A rough estimate affirms that Ireland has more than 1,000 castles scattered all over its territory. Among the green hills or hidden in the mist of the clearing, the ruins of some important fortress lie in the stunning Irish scenarios, adding more mystery and charm to this awesome country.
Whether you are medieval fanatics, or occasional visitors, you can not help but be bewitched by the magnificence of these buildings and deprive yourself of the typical trip “up to the highest tower“.
Some of them have huge gardens to visit, while in others it is also possible to spend the night if you’re looking for a peculiar experience.
Therefore, we have selected here 10 Castles worth visiting around Ireland.
- Blarney Castles
Built more than 600 years ago, this medieval fortress boasts a great amount of interesting features.
First and foremost the so called “Blarney Stone” aka The Stone of Eloquence. Rumor has it that if you kiss the stone, leaning backwards (while holding on to an iron railing), you’ll gain the gift of the gab.
This Castle has an amazing park where strollin around. A stunning variety of ecosystems (the Jungle, the Seven Sisters or the Bog Garden etc) where The Poison Garden stands definitely out.
With its great ranges of poison plants, it’s the most varied garden with this vegetation.
Totally worth it, just do not touch the plants!
Price: €16 online(Normally €18)
- Ross Castle
On the edge of Killarney’s Lough Lean, the Ross Castle was built by O’Donoghue Mór in the 15th century.
Legend has it that O’Donoghue still lies under the waters of the lake and on the first morning of May every seven years he rises on his white horse and circles the lake.
Anyone catching a glimpse of him is said to be assured of good fortune forever.
Castle lovers will certainly appreciate this well-preserved manor in its spectacularly picturesque location.
- The Rock of Cashel
In the picturesque county of Tipperary you can find one of the most recognisable castles in Ireland.
According to a legend, the devil took a bite from a nearby mountain (known as the Devils Bit) and in the process broke his tooth.
Yet it seems quite controversial, as among other legends that echo its corridors,this is where Aenghus the King of Munster was converted to Christianity by St. Patrick in the 5th century.
It’s definitely worth a visit, especially at sunset when the Rock is tinged with warm-roseish nuances.
- Glenveagh Castle
In its homonymous National Park, the Castle is located in the charming county of Donegal. Built recently, around 1857, its construction in a remote mountain setting was inspired by the Victorian idyll of a romantic highland retreat.
It is possible to visit the marvellous gardens which are well known for their rich variety of trees and shrubs specialising in southern hemisphere species and a diverse Rhododendron collection.
The Castle is open just from October to March. What a great occasion to walk around the park with those dramatic autumn colours and try its adorable tea room.
Price: 7€ (the gardens are free!)
- Dunguaire Castle
If you want to give a more “literary” vibe to your journey all over Ireland or Irish Castles, you should definitely stop by the Dunguaire Castle.
Reflected in the calm bay of Galway, this mansion still echoes of its medieval heritage and poetic hosts.
Infact, the castle inspired many authors like G.B. Shawn or Yeats in the process of writing their works.
The beautiful tower house, built in the 16th century by the O’Hynes clan, makes it probably one of the most photographed landmarks all over Ireland.
You’ll also have the chance to banquet inside the castle, where Medieval Themed nights/evenings are organised, well equipped with local cuisine, storytellers and actors in costume who impersonate the royals from the castle.
Price: 7 € (Better book in advance for the Medieval Nights)
- Bunratty Castle
Bunratty Castle has seen them all. The former structure was attacked and burnt to ashes during the century’s wars.
As in the Dunguaire Castle, even Bunratty offers some in costume banquets, with the chance of enjoying typical food and breathe an unusual atmosphere for one night.
Full of mysteries and myths, this castle is properly one of the most authentic and “complete” among its siblings.
You can also visit the Folk Park, a sympathetic recreation of a 19th century village, built around the castle, populated by actors in period dress.
- Ashford Castle
When you probably think of a general idea of a castle, something like Ashford should pop out in your head.
Surrounded by the natural wonders of Connemara and the delightful village of Cong, this castle passed from family to family until it reached the hands of Arthur Guinness who turned it into the royal hunting and fishing estate.
Nowadays is a luxury hotel where, for sure, spending a night as a king is quite expensive, however is possible visiting the surrounding gardens and having a lovely tea in the spectacular Connaught Hall.
But sipping tea in one of Ireland’s most beautiful castles is worth a penny.
Price: : https://www.ashfordcastle.com/
Website : https://www.ashfordcastle.com/
- Dunluce Castle
If you are a Game of Thrones geek, this castle is definitely what you are looking for.
Infact, the so called Iron Island in Game of Throne are set in this remote part of Ireland.
Even though it’s quite close to the Antrim county, nearby Belfast, the ruins of this castle rest on that rocky hill, overlooking the sea.
Totally worth the pilgrimage.
Price: Free entry
- Malahide Castle
This “city” castle is just a 30 minutes train journey from Dublin. Despite its pretty ancient look, its decor could boast a vast collection of modern piece of fournitres.
The castle is surrounded by a large park as well as a botanical garden which includes many rare and tropical plants.
Its corridor witnessed a terrible series of death and that’s exactly why a good chance for visiting them is through the night’s ghost tours.
Price: 12€ Gardens included
- Lismore Castle
Last but not least. Like all most beautiful things in the world, this castle is not entirely available. Its rooms are closed to the public, but its garden offer a lovely view of the stunning architecture of the structure.
While strolling around its greenhouses or magnolias and Yee Tree Walk, let this natural beauties inspired you as they did with Edmund Spence, the british author of ‘The Faerie Queen’ in a round 1590.
Price: 8 €