportunity to discover the magic of Markree Castle and experience the epitome of luxury in your very own 17th Century authentic Irish Castle.

Roscommon Castle

Roscommon Castle is located on a hillside just outside the town. Now in ruins, the castle is quadrangular in shape, it had four corner D-shaped towers, three storeys high, and twin towers at its entrance gateway, one of which still retains its immensely sturdy vaulted roof. The entire castle was enclosed by a lofty curtain wall. It was built in 1269 by Robert de Ufford, Justiciar of Ireland, on lands he had seized from the Augustinian Priory.The castle had a most chequered history and you can read more about it here: –

Roscommon is a great area of Ireland to visit and you should spend a few days here if you can.

Killyleagh Castle

Killyleagh Castle is a castle in the village of Killyleagh, County Down, Northern Ireland. It dominates the small village and is believed to be the oldest inhabited castle in the country, with parts dating back to 1180. It follows the architectural style of a Loire Valley château, being redesigned by architect Sir Charles Lanyon in the mid-19th century. It has been owned by the Hamilton family since the early 17th century.

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Glenveagh Castle

Glenveagh Castle is a large castellated mansion located in Glenveagh National Park, County Donegal, Ireland and was built in about 1870.

Captain John George Adair built Glenveagh Castle between 1867 and 1873. It stands within the boundaries of Glenveagh National Park, near both Churchill and Gweedore in County Donegal, Ireland. It is built in the Scottish baronial architectural style and consists of a four-story rectangular keep, surrounded by a garden, and a backdrop of some 165.4 km2 (40,873 acres) of mountains, lakes, glens and woods complete with a herd of red deer. The Irish Gleann Bheatha (Bheithe) translates into English as “Glen of the Birch Trees”. The visitor center has displays that explain the park as well as an audio-visual show and is accessible for patrons with disabilities.

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Howth Castle

Howth Castle and estate lie just outside the village of Howth, County Dublin in Ireland, in the administration of Fingal County Council. The castle was the ancestral home of the line of the St Lawrence family that had held the area since the Norman Invasion of 1180, and held the title of Lord of Howth until circa 1425, the Baron Howth to 1767, then Earl of Howth until 1909. The castle and estate are held since 1909 by their distaff heirs, the Gaisford-St Lawrence family.

The estate includes much of the peninsula of Howth Head, including extensive heathland and much of Howth’s cliff walks, with views over Dublin Bay, light woodland, and the island of Ireland’s Eye. On the grounds near the castle are golf, pitch and putt and footgolf facilities, a former hotel, formal gardens and a pond, rhododendron walks – and several small streams pass through the estate.

Portumna Castle and Gardens

Built by the fourth earl of Clanricarde, Portumna Castle was the de Burgo family power base for centuries.

The castle is a unique example of the transitional Irish architecture of the early 1600s. Its bold design combines elements of medieval and Renaissance style that complement each other perfectly.

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Things to see and do in County Galway

Johnstown Castle

Johnstown Castle is located on the Johnstown Castle Estate, a 150 acres (61 ha) estate, located off the road between Murntown and Rathaspeck, 5.5 km (3.4 mi) southwest of Wexford town.

The first castle built on the estate was a tower house built in the late 12th century by the Esmonde family, Normans who came to southeast Ireland from Lincolnshire in the 1170s after the Norman invasion of Ireland (1169). They also built a tower house, which still stands, at Rathlannan immediately to the south.

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Castle Saunderson

Castle Saunderson is a castle near Belturbet, County Cavan, Ireland. It was the former family seat of the Saunderson family, and is now in ruins. The Finn River flows along the north-eastern edge of the Castle Saunderson Demesne, where the river enters a narrow channel of Upper Lough Erne.

The Castle Saunderson International Scouting Centre is a Scouting Ireland facility, opened in 2012 within the grounds of the castle. The centre provides indoor accommodation and campsites covering 34 acres (14 ha). It is open to Scouts year round, as well as to non-Scouts for most of the year. It currently acts as a World Scouting Centre for the Scouts, alongside Cairo International Scout Centre in Egypt and others.

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Ardgillan Castle

Although referred to as a Castle, the residence at Ardgillan is a large country-styled house with castellated embellishments. Originally named “Prospect House”, the central section was built in 1738 by Robert Taylor, with the west and east wings added in the late 1800s.

