9 of Irelands Most Breath Taking Castle Tours

Ireland is famed for its ancient and mystical scattering of castles and ruins. The large, hulking figures of centuries-old battlements dot the landscape from Donegal to Cork. Much of our myth, legend and history is centred around crumbling castles and their grounds, spawning stories that have been passed from generation to generation.

Whether you’re looking for a spooky tour of some haunted castles in Ireland, want to take a closer look at artefacts and furniture, or are on the hunt for a historical experience, one of these 9 top Irish castles should definitely be on your vacation itinerary. Here are the 9 best castles to visit in Ireland.

King John’s Castle

King John’s Castle

At the heart of Limerick City lies King John’s Castle. The monument was built around the 1200s by its namesake, and is currently one of the most painstakingly preserved Anglo-Norman castles in Europe. The castle has been the site of Viking settlements and bloody battles alike; it was an especially important part of the 1642 Siege of Limerick.

Today the stronghold is home to a visitor’s centre, a charming café and many interactive exhibits. The castle overlooks the stunning River Shannon – if you visit, be sure to enjoy a coffee whilst taking in the view.

To learn more about King John’s Castle, click here.

Trim Castle

Trim Castle

Based in Trim, Co. Meath, Trim Castle is the largest remaining Anglo-Norman construction in Ireland. It took thirty years to construct and was built in the 12th century. The stronghold was the headquarters of the Lordship of Meath for years. It is also famed for its use as a backdrop in the film Braveheart. Trim is considered to be the oldest castle in Ireland.

Today, the castle has an excellent tour, detailing its bloody history expertly. The castle is open to the public during the period between Easter Saturday and Halloween, and guided Trim castle tours are available from Monday to Friday.

To learn more about Trim Castle, click here.

Donegal Castle

Donegal Castle

Dominating the centre of Donegal town, Donegal Castle is rumoured to have been a Viking stronghold in the 12th century. The part of the castle that stands today was built in 1474, with walls and other extensions being added on over the centuries.

Today Donegal Castle has been restored wonderfully and is available to tour. As you explore the castle, its history is explained through a series of informative panels. It is home to unique and interesting events all year round, including Gaelic evenings.

To learn more about Donegal Castle, click here.

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle

This castle resides in Bunratty Co. Clare, and has been named an official National Monument of Ireland. The fortress has a bloodied past and was the battleground for The Bruce Wars. It has been demolished and re-erected four times total, with the current version dating back to 1425.

The castle is the most complete example of medieval architecture in the country and is home to The Bunratty Collection, a vast selection of important artefacts. The surrounding grounds are also home to the charming Bunratty Folk Park, a recreation of 19th-century Irish life.

To learn more about Bunratty Castle, click here.

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Named for the county in which it resides, Kilkenny Castle dates back as far as 1172 when it was a wooden stronghold built by Strongbow. The castle has a rich history spanning centuries and was the backdrop for the Norman occupation of Ireland as well as the Civil War.

In modern day, the castle is home to stunning art collections and important pieces of history. The castle and surrounding grounds are available to visit, and the gardens are home to exhibitions and a playground for children. It is one of the most culturally immersive castle tours in Ireland.

To learn more about Kilkenny Castle, click here.

Birr Castle

Birr Castle

Birr Castle is situated in Co. Offaly, in the center of the country and is definitely one of the must-see castles in Ireland. The castle has been in existence since the 12th century and was a lively hub of astronomical pursuits for many decades. The largest telescope in the world (at the time) was constructed here in the 1600s, and could see further into space than any other instrument.

Today, Birr is home to many fun and interesting sights, making it one of the best Irish castle tours. They have a Science Centre as well as some beautiful gardens to explore – Birr is home to the World’s Tallest Hedges, which are over 300 years old!

To learn more about Birr Castle, click here.

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle is without a doubt the most famous entry on our list of the best castles of Ireland. Dating back to the 11th century, it’s one of the oldest structures in the country and is situated in Cork.

The stronghold is best-known for its mythical Blarney Stone, a slab of rock believed to give the Gift of The Gab to anyone who plants a kiss on it. The castle itself has lots of other intriguing features – it isn’t the most famous castle in Ireland for no reason!

Take a tour of the insides before exploring the vast, sprawling grounds. The castle gardens are home to the Witches’ Kitchen, some wish-granting waterfalls as well as a cornucopia of native flora and fauna.

To learn more about Blarney Castle, click here.

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin castle, situated off Dame Street in Dublin City, was a major stronghold and the epicentre of the city for decades. The castle began construction in the 1200s and has a bloody but brilliant history. It’s most infamous for being the British seat of Administration before Ireland gained its independence in 1921.

Today, the castle houses two museums devoted to telling the story of Irish history. The halls are full of sumptuous art, architecture and artefacts that help illustrate the Ireland of old. Specialized tours of the castle are available and there’s no shortage of things to see and do.

To learn more about Dublin Castle, click here.

If you’ve always dreamt of visiting a real-life castle one day, then Go Irish Tours has the vacation for you. Ireland is littered with strongholds and ruins, each one as interesting as the last.

To enquire about booking a tour with us, please click here.

