Castles In Ireland


Ireland Castle Picture

A useful guide to Castles In Ireland, a country full of amazing historical buildings.  Castles in Ireland are used for a wide range of purposes, some have been preserved and are national parks for the public to enjoy, others are used for wedding venues while some have their own golf courses or are luxury spa hotels. Many castles however are unfortunately just ruins. Some like Bunratty castle in County Clare are in fact national monuments! We have included information on a selection of castles as well as a list of Irish castles and interesting facts on each one.

English: Castle
Gaelic: Caisleán

Ireland Travel Index

Castles In Ireland - Blarney Castle

Blarney castle in County Cork is a huge tourist attraction. It is visited by thousands of people each week who come to kiss the famous Blarney stone in hope that they receive the 'gift of the gab'! The Blarney stone is built into the battlements of the castle and kissing it is no easy job! After climbing to the top of the castle you then need to lean backwards over the parapet, a castle assistant is available to help but it not recommended for anyone with a fear of heights!

Castles In Ireland - Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle in County Clare is a national monument, it is an amazing example of a fully restored castle and has been open for the public to enjoy since 1960. It is built on the site of Viking trading camp and has been home to Irish forces as well as being used as a barracks in the past. In 1954 the Irish Peer, Standish Vereker, 7th Viscount Gort bought the castle and saved it from ruin. Today there is a folk park next to the castle where visitors can experience Irish life in the 19th century and includes houses, shops, a pub and even gypsy caravans!

Bunratty Castle - Ireland

Bunratty Castle in County Clare, Ireland


Castles In Ireland - Glenveagh Castle
Glenveagh Castle is situated in the beautiful county of Donegal in the North West of Ireland near the town of Letterkenny in the Derryveagh Mountains. The castle is a 19th century castellated mansion in Scottish baronial style which was completed in 1873 and has a very interesting history. Today the castle and its amazing gardens are a national park. The public can visit the park and its beautiful gardens and enjoy a guided castle tour. Its remote setting is truly spectacular and its grounds are home to the largest herd of red deer in Ireland.

Ireland Castle Image

Glenveagh Castle in County Donegal, Ireland

Castles In Ireland - List
The following list of castles in Ireland is not exhaustive but includes luxury hotels, wedding venues and national parks. They are all examples of Medieval and Renaissance castles that can be found in Ireland.


Castles In Ireland

Castle NameDescription and Location of Castle in Ireland
Adare CastleBuilt c1190 on the banks of the River Maigue in County Limerick, this is an example of a Norman castle.
Ardgillian CastleA haunted castle! Ardgillian Castle is a large country home located in Balbriggan, Dublin, Ireland.
Ashtown CastleAshtown Castle is a large fortified house in Phoenix Park in Dublin and dates from c1400. It has been restored and forms part of the Phoenix Park visitors centre.
Ashford CastleAshford Castle in County Galway, Ireland is a luxury five star hotel. It is an example of a medieval castle, the original castle was built in 1228 and has been greatly extended over the years by various owners. Ashford Castle is a perfect location for wedding receptions and those looking for the perfect golf weekend!
Blarney CastleFamous for its Blarney Stone, Blarney Castle in County Cork is an essential tourist attraction for those who are searching for the 'gift of the gab'.
Bunratty CastleBunratty Castle in County Clare forms part of the Bunratty folk park and is an example of a fully restored castle.
Cahir CastleCahir Castle in the south of County Tipperary, Ireland is one of the largest castles in Ireland and is a national monument.
Carlow CastleCarlow Castle in County Carlow (image below) is a national monument of Ireland.
Carrickfergus CastleCarrickfergus Castle in the town of Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland and is an example of a Norman castle.
Dromoland CastleDromoland Castle is located in Shannon, County Clare. Its history dates back to the 5th century and was the home of Gaelic royalty, direct descendants of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland. It is now a luxury five star hotel and country estate with its own championship golf course. It offers many other facilities to its guests including fishing, falconry and pony and trap rides!
Dublin CastleDublin Castle was the home of British rule in Ireland until 1922. It is still used for state functions but is generally open to the public.
Dungiven CastleDungiven Castle in Dungiven, Northern Ireland is now a four star hotel. It was built in the 17th Century and has been used for many purposes including a dance hall and a base for the US Army during World War II!
Dunguaire CastleDunguaire Castle in Kinvara, County Galway was built in 1520 and is situated on the shores of Galway bay. It has been restored and is now open to visitors.
Dunluce CastleDunluce Castle in Northern Ireland
Glenveagh CastleGlenveagh Castle near the town of Letterkenny in County Donegal, North West Ireland. It is a national park and the castle, its gardens and substantial grounds are open to the public.
Glin CastleGlin Castle is an 18th century castle in County Limerick, Ireland. The entire castle can be rented on a daily or weekly basic for special functions and is particularly popular as a wedding location
Kilkenny CastleKilkenny Castle in south east Ireland was built in 1195 by William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke. It has been fully restored and is now open to the public
Crom CastleCrom Castle was built in 1820 and overlooks Lough Erne, County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. It is a family home but the west wing can be hired for weddings or luxury accommodation
Ormond CastleOrmond Castle located in the town of Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary is considered the best example of an Elizabethan manor house in Ireland. It is open to the public and guided tours are available
Slane CastleSlane Castle in County Meath was built in 1701 and its grounds are extensively used for a variety of music concerts