Initially, the site was heavily wooded, the name Ardgillan being derived from the Irish “Ard Choill” meaning High Wood. It was cleared out by service soldiers and itinerant workers in return for one penny a day, sleeping accommodation, and one meal.

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County Dublin – Things to see and do: –

Ballynahinch Castle

Ballynahinch Castle is a 4 star luxury hotel located in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland. Some of the activities that the hotel offers are guided walks, shooting and fishing. Previously it used to be an Irish country house and estate that was built on the location of a former castle. It is located on the edge of Ballynahinch Lake and Ballynahinch river close to the N59 road that runs between Galway and Clifden. Benlettery, one of the twelve bens mountain ranges, overlooks the castle. 

Originally the country house standing three-storeys tall was built in 1754. The Castle still has its architecture intact even though it has been modified throughout its life. 

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County Galway – Things to see and do: –

Adare Desmond Castle

The Desmond Castle is located on the edge of the village of Adare, just off the N21 on the main Limerick to Kerry road.

The castle was erected with an ancient ring-fort around the early part of the 13th century. It became a strategic fortress during the following turbulent years. It was the property of the Earls of Kildare for nearly 300 years until the rebellion in 1536, when it was forfeited and granted to the Earls of Desmond who gave the castle its present name.

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Doonagore Castle

Doonagore Castle is a round 16th-century tower house with a small walled enclosure located about 1 km above the coastal village of Doolin in County Clare, Ireland. Its name may be derived from Dún na Gabhair, meaning “the fort of the rounded hills” or the “fort of the goats”.

Doonagore Castle is at present a private holiday home, inaccessible to the public.

LocationDoonagore Castle sits on a hill overlooking Doolin Point and, along with a nearby higher radio mast, is used as a navigational point by boats approaching Doolin Pier. It is located in the townland Doonagore, parish of Killilagh, County Clare. It is generally considered to be located in the area known as the Burren.HistoryA castle was built on the site of an even earlier ringfort by Tadgh MacTurlough MacCon O’Connor some time during the 14th century.

Bunratty Castle Hotel, BW Signature Collection

With free parking, Bunratty Castle Hotel is a 10-minute drive from Shannon Airport. It offers luxurious rooms, a restaurant, a heated indoor pool and the Angsana Spa.

The spacious rooms at the Bunratty Hotel have satellite TVs, free internet access and a private bathroom. There is also a 24-hour room service menu.

McDermott’s Castle

Welcome to McDermott Castle, Ireland. McDermott’s Castle is located in Roscommon County in Lough Key, 3 km northeast of Boyle City in Ireland.

With an extension of around 10 km wide and forming a rough circular form, Lough Key contains more than 30 islands scattered by its cold waters.

One of these islands is rightly called ‘Castle Island’ and this is where the ruins of McDermott Castle are located.

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Doe Castle

Nestled in an inlet of Sheephaven Bay in County Donegal, skirting the wild waters of the Atlantic, stands Doe Castle – the medieval stronghold of the MacSweeneys.

The fortress was built in the 1420s. For almost 200 years it served as home, refuge and bastion for at least 13 MacSweeney chiefs – some of whom were party and witness to the most seismic events of Irish history.

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Belfast Castle

One of Northern Ireland’s most famous landmarks. Sitting in a prominent position in Cave Hill Country Park, we have spectacular views out across the lough and the city.

The first Belfast Castle was built by the Normans in Belfast city centre in the late 12th century. A second castle, made of stone and timber, was later constructed by Sir Arthur Chichester, Baron of Belfast, on the same site in 1611.

Sadly, the castle burned down almost 100 years later, leaving only street names, such as Castle Place, to mark its location.

In 1862, the third Marquis of Donegall, a descendant of the Chichester family, decided to build a new castle within his deer park, situated on the side of Cave Hill in what is now north Belfast.

Designs for the new building were completed by architect John Lanyon and reflected the popular Scottish baronial style.

The castle was finished in 1870 and cost far more than the £11,000 set aside by the Marquis. In order to complete the building, he received financial help from his son-in-law, Lord Ashley, heir to the title of Earl of Shaftesbury.

