Explore all the castles Ireland has to offer
- Castle hotels
- Castle with attraction
Otherwise known as the ‘Emerald Isle’, the lush Irish countryside has placed the country at the top of many travellers’ bucket lists. Combine this with awe-inspiring fortifications, a rugged coastline and literary exports like Oscar Wilde and James Joyce, and you have the recipe for a perfect batch of castle holidays.
What better place to start than Dublin, where the coast meets the city? Its streets are built on layers of history, with the city dating back to the Viking age. Nowadays, you’ll find everything from quirky restaurants to magnificent museums, all interspersed with seaside villages and some of the very best Irish castles.
One of these is Malahide castle, a fortress set in tranquil grounds that provide an escape from Dublin’s urban core. As one of the oldest castles in Ireland, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. Take a tour of Malahide and explore architecture dating back to the 12th century, as well as corridors that have belonged to the Talbot family for 800 years! The walled garden is a particular highlight, boasting seven beautiful glasshouses.
Want to stay the night and turn your visit into an exciting road trip? Stay in a castle like Cabra, which is a scenic drive along the coast from Malahide.
Nestled deep in County Cavan (also known as ‘the Lakeland county’), you can’t miss this sprawling structure. With a nine-hole golf course, tennis court and 100 acres of beautifully manicured gardens at your disposal, you can enjoy your stay in complete tranquillity. With four-poster beds and free-standing roll-top baths on offer, too, you’re sure to feel like royalty.
Castle breaks in Ireland wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Birr castle in County Offaly. Home to rare trees and flowers, peaceful walking routes and heaps of wildlife, the grounds of Birr castle are just as impressive as the building itself. The interior of the castle is a haven of baroque design and beautifully-preserved antiques, and is best appreciated with a guided tour.
County Offaly itself is home to the earliest evidence of human settlement in Ireland, alongside some truly stunning scenery. Head to Lough Boora Discovery Park to witness a habitat dating back some 8,000 years, or stroll the Grand Canal Trail.
If you’re heading east from here, Ashford castle is the ideal place to spend the night. The palatial interior is unforgettable: all four-poster beds, luxurious textiles and opulent décor. And with a host of celebrity patrons under its belt, you can rest assured that a stay in a castle like Ashford will be nothing less than spectacular.
Are you lacking inspiration or struggling to choose between the castles in Ireland? Road trip your way across the country using one of the itineraries below.