×

TYPE IN YOUR SEARCH AND PRESS ENTER

Loading...
Things To Do

7 Castles In And Around Dublin That Are Straight Out Of A Fairytale

By Jack Saddler

7 Castles In And Around Dublin That Are Straight Out Of A Fairytale

Planning a day trip out of the city? Want to absorb the rich history of Dublin’s surrounding areas?

Look no further than the castles that surround the city walls. Dublin is a stone’s throw away from a host of rock formations that each have their place in history. Many were built in the 12th century and tell many a tale of the days of yore. Here are some of our favourites, all found within two hours of Dublin city centre. [Featured Image: @trimcastlehotel]

1. Howth Castle

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by @luxlupus on

Howth Castle perches among a golf course, admiring the fine coastlines of Deer Park. It was once owned by the St Lawrence family, who entered Howth in 1177. Famously, Howth Castle was referenced in James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake (1939) as well as walks near its grounds being mentioned in Ulysses (1922). Howth Castle’s tour includes views of its impressive exterior as well as its 18th-century drawing-room.

Howth Castle is open to visitors on Sundays.
🚗 It’s 35 minutes via train from Connolly Station, or 45 minutes by car. 

2. Dublin Castle

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by R i t a G r e g ó r i o (@_ritagregorio_) on

Built in the early 13th century on the site of a former Viking settlement, Dublin Castle is the former headquarters for English, and later British, administration in Ireland. It remains a major government complex today, but is also open to visitors and plays host to regular exhibitions and concerts. See what’s on here.

⏰ Dublin Castle is open to visitors every day.
🚗 It’s… literally in Dublin city centre. 

3. Trim Castle

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Dick Keely (@photo.keely) on

“They may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom.”

Yes, Trim Castle is well-known for its performance in the film Braveheart (1995). The 30 years it took to build from 1176 clearly paid dividends 800 years later. Aside from Hollywood fame, it’s a popular day trip out of Dublin, sitting northwest of the city. Trim Castle also has the bragging rights of being the largest Norman castle in Ireland — is there anything it doesn’t lay claim to? It also went against the grain in the 12th century, by taking an unusual cruciform shape.

Trim Castle is open to visitors on Saturdays and Sundays.
🚗 It’s 1 hour and 15 minutes from Dublin by car. 

4. Charleville Castle

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Advertisement

A post shared by Shota Horii (@shota.horii) on

Soaring over the skies of the town of Tullamore like a prestigious knight, Charleville Castle’s two front towers give it an extra beam of grandiosity. It’s a perfect stop-off on a day out fuelled by gothic history and whiskey, as Tullamore is championed for. Be sure to have your wits about you, though! It’s said to be one of the most haunted buildings and grounds in Europe, so you might want to be out of here by sunset!

⏰ Charleville Castle is open to visitors every day.
🚗 It’s 1 hour and 45 minutes from Dublin by car. 

5. Malahide Castle and Gardens

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ivana (@zgbivana) on

Lodging nine miles from Dublin, Malahide is perhaps the most picturesque castle in Ireland. And it’s still going strong after 800 years in the game. The castle was gifted to Richard Talbot by none other than Henry II, but the impressive towers were added 500 years on, during the reign of Edward IV. Today, the beautiful grounds occasionally play host to live music events, with acts like Radiohead, Neil Young and Lana Del Rey all gracing the historic land. A royal occasion for all.

⏰ Malahide Castle and Gardens are open to visitors every day.
🚗 It’s 20 minutes on a train from Connolly Station to Malahide, followed by a 20 minute walk. Or 45 minutes by car. 

6. Kilkenny Castle

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Hélio 👾 | Photographer 📷 (@helio_araujojr) on

The people’s castle of Kilkenny. This castle was handed to the Kilkenny public in 1967 and is now run by the Office Of Public Works. Kilkenny Castle’s first site was constructed by Strongbow, aka Richard de Clare in 1173. It began as a wooden construction before it was turned to stone in 1270. (Medusa would have been proud of that serious glow-up.) Kilkenny’s beautiful surrounding greenery make it the perfect spot for a wander and a picnic after taking in the building’s history.

Kilkenny Castle is open to visitors every day.
🚗 It’s two hours by car from Dublin. 

7. Swords Castle

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by damiboy (@damiboy) on

A town named Swords was always going to have a castle. It was built as housing for one of Dublin’s Archbishops, John Comyn, in c.1200. (Ahem, how does one apply for an allocation of one of these?) The castle boasts an ominous, flag-bearing exterior and remains in good shape today. Swords Castle towers over the bright surrounding grassland and was also the location for the popular TV show, The Tudors.

⏰ Swords Castle is open to visitors Tuesdays-Sundays.
🚗 It’s a 45 minute bus (33) from Drumcondra Rail Station to Swords Main Street. Or 40 minutes by car.