About Ed

My name is Ed short for Edgar. Mixed blood of Latvian and Ireland
I have lived in Mullingar town for most of my life. Traveling around the country is my favorite pass time activity, I have been to many places, and love to explore all the nooks & crannies of Ireland. The beauty of Ireland's landscape is unbelievable sometimes you feel like in a different country. From the serenity of the walk at Glendalough to the humbling feeling of being beside Cliffs of Moher is truly amazing to experience.
When I travel throughout Ireland the hospitality is the one thing that stood out most! Cork is my personal favourite as the people are so nice and welcoming my highlight was the Titanic experience where you feel like one of the passengers who are about to board the ship from the heartbreak pier that still stands to this day.
In Ireland you will always get the warmest welcome in any B&B. My other hobbies are cooking horse riding and fishing. I can’t wait to share the experiences with you for your Trip of a lifetime to this amazing Green Isle.
Sláinte (Cheers)

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About Donna

Hey, my name is Donna and I'm from the town of Mullingar in the Heart of Ireland.

One of my passions is exploring and from my experience, Ireland is a beautiful country to explore. I have so many recommendations but for newcomers to Ireland I definitely opt to send you to Westport for Croagh Patrick & Clew Bay, perfect for hiking scenery and beautiful seafood, 

My favorite place in Ireland is Galway City - I love going for a meal with my friends, followed by a stroll down the cobbled streets, before popping into one of the Traditional Irish Pubs like  An Púcan.

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About Rita

Hi, I’m Rita and I am living in Kilkenny, the Marble city.

Born in Portugal, I fell in love with Ireland from the moment I landed here. I intended to stay for 6 months, and 6 years after I just cannot imagine my life without the Irish ‘craic’. 

Working in Events & Tourism for the last years has been so rewarding - bringing people to see all the magical, undiscovered spots in this country is what I wake up for every day. I have made memories that will last a lifetime, and I work towards creating the same experiences for others visiting the Emerald island. 

My favourite place in Ireland is probably the Dingle Peninsula, where bumpy roads bring the Atlantic ocean and green mountains together. The seafood is just as brilliant as the landscape, which I couldn’t forget to mention, being the foodie that I am!

You could say I am biased when I pick Kilkenny as one of my other top spots - I just can’t get enough of this lively mediaeval city branded by its hospitality.

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About Tina

Hi my name is TinaMarie, I have been working in Travel for over 15 years now and still love it as much as when I just started. There is something very special about bringing people to Ireland because we live here we take pride in our wonderful little country and want the whole world to experience what we are lucky enough to have on our doorstep.

Without a shadow of a doubt my favourite county and city in Ireland is Galway simply due to the dual aspect living you can have in this area the beauty and serenity of the Connemara countryside and the diverse cultural living of Galway city. Come and see firsthand how friendly and welcoming the Irish people are , Stop waiting and make the trip of a lifetime!

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About Sinéad

Hey! My name is Sinéad. I'm from Longford, the heart of the midlands. I'm a countryside girl at heart, depsite living in the capital for a few years while studying. I love the hustle bustle of Dublin city centre, there's always so much going on and so much to do. Although, you can't beat the tranquility of the Irish countryside in my opinion!

Apart from my hometown, one of my favorite place in Ireland has got to be 'The Kingdom' (Kerry). The scenery is just unparalleled. From the idyllic wild Atlantic coasts to our selection of well-known mountain ranges, and everything in between. The ring of Kerry is definitely a must see, the nightlife is pretty great too!!

On my weekends I love to cheer on my local Gaelic football teams. I'd definitely recommend catching a GAA match on your travels!

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About Jessica

Hi, my name is Jessica,

I'm from the town of Mullingar, known as the hidden heartlands of Ireland. Travel is my passion, every weekend I try to visit a few different counties here in Ireland and also explore new and exciting countries. Unfortunately there is just not enough time to visit everywhere I want too on our beautiful island of Ireland, Naturally the next best thing is to help make others dreams come true with the trip of a lifetime to our fair isle!

My two favorite places in Ireland is Galway and Kerry. They are full of great culture, food, scenery, and of course many traditional Irish pubs!! There is always a great lively buzz no matter what time of year you visit.

I look forward to working with many of you in the near future to offer my knowledge, guidance and support for your trip of a lifetime.

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About Ronan


My name is Ronan and I'm from Mullingar (the heart of the Midlands). I have a passion for travelling and have been all over the world. However, my most favourite place in the world is the west of Ireland along the Wild Atlantic Way. From seeing Basking sharks in Keem bay in Achill Island (Mayo), to having a lovely relaxing pint of Guinness in Salthill in Galway, to taking in the majestic Cliffs of Moher in Clare and kayaking alongside dolphins in Dingle bay (Kerry) - it's all just amazing. Oh, and not to forget the delicious Skellig chocolates while looking out at Skellig Michaeal in Kerry, yum!

I love all things sport and food - when I'm not travelling around Ireland I'm cooking up a storm in the kitchen and watching some local GAA (our national sport). I can't wait to help you out and make your trip to Ireland, the trip of a lifetime!

Céad mile fáilte mo chara - (A thousand welcomes my friend).

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