Irish Castles

There are approximately 35,000 castles in Ireland, so no shortage of castles to visit or even stay in if you come to Ireland. Some are a legacy of Irish chieftains and several on Clare Island and in Mayo (Rockfleet) belonged once upon a time to the Irish pirate queen, Granuaile. But it was mainly the Normans who built impressive strongholds such as Trim Castle where the epic movie 'Braveheart' was filmed. Our infamous claim to fame, 2000 bare bottomed extras in kilts recruited from the Irish army! Other castles range from large fortified towers with impressive keeps such as Bunratty to smaller ones like Thoor Ballylee, former home of the poet and playwright Willaim Butler Yeats. Grand country houses like Tullynally and Birr were castle-ated with fairy tale parapets and towers as was the fashion during the reiqn of Queen Victoria. 

Many of these castles were built on land confiscated from the Irish and given to (often) absentee English landlords in return for military duty. As a result, a lot of them were ransacked and burned down during the 'troubles'. Others were saved and restored privately or are now owned and managed by the Office of Public Works or under the auspices of the Irish Georgian Society and so they have survived to tell the tale.  We actually stay in an authentic Irish Castle, Lough Eske in Donegal, a former stronghold of O'Donnells for two nights on my Guided Tours of Ireland. Voted one of the best small hotels in the world, it is certainly very popular with my tour clients who never want to leave, Susan

The 10 Best Castles in Ireland are...

Trim Castle, Trim, County Meath

Malahide Castle, Malahide, County Dublin

3  Dublin Castle, Dame Street, Dublin 2

Charleville Castle, Tullamore, County Offaly

Birr Castle, Birr, County Offaly

Tullynally Castle, Castlepollard, County Westmeath

Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara, County Galway

Bunratty Castle, County Clare

King John’s Castle, Limerick City

10 Crom Castle, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh


Tour Scotland in 2024 with Susan Byron