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Enniskillen Castle

Enniskillen Castle is beautifully situated next to a narrow crossing point on the River Erne. Guarding one of the few passes into Ulster, it has remained strategically important throughout its history.

Hugh ‘The Hospitable Maguire’, part of the ruling Gaelic Maguires, is credited with founding Enniskillen Castle around 600 years ago, some time in the 1420s. The earliest mention of the Castle is in the Annals of Ulster in 1439. It became a focus of Irish resistance to the English and was besieged in 1593/4.

Enniskillen Castle remained a Maguire Stronghold until the end of the 16th century. In the early 17th century, Captain (later Sir) William Cole was appointed Constable of the Castle and the site was rebuilt to include the iconic Watergate.

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Lismore Castle

Lismore Castle has a rich and varied history, owned or visited by some of the most notable names of the last few centuries — Sir Walter Raleigh, Fred Astaire, J.F. Kennedy, John Betjeman, Cecil Beaton, Dominic West, Lucian Freud. Earls, dukes and other royals; soccer stars and rock stars — the list is almost as long as Lismore’s history.

The first owner was the soon-to-be King of England, Prince John, when he built Lismore back in 1185. On becoming monarch, he passed it to the Church to be used as a Bishop’s Palace — you can still see the old round tower, which dates back to the 13th Century.

Then Sir Walter Raleigh, the Elizabethan adventurer who introduced tobacco to the English court, bought the castle. But 13 years later he was imprisoned for high treason in the Tower of London, and so Lismore, along with its 42,000 acres, got sold to Richard Boyle for a sum of £1,500. Richard later became the first Earl of Cork, and his son Robert Boyle, who was born at Lismore, became the philosopher that many consider the father of modern chemistry.

As time passed, the lands passed to the fourth Duke of Devonshire. This was in 1753, after the Duke married Lady Charlotte Boyle, the heiress of the Earl of Cork. Lismore continues to be owned by the Duke of Devonshire’s family.

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Dromoland Castle

Starting as only a tower house built between the 15th and 16th centuries, Dromoland Castle has morphed into a five-star luxury hotel with a Michelin-star restaurant and a golf course. This Gothic Revival-style castle has four connected castellated turrets and can offer visitors stunning water and garden views.

Previously visited by several US presidents (Bill Clinton and George W. Bush) and other internationally-renowned figures like Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali, it’s clear that Dromoland deserves its place on the list of the best Irish castle .

With an extraordinary history stretching back to the 5th Century, the Dromoland Castle 5 Star Hotel in Ireland was originally the ancestral home of one of the few families of Gaelic Royalty; direct descendants of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland.

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Birr Castle

The Award-Winning Gardens of Birr Castle Demesne in Ireland are both rich in amazing feats of science and engineering, as well as rare trees and flowers, wonderful wildlife, walks along peaceful rivers and the lake.

Celebrating 400 years this year, this remarkable family have resided at the romantic and inspirational setting of Birr Castle Demesne, that is now home to the 7th Earl of Rosse. The Parsons family invite you to explore one of the most extraordinary places in Ireland. Created over generations it is an environmental and a scientific time capsule.

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Donegal Castle

In the very heart of the county town, towering over the River Eske, stands Donegal Castle. Red Hugh O’Donnell himself built it as his personal fortress in the fifteenth century. It is said that, leaving to seek succour in Spain in the wake of the Battle of Kinsale, Hugh determined to make sure his castle would never ever fall into English hands – by setting it on fire.

But he was to be disappointed. English captain Sir Basil Brooke became the castle’s new lord in 1616. As part of a massive programme of improvements, Brooke built a handsome manor house beside the tower. He also commissioned the magnificent chimney-piece, finely decorated with carved fruit and his own imperious coat of arms.

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Slane Castle

One of the most exciting historic buildings on the island. Slane Castle hosts many high profile events, from its famous Summer Concerts with a capacity of 80,000 people, to intimate events inside the Castle. With the backdrop of the River Boyne and the surrounding parkland of the Estate, it is the perfect venue to accommodate a wide range of events in unique surroundings.

