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Irish Castles

Updated on August 1, 2016

When you visit Ireland you will find fortresses and castles that date back to Medieval times scattered all over the beautiful countryside.

Most of the castles found in Ireland were built using stone. Many of them date back to the 1100's. The Irish started building castles after the Normans invaded the country.

There were castles built all over Ireland's beautiful countryside. Many of them now lie in ruins. There are others that have been restored. Many of the castles are open to the public.

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle By Jon Sulivan Public Domain
Bunratty Castle By Jon Sulivan Public Domain | Source

The Bunratty Castle was built in the 15th century, and it is a medieval fortress that overlooks the River Shannon. The River Shannon is a beautiful river in County Clare, Ireland. In the 950's the Vikings established settlements in Ireland, but in 1270, they were finally defeated by the invading Normans. The Normans established the next fortress.

The castle you see today is the fourth or fifth one built in this area and has stone walls that are 10 feet thick and go up to more than five stories. Bunratty Castle is considered one of the favorite places to go for the tourists who visit Ireland.

Castle room by oiran CC BY-SA 3.0
Castle room by oiran CC BY-SA 3.0 | Source

The most beautiful room in Bunratty Castle is the Great Hall. The Great Hall contains a large collection of Middle Age and Renaissance paintings wall hangings and furniture. There are feasts held in the Main Guardroom twice every night. There are Irish harpists; court jesters and meals are served and are made using medieval recipes.

Huntington Castle

Huntington Castle By Liam Hughes CC BY-SA 2.0
Huntington Castle By Liam Hughes CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source

The Huntington Castle was built where an Abby had been built years before. In the 14th century, a Druid Temple was located on this site.

Lord Esmond built the Huntington Castle. The castle has interiors that are dark, and the corridors are scary. They are full of suits of armor, stuffed animals, tapestries, and portraits of the family. When you visit Huntington castle, there will be no doubt the castle is haunted.

The Durdin-Robertson family has lived in Huntington castle for the last 200 years. The castle is bordered by the Derry and Slaney rivers.

Huntington Castle By Humphrey Bolton CC BY-SA 2.0
Huntington Castle By Humphrey Bolton CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source

The Huntington castle has a dungeon which is not unusual for a medieval castle. The unusual thing is that the dungeon has an old temple that was dedicated to the goddess Isis. The Fellowship of Isis was started by the Durbin-Robertsons. The Fellowship of Isis was a cult that was dedicated to the Egyptian goddess.

It is said the Robertson family entertained witches that came from other countries here. They held their ceremonies in the temple.

The grounds have a unique Yew Wall that goes back to the 17th century or maybe the 15th century. The branches of the Yew interlock and form a tunnel in which ghost of monks have been seen gliding through.

It is said that the ghost of Alisha O'Flahery, the wife of Lord Esmond, has been seen combing her hair in the garden. She is said to sit in the garden in the moonlight sobbing without stopping. It is said that when she was alive she would wait in the garden for her son and husband to return from the wars.

The castle is supposed to be haunted by another ghost. It is said a soldier that served in the Oliver Cromwell rebellion will sometimes knock on the door. It is said he dressed in the enemy’s uniform to spy on them and was shot by his fellow soldiers.

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle By Unknown Public Domain
Dublin Castle By Unknown Public Domain | Source

The Dublin Castle is now more of a palace than a medieval fortress. In the early 13th century, the Dublin Castle was built as a stronghold. The only part of the original structure that has survived is the Record Tower.

In early history, the Dublin Castle had a hard time. The castle was besieged in 1534. In the 17th century, most of the castle was destroyed by fire.

Dublin Castle By Jtidirl Public Domain
Dublin Castle By Jtidirl Public Domain | Source

The Dublin Castle has been restored and is now a beautiful place. Dublin Castle is often used to entertain dignitaries and heads of state that visit Ireland.

The Dublin Castle was the residence of the British viceroys for centuries until the Viceregal Lodge was built. The Chapel Royal is a great example of 19th-century Gothic revival architecture. The castle was restored in 1989. There is a beautiful carved oak gallery, fronts, fitting and fabulous plaster decorations. Many political events are held at the Dublin Castle.

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle By Rennett Stowe CC BY-SA 2.0
Blarney Castle By Rennett Stowe CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source

Ireland’s most famous castle is the Blarney Castle. Every year, thousands of people visit the blarney, Castle. The Blarney Castle was the third one built in Ireland. There are now the ruins of towers and a stone keep that go back to the 1400's.

Blarney Castle By LucySky CC BY-SA-1.0
Blarney Castle By LucySky CC BY-SA-1.0 | Source

Legends say that Robert and Bruce were helped by four thousand Munster men during the Bannock-burn battle. To thank them for their help, he presented the men with half of the Stone of Slone.

This was the start of the legend of the famous “Blarney Stone.” At the blarney Castle, the tourists will grab an iron rail while they bend over backwards so they can kiss the Blarney Stone. It is said when you kiss the Blarney Stone you will get the “Gift of Gab.” It is said Queen Elizabeth I often said this phrase when she was upset with Lord Blarney and his endless debates.

Cahir Castle

Cahir Castle By Kevin Lawver CC BY-SA 2.0
Cahir Castle By Kevin Lawver CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source

Cahir Castle is a fabulous stronghold that is located on a rocky island foundation in the River Suir. The Cahir Castle has three wards, and they are the outer, middle and inner. They are surrounded by a thick wall.

River Suir By Sebb Public Domain
River Suir By Sebb Public Domain | Source

The Cahir Castle was built in the 13th century by the Butlers. They had the castle surrendered without a fight to Cromwell in the 17th century. There is a tower that goes down to the river that provides a good and a vital water source for the castle This was very important during the castles many sieges.

The Cahir Castle is seen in many scenes of the movie “Excalibur.”

Cahir Castle is now a National Monument and a very popular tourist attraction.


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    • norlawrence profile imageAUTHOR

      Norma Lawrence 

      2 years ago from California

      They are beautiful and amazing. Thanks

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Stone masonary during the ages has been most remarkable, as these structures have outlived so much. I tip my hat to the beauty of these lovely historic locales.

    • norlawrence profile imageAUTHOR

      Norma Lawrence 

      2 years ago from California

      Thank you for your comment. I will have to look up the 2 castles you mentioned. Thanks for the info.

    • DreamerMeg profile image


      2 years ago from Northern Ireland

      I live near Carrickfergus Castle and Dunluce Castle. Castles are very interesting to visit and even though I live on the island, I have not visited the ones you have written about.


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