Irish castles are some of the best reasons to visit Ireland. Some travelers plan their Ireland trip around castle visits, trying to fit in as many beautiful, medieval Irish castles as possible. Whatever your desired route may be, from Dublin to the Ring of Kerry, you can most likely find an Irish castle nearby. Be sure to bring a jacket, as these medieval Irish castles can be drafty, especially in autumn and winter. Wear comfortable walking shoes, bring a camera, and maybe even a notebook to jot down some of the more interesting legends and stories.
One favorite Irish castle is the famous Blarney Castle located in Blarney Village, about 8 km northwest from Cork City in the southern Ireland. Over the years, it has become a world landmark and one of Ireland’s most popular attractions. Many travelers believe that a trip to the medieval Blarney Castle can’t be missed; it’s on par with the Guinness Brewery and other attractions as an intrinsic symbol of Ireland and Irish heritage. The Blarney Castle also contains the Blarney Stone. According to legend, kissing the stone will grant you eternal eloquence.
Another popular castle is Dublin Castle, located in south of the River Liffey in Dublin. At the Dublin Castle, travelers can explore, discover, and enjoy the beauty and elegance of this famous structure. In addition to the 45-minute guided tour, castle visitors can dine at the little patisserie and bistro located in the Castle Vaults. Tours of the castle are available every half-hour, but the rooms are closed when in official use, so be sure to call ahead to check availability.
Irish castle accommodations are not just for kings, soldiers, and ghosts anymore. Many castles have actually been turned into hotels. Some popular castles include Clontarf Castle in Dublin, Ballyseede Castle Hotel in County Kerry, Ashford Castle in County Mayo, Waterford Castle in County Waterford, Dromoland Castle in County Clare, Abbeyglen Castle Hotel in County Galway, Castle Currow in County Laois, and Kinnitty Castle in County Offaly. To locate and book Irish castle accommodations, talk to your local travel agent, search online, or speak with an Irish travel group once you are in Ireland.
Irish Castle tours are also available. You can book tours with an Irish travel agency or look online. The Irish castle tours are very popular, especially since you will be traveling with a knowledgeable historian who can tell you about the ins and outs of castle life and Irish history. While some tours are bus-based and include many castles, many tours center around one specific castle. In addition, some castles require an entrance free, others are free, and some even offer a free guide. Some Irish castle accommodations include an Irish Castle tour free of charge.
You can also find many fine medieval Irish castles in Northern Ireland, which is a separate country & part of the UK. One of the best of these is Carrickfergus Castle on the shores of Belfast Lough, King John’s Castle at Limerick, and Maynooth Castle in County Kildare. Castle enthusiasts can see a wide variety of castles, such as ones with mottes (a mound of earth upon which the tower is built), courtyards, keeps, stone fortresses, twin-towered gateways, moats, and drawbridges. Some castles have many towers, such at Kilkenny Castles which was originally built with six towers. However, only four remain today.