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Dublin Castle

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Dublin Castle is the former seat of the English and British kings in Ireland and now belongs to the Irish government, which holds receptions and meals in the state rooms here. The castle played a major role in many events of Irish history, from the 1798 uprising to the inauguration of the first presidents of the Republic of Ireland. Visit the state rooms yourself or as part of a tour to learn even more about the history of Dublin Castle.
Miriam DewamBy Miriam Dewam
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Guided Tours

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Dublin: Fast-Track Book of Kells Ticket & Dublin Castle Tour
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Early Access: Book of Kells & Dublin Castle Tour
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Dublin: Historic Guided Walking Tour & Dublin Castle Ticket
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Dublin Private Tour with Skip-the-line Dublin Castle Tickets
 
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4 tips for visiting the Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle with the Chapel Royal | Unsplash: Lisa Fecker - CC BY 2.0
1
Book your ticket onlineDublin Castle is among the popular attractions in Dublin and it's especially busy during the summer months. During peak season, there may be long waiting times at the ticket counters. Also, only a limited number of self-guided entry tickets are sold on-site. If you want to explore the castle on your own, it is recommended to book the tickets in advance online.
The Record Tower | Unsplash: Michaela Murphy - CC BY 2.0
2
A tour allows for deeper insightsAlthough there is a self-guided entry ticket option, you should still consider a tour to not miss the excavations from the Viking era, as well as the Chapel Royal. These can only be visited on a guided tour, which will also give you more information about the former and current history of the castle. Tours are held daily between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Please note that tour tickets can only be purchased on the day of the visit.
3
Connect the sightsNot far from the fortress is the Trinity College with its valuable Book of Kells collection. The sights can be well connected not only in one day, this combination also provides a deeper insight into the early medieval history of Ireland.
4
Sit in the gardenModern sculptures adorn the Dubh Linn Garden, which is located directly behind the Dublin Castle. Take your time and sit on one of the park benches, located beneath the trees, to get a great view of the fortress and the Record Tower.
Dublin Castle with the Dubh Linn Garden | Photo: Unsplash, Ron Cogswell - CC-BY-SA 2.0

On the traces of Ireland

The Dublin Castle, located in the midst of Dublin's Old Town, has become the heart of the city. The fortress represents the difficult confrontation between Ireland and England, and also has a formative Viking and medieval past.

The Establishment

The origins of Dublin Castle date back to the 10th century. It was conquered by the Normans in 1170 and further expanded in the 13th century, during the reign of John Lackland, resulting in many elements corresponding to the Norman style. The fortress was built for the defence of the city of Dublin and was inevitably exposed to possible attacks due to its proximity to the sea. Through numerous renovations, the fortress gradually became a castle.

Its Use

The castle once served also as a prison, treasury, court and finally as the Irish seat of the English and then British government until 1922. In 1907, the Irish Crown Jewels were stolen from the said treasury and have remained missing ever since. Also, the Irish Viceroy and his family resided in the castle. January 16, 1922 Dublin Castle passed to the Irish government after the Irish War of Independence and the birth of the Irish Free State.
The staircase to the State Apartments | Photo: Unsplash, Gabriel Ramos - CC-BY-SA 2.0

The fortress and its towers

At the time, the large, central courtyard was surrounded by a high defensive wall, limited by four watchtowers and a moat, which was protected by a drawbridge. Today, only the foundations of three circular towers (Corke Tower, Powder Tower and Birmingham Tower) remain; they represent both the oldest part of the complex as well as the city of Dublin. Only the Record Tower remained over time and is located on the southeast corner, from which the Dubh Linn Garden is clearly visible. This tower once served as a storage for the king's armor, as a prison, and as a state document archive.
The Chapel Royal | Photo: Unsplash, Anshul Malhotra - CC-BY-SA 2.0

The Fire

Originally constructed of wood, the fortress was later rebuilt with stone. In 1884, a fire broke out, damaging the building severely, including three of the four corner towers. Only the Record Tower from 1226 remained. Renovations and extensions followed, whereby Dublin Castle was enlarged with additional rooms and the palace was adapted to the Georgian style.