Slane Castle provides peace, privacy and security for residential and day conferences, meetings, corporate hospitality and banqueting, to meet all budgets. From stunning weddings, large or small, in the Castle’s Reception Rooms, including the Gothic Revival Ballroom created for King George IV, to outdoor activities and team building, Slane Castle’s experienced hospitality and events team will tailor your event to your individual needs in a unique environment..

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Springfield Castle

Springfield Castle is situated in the heart of County Limerick on a magical 200 acre wooded estate and is approached along a magnificent three quarter mile long avenue, lined with ancient lime trees. Enjoy an exclusive relaxing stay in a one of a kind castle. Private Castle Rental Ireland.

Stay in an Irish Castle

Private Castle Rental Ireland. Accommodation for up to 25 people in a unique Irish castle we are the perfect place for your vacation, family gathering or boutique wedding in Ireland. It is the ideal place to stay in an Irish castle, Springfield is centrally located allowing you to explore many of Ireland’s fantastic gems including the Wild Atlantic Way. It is a one of a kind place where you can  unwind and relax.

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Carrigogunnell Castle

Situated near Clarina, this castle is superbly situated on a volcanic rock with a marvellous view overlooking the whole Shannon estuary. It consists of a multi-sided enclosure, fortified by a strong wall probably of 15th-century date, in a poor state of preservation.

The ruins of Carrigogunnell Castle dominate the lovely pastoral land surrounding the volcanic peak on which it was built mid 15th century on the site of an earlier structure. The shattered limestone Keep was once over 50 feet high with 5 stories and a spiral stair, and there was a later house adjoining the tower with additional buildings, all fortified by a strong wall.

The land had been granted by King John to Donchad Cairbreach O’Brien in 1209 and had been a very important stronghold of the O’Briens for centuries. It was destroyed following the 1691 siege of Limerick — although the garrison sheltered by the castle took no part in the actual siege and surrendered without a fight, the English did not need the castle so they destroyed it with a large quantity of gun powder, attesting to the sad shape that it is in today.

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Cahir Castle

Cahir Castle, one of the largest castles in Ireland, is sited on an island in the river Suir. It was built from 1142 by Conor O’Brien, Prince of Thomond. Now situated in Cahir town centre, County Tipperary.

Once the stronghold of the powerful Butler family, the castle retains its impressive keep, tower and much of its original defensive structure. It is one of Ireland’s largest and best preserved castles. It is situated on a rocky island on the River Suir. The castle’s attractions include an excellent audio-visual show which informs visitors about the castle.

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Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

The most complete and authentic Castle in Ireland

The site on which Bunratty Castle stands was in origin a Viking trading camp in 970. The present structure is the last of four castles to be built on the site.

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Ross Castle

Ross Castle sits on the edge of Killarney’s lower lake and was built by O’Donoghue Mór in the 15th century. The Castle came into the hands of the Brownes who became the Earls of Kenmare and owned an extensive portion of the lands that are now part of Killarney National Park .

Legend has it that O’Donoghue still exists in a deep slumber under the waters of Lough Leane. On the first morning of May every seven years he rises from the lake on his magnificent white horse and circles the lake. Anyone catching a glimpse of him is said to be assured of good fortune for the rest of their lives.

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Dunguaire Castle

Dunguaire Castle and its history lies at the heart of the Ireland’s literary revival in the early 20th century.

It was built in 1520 by the O’Hynes clan on the picturesque shores of Galway Bay. This restored 16th century tower house sits on a rocky outcrop on the shores of Galway Bay.

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Dublin Castle

Erected in the early thirteenth century on the site of a Viking settlement, Dublin Castle served for centuries as the headquarters of English, and later British, administration in Ireland. In 1922, following Ireland’s independence, Dublin Castle was handed over to the new Irish government. It is now a major government complex and a key tourist attraction. We hope you enjoy your visit.

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Malahide Castle and Gardens

King Henry II gifted Richard Talbot the lands and harbour of Malahide for his services to the crown in 1185. From that point on, the Talbot family became intertwined with Malahide’s history and development.

The original stronghold built on the lands was a wooden fortress but this was eventually superseded by a stone structure on the site of the current Malahide Castle. Over the centuries, rooms and fortifications were added, modified and strengthened until the castle took on its current form.

