Ireland has a history of Kings and Queens, Lords and Earls. You can see the vivid splendour in the wonderful scattering of impressive castles located throughout the country.
Bunratty Castle was built in 1425 by the MacNamaras and then passed to the O’Briens who were Earl of Thomond. The Castle is furnished with mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings. Medieval Banquets are held in the Castle year round, subject to demand.
Bunratty folk park recreates rural and urban life in 19th century Ireland. Visitors can, for example, view farmhouses of various economic backgrounds, a watermill, church and village street. A new Irish show, “Style”- Stories of Irish Dance is held in the Folk Park from April to October.The walled garden at 19th century Bunratty House has been sensitively restored and the folk park vernacular gardens have been restored with the assistance of an ERDF grant through the Great Gardens of Ireland Restoriation Programme. Reserve from GoIreland.com’s list of Bunratty hotels and bed and breakfasts should you wish to avail of accommodation. To get there from Limerick City take the N18 Road towards Shannon Airport in County Clare.
The world renowned Blarney Castle and the legendary Blarney Stone can be found in the charming village of Blarney, just 7km north of Cork city in County Cork.
Built nearly 1000 years ago for the McCarthy Clan, Blarney Castle remains one of Ireland’s oldest castles. Blarney Castle and the world famous Blarney Stone should not be missed by anyone visiting the South West of Ireland. Book from Goireland’s range of hotels in Blarney, should you wish to stay in this historic town.
King John’s Castle was built between 1200 and 1210 and was repaired and extended many times in the following centuries. The visitor centre at the castle contains an imaginative historical exhibition which tells the story of the castle. Archaeological excavations have revealed Pre-Norman settlements and evidence from the traumatic siege of 1642.
The courtyard and castle display some of the trades and traditions of the 16th century with the aid of costumed characters. The castle offers panoramic views of Limerick city and the surrounding countryside. If you wish to book accommodation, check out the quality Limerick hotels on offer from GoIreland.com.
Athlone Castle was built in 1210 by John de Gray, Bishop of Norwich, for King John of England. From 1569-1672 it was the headquarters of the Presidents of Connacht. The Castle was occupied by Col. Richard Grace, Governor of Athlone during the first Siege of Athlone in 1690 and also played a major role in the second Siege of 1691.
In the Napoleonic era the Castle was remodelled for defence and took on much of its present appearance. The Castle served for almost 300 years as an extension of the military barracks In 1970 it was handed over to the Office of Public Works and declared a national monument.Check out a range of budget and luxury hotels in Athlone should you wish to book accommodation.
The history of the Talbots of Malahide stretches back virtually unbroken to 1185 when the property was granted to Robert Talbot by Prince John, Lord of Ireland.
The castle is the oldest to be continually inhabited by the same family and, apart from a period during which they were evicted by Cromwell, the Talbots lived there until 1975.
The castle has the only surviving original medieval great hall hung with an impressive collection of family portraits. It is said that 14 Talbot cousins breakfasted here before riding out to the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, never to return. The delightful demesne was created by (Milo) Lord Talbot de Malahide between 1948 and 1973 and contains over 5,000 different species of trees and shrubs. Malahide hotels can be booked instantly if you wish to avail of accommodation in the area.
Castle: This Norman castle may have been built on an earlier ringfort by the main bridge across the Maigue or it may be contemporary. The square tower is of the castle is surrounded by a rampart with battlements To the south a drawbridge crosses the fort’s ditch. Surrounding this ditch is a further wall. Two gates offered access through it, the obviously more strategic south one protected by two towers.
Franciscan Friary: Now surrounded by the Adare Manor golf course, this friary was built by the Earl of Kildare during 1464 –1466. The church’s transept, its side chapels, and the tower are all later additions. The Kilmallock gate, by which one would enter the friary, now stands by itself. As well as the church there is a refectory, infirmary and a dormitory.
Trinitarian monastery. The 14th century Trinitarian church is now the local Roman Catholic church and the tower, south wall and part of the domestic buildings are well preserved parts of the original and of 15th century renovations.
Slane Castle is now in the owner ship of Lord Henry Mountcharles and is one of the most important statley homes in Ireland. Since 2001 the castle is open for guided tours .
King George IV’s left his writing desk here when his visited the home of his mistress, Lady Conyngham. The castle is beautifully located on the banks of the Boyne, the castle boasts a gothic revival ballroom, one of the finest in Europe.
At the end of every Summer (August or September) since 1981 the grounds of the castle has held concerts that attracts a crowd of 80,000. Some of the big names that have played here are Queen, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Madonna, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Kings of Leon and many more.
Cahir Castle is one of Ireland’s largest and best preserved castles situated on a rocky island on the river Suir. The castle’s attractions include an excellent audio-visual show called “Partly Hidden and Partly Revealed” (English/French/German/Italian). The show informs visitors of all the main sites of the area. There are also several exhibitions.
The castle was acquired by the Office of Public Works as a National Monument in 1964 and a major scheme of conservation work was undertaken. A very fine audio-visual show introduces the visitor to Cahir Castle and over 20 other National Monuments in the area are housed in a restored 19th century cottage within the outer ward.