The State Rooms

The State Apartments were created between 1680 and 1830. Banquets and balls of the aristocrats took place in there. The Viceroy also lived in the rooms, which were also used for the organization of public events. The Saint Patrick's Hall is both the most important and the largest ceremonial hall, in which the inauguration of the President of the country has been held every seven years since 1938, as well as meetings of the European Council. The visit to the Apollo- and Throne Hall rounds off the visit to Dublin Castle. The most famous guests of the castle include John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth II.

Viking Excavations

During excavations, parts of the medieval castle and the Viking defensive structures of that time were found under Dublin Castle, which have been preserved through the thick walls of the Powder Towers. Visitors have since been able to view fragments of the ring wall, the post gate, and the stairs that led down to the castle moat. To this day, the Poddle River flows under the grounds of the castle, which was previously diverted to fill the moat. Parts of the former city wall and an archway have also been preserved.

Chapel Royal

The Chapel Royal, designed in the Gothic Revival style by Francis Johnston and consecrated as an Anglican chapel in 1814, captivates those who enter with its vaulting and intricate stuccowork as well as the carved oak galleries. The walls are adorned with colourful stained-glass windows that depict the coat of arms of the Irish viceroys. Since the attendance of King George IV on September 2nd 1821, the chapel has borne the mentioned name Chapel Royal. In 1943 it was converted to a Roman Catholic church, today it is no longer consecrated.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dublin Castle barrier-free accessible?

The State Apartments, the Coach House, and the Gardens are completely wheelchair accessible. The Royal Chapel is only partially at ground level, unfortunately, the Viking excavations cannot be visited as they can only be reached via stairs. Read more.

Are there any parking facilities?

The castle itself does not have parking facilities, but there are several public car parks nearby. The nearest one is the Christchurch Carpark in Werburgh Street. Read more.

Are there dining options at the castle?

In Dublin Castle, on the ground floor of the State Apartments, there is the Terrace Cafe, which invites you to linger with warm, traditional dishes as well as drinks and cocktails. Read more.

Can you carry bags and backpacks during the visit?

For security reasons, no luggage such as bags and backpacks may be taken into the State Apartments. Free lockers are available on the premises. Please note that neither pushchairs nor buggies are allowed in the state rooms. Read more.

Are audio guides available?

Dublin Castle offers an online audio guide that can be downloaded for free. Please note that no headphones are provided. Read more.

Are dogs allowed in the castle?

No, pets are not allowed in the building. An exception is made only for certified assistance dogs. Read more.

Is it allowed to take photos and videos on the premises?

For personal purposes, videos and photos can be taken during the visit. Please note that the use of flash in the State Apartments and selfie sticks in all rooms are not allowed. Read more.

General information

opening hours

Dublin Castle is open daily, including holidays, from 9:45 am to 5:45 pm. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.

address

Dublin Castle
Dame Street
Dublin 2
Ireland

website

Official site: https://www.dublincastle.ie/

tickets

Self-guided admission tickets can be purchased for a price of 8 € per person, family tickets (2 adults and up to 3 children) cost 20 € on site. Children under 12 years have free admission, visitors between 12 and 17 years pay 4 €, students from 18 years and seniors from 60 years get their reduced ticket for 6 € on site. Please note that tour tickets can only be purchased on the day of the visit. Online bookings for Self-Guided Tickets can be made up to 15 days in advance.

how to get there

Dublin Castle is easily accessible on foot from one of Dublin's popular attractions: With bus lines 9, 14, 15, 15A, 15B, 16, 65, 68, 83, 122 or 140 to George’s Street or one of the lines 13, 27, 40, 49, 54A, 56A, 77A, 123, 150, 151 or 747 to Dame Street. The nearest LUAS stops are St Stephen’s Green (Green Line) and Jervis (Red Line). There is no possibility to park on site. Paid parking is available at the Q-Park Christchurch or Park Rite Drury Street.
Miriam Dewam
Written byMiriam DewamMiriam is keen on traveling and has a passion for photography, which she can enhance through her cross-media studies. She uses her knowledge as well as first hand experience from diverse travels to help other travellers as a content creator at TicketLens.
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