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Clogh Oughter Castle

Clogh Oughter Castle Prehistoric relict landscapes of Cavan Burren Within the Cavan Burren Park there are more than 50 hut sites and over 10km of prehistoric walls. Incorporated within these settlement features are over 150 boulder monuments – 100 having either Rock Art and/or Rock Sculptings. The boulder monuments, rock art and sculptings are mostly incorporated in the walls and may be regarded as all more or less contemporary with the settlement features. Based upon existing evidence these are probably contemporary with the Giant’s Leap Wedge Tomb.

The castle is located in the historic Kingdom of Breifne, specifically in the part that would later be subdivided into East Breifne, roughly corresponding to County Cavan. Prior to the construction of the castle, the spot may have been a crannóg. In the latter part of the 12th century, it was under the control of the O’Rourkes, but it seems to have come into the hands of the Anglo-Norman William Gorm de Lacy after the Normans wrest control of some of the territory from that ruling clan.

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Nenagh Castle

This fine Norman Keep was built c. 1200 by Theobald Walter, 1st Baron Butler and completed by his son Theobald le Botiller c1220. The circular keep is over thirty metres high and its base has a diameter of sixteen metres. It is one of the finest of its kind in Ireland.

The crown of crenellations and ring of clerestory windows were added at the instigation of Bishop Michael Flannery in 1861. The intention was that the keep would become the Bell tower of a Pugin-designed cathedral that was never built. Though not true to historic character, these additions have ensured the iconic status of the keep which ensures that it features on the logos of many local clubs and businesses including Nenagh Town Council. The Castle and grounds were extensive renovated between 2009 and 2013. This project is aimed to position the castle as the main tourist attraction in the area. It is now open to the public.

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Classiebawn Castle

One of the must sees in County Sligo is Classiebawn Castle

Classiebawn castle close to the head of Mullaghmore on County Sligo’s Wild Atlantic Way, was the holiday home of Louis Mountbatten, a member of the British royal family who was assassinated close by in 1979. The pair of standing stones erected on the ground below the castle would seem to support the reputed occult interests of Lords Palmerston, Ashley and Mountbatten.

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Askeaton Castle County Limerick

Askeaton Castle was built by William De Burgo in 1199. It stands on a small island in the River Deel.

During the Desmond rebellion in 1580 the walls were blown when news was heard of the of the fall of nearby Carrigafoyle Castle. It was finally dismantled as a viable fortress by Cromwellian forces in 1652. The shell remains today but there are fragments of a 13th century wall and a 15th century Banqueting hall.

The castle stands by the bridge in Askeaton and is surrounded in this wonderful little heritage town by it’s own Hellfire Club to the east and the nearby ruins of the Franciscan friary built in 1389.

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Ashford Castle Hotel County Mayo Ireland

Ashford Castle is a medieval and Victorian castle that has been expanded over the centuries and turned into a five star luxury hotel near Cong on the Mayo-Galway border, on the shore of Lough Corrib in Ireland.

Ashford Castle was previously owned by the Guinness family and it is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World organisation. which means it is a great place to stay.

Kilkenny Castle, Ireland

Kilkenny Castle (Irish: Caisleán Chill Chainnigh) is a castle in Kilkenny, Ireland built in 1195 to control a fording-point of the River Nore and the junction of several routeways. It was a symbol of Norman occupation and in its original thirteenth-century condition it would have formed an important element of the defences of the town with four large circular corner towers and a massive ditch, part of which can still be seen today on the Parade.

The property was transferred to the people of Kilkenny in 1967 for £50 and the castle and grounds are now managed by the Office of Public Works. The gardens and parkland adjoining the castle are open to the public. The Parade Tower is a conference venue. Awards and conferring ceremonies of the graduates of “Kilkenny Campus” of National University of Ireland, Maynooth have been held there since 2002.

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Trim Castle County Meath, Ireland

Trim Castle (Irish: Caisleán Bhaile Átha Troim) is a castle on the south bank of the River Boyne in Trim, County Meath, Ireland. With an area of 30,000 m², it is a castle in Ireland.

Over a period of 30 years, it was built by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter as the caput of the Lordship of Meath. The Irish Government currently own and are in charge of the care of the castle, through the state agency The Office of Public Works (OPW). The castle is on the List of National Monuments in County Meath.

