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5 Irish Castles to Know

5 Irish Castles to Know

Katie Rhodes |

Check out five of Ireland’s must-see castles.

Carrickfergus Castle


Both the age and architecture of Carrickfergus Castle make it a must-see among Ireland castles. Work began on the structure in 1177 and it was garrisoned for 750 years. The landmark, which is one of the best-preserved medieval structures in the country is located on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. The castle grounds and building are currently open year-round for viewing.

Dunluce Castle


You may have heard the tale of this castle’s kitchen—along with its staff—falling into the waters of the Antrim coast above which this residence was built. While there are debates on the validity of this story, one thing is for certain: the site seems to hang on the local crags, coming dangerously close to sliding into the water. This medieval castle, which is now in ruins, is said to have been built in 1513. The site is open for guests to view for a small fee.

Johnstown Castle


Also home to the Irish Agricultural Museum, which is housed in the former estate farm buildings, this castle is a day destination for the entire family. The castle itself dates back to the 19th century and features exquisite gardens, three onsite lakes, waterfalls, statues, and a family of peacocks. While the interior of the castle is not presently open to the public, the grounds and museum are open year-round, seven days a week.

Malahide Castle


One of the oldest castles in Ireland, Malahide dates back to the late 12th century. Set on 260 acres, the site was home to the Talbot family for more than 800 years. Through the years, towers, turrets, and wings have been added to the original design. The castle and gardens are currently available for tours. In addition, many seasonal events are held onsite for locals and tourists to enjoy.

Doonagore Castle


This castle is a bit different in terms of its architecture and purpose. The site consists of a round tower, which serves as a navigational marker for boats approaching nearby Doolin Pier, and a walled courtyard with a bucolic feel. This particular castle was built in the 16th century, but prior to that another stood in its place on the site. Doonagore was purchased and renovated by an Irish American in the 1970s and remains a private holiday home that is not open to the public at the present time.