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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 2°C

9 of the most magnificently dramatic castles around Ireland

Soak up some history at one of these impressive fortifications.

LIVING IN A country where there are some thousands of castles dotted throughout can mean that it’s easy to become oblivious to their beauty. 

There may even be a castle not far from where you live, yet you might be completely unaware of its history. 

We’ve rounded up 11 of the most impressive castles throughout the country that are worth paying a visit to, with some dating all the way back to the 12th century.

1. Ashford Castle, Co Mayo

Now a five-star hotel, this 800-year-old castle sits on 350 acres and was once home to the Guinness family.

2. Rock of Cashel, Co Tipperary

With a round tower, chapel and Gothic cathedral, visitors could spend hours exploring the Rock of Cashel.

3. Malahide Castle

Set on 260 acres, parts of Malahide Castle date back to the 12th century, making it one of the oldest castles in Ireland.

4. Glenveagh Castle, Co Donegal 

Located on the shores of Lough Veagh, Glenveagh Castle was built in the 1850s and is surrounded by stunning gardens.

5. Bunratty Castle, Co Clare

Built in the 15th century, Bunratty Castle was restored to its medieval splendour in the 1960s and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings.

6. Blarney Castle, Co Cork

Visitors have flocked to Blarney Castle for over 200 years to kiss the Blarney Stone in the hopes of gaining the gift of the gab. It’s worth a try for the view alone. 

7. Cahir Castle, Co Tipperary

One of Ireland’s largest and best preserved castles, Cahir Castle stands on an island in the River Suir.

8. King John’s Castle, Carlingford, Co Louth

Built in the 12th century, King John’s Castle (also known as Carlingford Castle) overlooks Carlingford Lough. 

9. Ross Castle, Co Kerry

Situated on the shores of Lough Leane, Ross Castle was built in the 15th century.

More: 11 colourful illustrations by Irish artist Sarah Cunningham to brighten your day>

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