Dunluce Castle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

In the 13th century, Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster, built the first castle at Dunluce.

It is first documented in the hands of the McQuillan family in 1513. The earliest features of the castle are two large drum towers about 9 metres (30 ft) in diameter on the eastern side, both relics of a stronghold built here by the McQuillans after they became lords of the Route. The McQuillans were the Lords of Route from the late 13th century until they were displaced by the MacDonnell after losing two major battles against them during the mid- and late-16th century.

Later Dunluce Castle became the home of the chief of the Clan MacDonnell of Antrim and the Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg from Scotland. Chief John Mor MacDonald was the second son of Good John of Islay, Lord of the Isles, 6th chief of Clan Donald in Scotland.

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Huntington Castle, Clonegal County Carlow

Huntington Castle, also known as Clonegal Castle, is a castle in Clonegal, County Carlow , Ireland, built in 1625.

The structure was originally a “plantation castle”, used for defensive purposes during the plantation of the area in the early 17th century. The original tower house, which served as a garrison, was built in the 15th century as a stronghold for the Caviness family, an old Irish clan. Later Baron Esmonde.

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Blarney Castle and Gardens Cork Ireland

Built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftans, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting attention ever since. Over the last few hundred years, millions have flocked to Blarney Castle making it a world landmark and one of Ireland’s greatest treasures.

Now that might have something to do with the Blarney Stone, the legendary Stone of Eloquence, found at the top of our tower. Kiss it and you’ll never again be lost for words. Kiss The Blarney Stone The Stone of Eloquence For over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants, and legends of the silver screen have joined the millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence.

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King John’s Castle, Limerick’s

Bringing over 800 years of local history to life, a visit to King John’s Castle is a must when visiting Limerick City.

The castle itself has a turbluent history dating back to Viking times and has undergone several sieges, battles and triumphs over its long history.

King John’s Castle is a 13th-century castle located on King’s Island in Limerick, Ireland, next to the River Shannon. Although the site dates back to 922 when the Vikings lived on the Island, the castle itself was built on the orders of King John in 1200. One of the best preserved Norman castles in Europe, the walls, towers and fortifications remain today and are visitor attractions. The remains of a Viking settlement were uncovered during archaeological excavations at the site in 1900.

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Blarney House

Blarney House is a Scottish Baronial mansion designed by John Lanyon and is now open to the public in the summer months. The house sits in the middle of the parklands situated less than 200m south of the great castle itself. Built in 1874, it has now been restored to its former glory. The house is situated overlooking Blarney Lake and features a splendid interior that is well worth a visit while in County Cork.

Does anyone live in Blarney House?

The house is set in hectares of parkland filled with rare and unusual trees including many maples, southern beech and giant western red cedars. There are formal gardens around the house with manicured lawns, rose beds and mixed shrub beds. Many different gardens are to be found around the estate, and exploration will be rewarded.

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Scrabo Tower

Scrabo Tower is a 135 feet (41 m) high 19th-century lookout tower or folly that stands on Scrabo Hill near Newtownards in County Down, Northern Ireland. It provides wide views and is a landmark that can be seen from afar. It was built as a memorial to Charles Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry and was originally known as the Londonderry Monument. Its architectural style is Scottish Baronial Revival.

Nowadays, the tower on Scrabo Hill is usually just called Scrabo Tower and is visited for its views and surroundings. However, its original name was Londonderry Monument or Memorial. That name referred to the Marquesses of Londonderry and only indirectly to the town or county of that name, which is 87 miles (140 km) away. The marquesses owned much ground around the hill. The hill and tower rise over the town of Newtownards, 10 miles (16 km) east of Belfast. As the tower dominates the town, it is often used as an emblem for Newtownards. The tower is built on the site of a prehistoric hill fort.

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Last updated May 29, 2023


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Giles Peter Hillson

Thursday 19th of January 2023

I would suggest adding Aughnanure Castle, near Oughterard, Co. Galway, fully restored (OPW) headquarters of the "ferocious" O'Flaherty clann, built around 1490, a six stories high tower house, with an unusual double bawn (walled in area) built over a limestone cave system. Phone in advance and the Tour Guides will as far as possible always give a personal guide to the site.