Castles In Ireland

Castle NameDescription and Location of Castle in Ireland

Castles in Ireland - Ireland Castle Image

View of Swimming Pool - Glenveagh Castle, County Donegal, Ireand


Fairytale Weddings - Castles In Ireland - The Ultimate Romantic Choice!
Many castles in Ireland have been lovingly converted into hotels offering you the chance to have a romantic, fairytale wedding in an amazing castle setting. Castles provide a beautiful backdrop for photos of your special day. Many Irish castles cater for weddings complete with servants, caterers and overnight accommodation. Your wedding wish can come true - be a princess for a day and have your wedding in a castle in Ireland!

Why were Castles in Ireland Built?
Castles in Ireland were originally built to:

  • Act as a power base in Ireland

  • Overawe and frighten the native population

  • Provide a safe home for Irish noble families

  • Symbols of political power and wealth

Castles in Ireland were usually built:

  • On the highest ground in the area

  • Usually featured Gatehouses

  • Often adjoined Rivers

  • Overlooking towns

  • Usually consisted of a main central Keep or Main Tower

  • Many featured a High wall, complete with towers surrounding the Keep and the Inner Bailey

  • Several Outer Walls and Outer Baileys were often added in the process of Irish Castle Building

Castles In Ireland - Facts

  • Castles in Ireland Fact 1 - The most famous castle in Ireland has to be Blarney Castle! It is the home of the blarney stone. Kissing the Blarney Stone bestows the 'gift of the gab' or the ability of  great eloquence on the kisser.

  • Castles in Ireland Fact 2 - Many Castles in Ireland have been used in movies! The grounds of Ashford Castle were used in the epic movie 'The Quiet Man'

  • Castles in Ireland Fact 3 - Dublin Castle featured in the 1996 hit movie 'Michael Collins' the Irish patriot killed in the Irish civil war. It was the top grossing Irish film ever when it was released.

  • Castles in Ireland Fact 4 - Dublin castle is used for the annual Heineken Green Energy music concert

  • Castles in Ireland Fact 5 - Several celebrities have chosen to marry in castles in Ireland including ex Beatle Paul McCartney who married Heather Mills in Castle Leslie, Co Monaghan and David Beckham who married Victoria in the five star Luttrellstown Castle, Dublin

  • Castles in Ireland Fact 6 - The grounds of Slane Castle in County Meath, Ireland have been used for a huge number of rock concerts, performers include U2, Queen, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Oasis and the Foo Fighters

Castles in Ireland - Donegal Castle
The picture below shows the beautiful Donegal Castle which was the home of the O'Donnell Irish royal family. The O'Donnell's ruled the Kingdom of Tir Chonaill from 1200 until 1601. Donegal castle was built on a bend adjacent to the River Eske; this was done for defensive purposes to provide the best view of approaching enemies. It is also believed that the site of Donegal Castle was used as a Viking fort in the 9th and 10th Centuries. The greatest relic of the O'Donnell family is a manuscript known as the 'Cathach of Colm Cille'. The book is a version of the Old Testament Psalms and is the oldest ecclesiastical manuscript in Ireland. The book is believed to have been written by a relation of the O'Donnell's, St Colm Cille and the O'Donnells took the book into battle with them as they believed it gave them extra protection.

Image of the beautiful Donegal Castle, Ireland. Copyright www.theemeraldisle.org

Castles in Ireland - Image of Donegal Castle - County Donegal, Ireland

Castles In Ireland

  • List of Castles in Ireland

  • Pictures of Castles in Ireland

  • Blarney Castle & the Blarney Stone

  • Facts about Castles in Ireland

  • Ireland Castle Luxury Hotels

  • Northern Ireland Castles

Castles In Ireland


Castles in Ireland - Pictures and Videos
Discover the vast selection of pictures on this site all produced in order to help you plan your perfect vacation in Ireland. Whether you are visiting family friends or simply wish to trace your family roots and see the birthplace of your ancestors, Ireland has something for everyone! The videos enable fast access to the images and pictures of castles in Ireland together with information and many useful facts to aid you with planning your trip to Ireland and discovering beautiful castles in Ireland. All of the articles and pages can be accessed via the about Ireland Index - a useful resource for everyone!


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