The picturesque country of Ireland contains many castles situated in its vast countryside. Ranging from medieval ruins, to Hotels.
Most of these castles were not built to be royal residences so are more modest in their appearance, they were mostly built during the country’s Norman rule, and were designed primarily to act as defensive fortresses.
1 Bunratty Castle
Bunratty Castle, located in County Clare, is a large 15th century castle and is hailed as a one of Ireland’s popular tourist attractions.
The MacNamara family constructed the vast structure that still stands to this day back in 1425 but the initial settlement is thought to date back to the time of the Vikings. Today the castle is run by Shannon Heritage and is fully open to the public.
2 Malahide Castle
Malahide Castle resides in County Dublin in the beautiful seaside town of Malahide. Some of the castle’s structures date as far back as the 12th century.
The castle boasts a decorated history as it has survived after attacks during the Battle of the Boyne and in the 1920s James Boswell’s private papers were discovered at the estate.
3 Trim Castle
Trim Castle is a Norman fortress located in Trim, County Meath on the River Boyne.
The castle was built in the 12th century during the Norman rule and is said to have acted as the centre of Norman administration for the Lordship of Meath. The castle is also the largest Norman castles to have been constructed in Ireland. Trim Castle is referred to in the poem “The Song of Dermot and the Earl”.
4 Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle resides in Blarney near Cork and was built in the 15th century, with some of the older structures dating as far back as the 13th century.
Blarney Castle is one of the most famous castles Ireland has to offer due to it being the home of the Blarney Stone, the giver of eloquence in exchange for a kiss. As well as this, it is one of Ireland’s most visually attractive castles.
5 Ross Castle
Ross Castle is in County Kerry and is the ancestral home of the O’Donoghue clan.The castle was built in the 15th century and resides next to the lake at Killarney.
Ross Castle was one of the last castles to surrender to Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads during the Irish Confederate Wars. The interior of the castle is currently in ruin however; the exterior of the castle is a handsome tourist attraction.
6 Parkes Castle
Parkes Castle is situated near Leitrim in County Leitrim and the existing structure was completed in the early 17th century.
During the 20th century the castle underwent extensive restoration works and is now a hidden gem that stands as not only a tourist attraction but also a place in which to stay.
7 Kilkenny Castle
This 13th century castle resides in County Kilkenny.
Kilkenny Castle stands as a reminder of the Norman rule in Ireland during the 13th century and would have been used as a defensive fortress during the time.
8 Donegal Castle
Donegal castle is one that is unlike others in Ireland in terms of its appearance, it is located in County Donegal on the River Esque.
The castle consists of buildings that date back to the 15th century and for the last two hundred years most of the buildings were in a state of ruin until a restoration project in the 1990s.
9 Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle sits in the heart of Ireland’s capital city and served as the centre of the British government in the country for centuries.
The castle has a checkered past, it was originally built as a defensive fortress during Dublin’s Norman rule, but later came to function as a royal residence. Today the castle is home to both a museum and the Chester Beatty Library.
10 Birr Castle
Birr castle is described as a large castle situated in the town of Birr in County Offaly.
The castle has been referred to as “One of the seven wonders of Ireland”. The site has been resided over since the late 12th century but the castle that stands today was constructed in the 17th century.
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