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Exploring Dublin

5 most impressive castles near Dublin

15 June 2018 · 3 min read

Dublin is full of historic landmarks and a perfect spot for anyone interested in history and royal architecture. Within the city centre, you have the chance to visit Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the structure of Trinity College. However, there are also numerous additional castles to explore outside the city and perfect for a day trip.

Malahide Castle – discover the history of the Talbot family

Malahide is a pretty town located on the north of Dublin, it allows for a great day out and its Castle is well worth the visit. Standing at the top of a hill, this castle was built in the 12th century by an English family the Talbots. It remained a private residence for centuries and the furniture has been wonderfully preserved. The guided tour takes visitors through the history of the family and their numerous travels that influenced the decoration of the rooms.

Malahide is accessible via the Dart, the train station is located 20 minutes’ walk from the hotel or you could take the bus to reach the station such as the route number 65 to Tara Street. Alternatively, the Dublin bus 142 will take you to the town centre of Malahide.


Howth Castle – the life of a Norman Irish noble

From April to September Howth Castle is open to visitors over the weekends through a guided tour. You will discover the history of the St Lawrence family that came to Howth in 1177. The tour includes the exterior of the castle and stories of the family through portraits, furnishing an artefact. Some parts of the castle date back to the 15th century and are a perfect illustration of how historic houses have evolved in Ireland.

Howth is also a coastal village with a great cliff walk. You can access the town with the DART.


Trim Castle – the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland

Trim Castle is the largest Norman castle in Ireland. It is located on the south bank of the River Boyne in Trim which is a 45 min drive from the hotel and so Dublin city centre. This is a busy site over the summer but well worth the drive up. Its size and cruciform shape are what makes it unique as well as the beautiful surroundings. Not to mention that it took thirty years to be built!


Sword’s Castle – the best surviving example of an Archbishop’s Palace in Ireland

Sword’s castle was built for John Comyn, Dublin’s 1st Archbishop and as a summer palace during medieval times. Unfortunately, the castle was unoccupied for many centuries and is in ruin since 1324 but the good news is that Fingal County council is currently renovating the place and visitors are free to tour the exterior. The Castle was constructed over a period of 400 years, and its beautiful architecture sets it apart.

The castle is located 30min on the car via the M50 and then the M1. The bus route 41x will also take you there after a 40min ride.


Kilkenny Castle – a symbol of Norman occupation

The castle of Kilkenny was built to control a fording-point of the River Nore and was a symbol of Norman occupation.  The garden and the parkland are free to access for visitors, it is a good reason to spend a day in Kilkenny and have a stroll around the rose garden and woodland. If you want to, you can visit the inside and view the impressive Great Hall and some of the furnished bedrooms. Note that the Butler Gallery is in the castle basement and holds some nice exhibitions.

Kilkenny is approximately 2hours from Dublin by car, and while you’re in Kilkenny there are so many other attractions to see – the city is well worth a visit. The city is home to Smithwicks Red Ale, know in some countries as ‘a pint of Kilkenny’, and you can visit the original Smitwicks brewery to learn how the city’s famous export is brewed – just one of the many attractions along Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile.


Thank you for reading our blog! We hope you found your next castle visit, alternatively, you can have a look at our guide to Dublin’s coastal villages.

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