Our good friend Marta guests posts this week on Wyld Family Travel. Marta and her family live in Dublin Ireland. Marta showcases her travels at her ever popular website Learning Escapes.
Ireland is famous for many things cliffs plunging into the ocean, literature, that delicious black concoction called Guinness and of course castles. From medieval forts to elegant manor houses, Ireland counts no less than 30.000 castles in a different state of conservation, many of which open to visitors. Let us explore my Top 5 Castles to visit in Ireland.
Such a wide choice poses quite a challenge to castle seekers: what are the best castles to visit in Ireland? What Irish castles should be on your must-see list? In this article, I narrowed down the choice to 5 Irish castles that should not be missed. Chosen for their beauty, historical importance and natural setting
How many of these Irish castles have you heard of?
Top 5 Castles to visit in Ireland – Dublin castle
Dublin castle opens this list because of the unparalleled role it had in the course of the history of the Republic of Ireland. Located in Dublin city centre, it almost hides under the modern buildings, but if you follow narrow ‘castle street’ it soon reveals its imposing towers and bastions. The castle was first built in 1204 by order of King John of England. It’s strong walls protected the King’s treasure and the offices from which he administered the city. The castle original design went through many alterations over the course of the centuries. It’s role as a bastion of the English crown in Ireland remained until 1922 when the Irish free state was proclaimed. Nowadays it is open to the public for visits, is serves as beautiful backdrop to cultural events and it is used for State ceremonies. http://www.dublincastle.ie/
Top 5 Castles to visit in Ireland – Kilkenny castle
Another inner city castle, this time located in Kilkenny, a medieval city in the heart of Ireland. Kilkenny castle was originally built like Strongbow and remained inhabited from medieval times to the XX century. It was sold to the city of Kilkenny for 50 pounds sterling! The castle is now open to the public and part of it has been fully refurbished to operate as a hotel. For the lucky ones who can afford a night here. The castle offers elegant rooms and a rich breakfast overlooking the stunning inner courtyard.
Top 5 Castles to visit in Ireland – Blarney castle
One of the most famous castles in the whole of the country, Blarney is located in the south of Ireland, near the city of Cork. The castle dates back to about 600 years ago while it is less ancient that many others in the Republic. Blarney gained worldwide fame thanks to the eponymous blarney stone. The Stone said to bestow the gift of eloquence to anyone daring enough to kiss it!
The stone sits below the battlements and to reach it requires some skill. The motivated visitors have to lie on their back and bend backwards (literally) over the parapet to get their lips anywhere near the stone! Originally it was only possible to do so with a reliable friend holding you by the ankles. However, nowadays health and safety procedures imposed the fitting of a railing. Thus making the whole operation more secure.
Top 5 Castles to visit in Ireland – The Rock of Cashel
The rock of Cashel is an ancient fortress perched on a hill. Casheloverlooking the town by the same name. Located in county Tipperary. The rock is now a ruin, but as such, it is very well preserved and an incredibly atmospheric site. Constructed mostly between the XII and XIII century. It sits on a high hill overlooking the otherwise flat land and immediately casts on the visitor a sense of power and might.
Stepping in leaves you no doubts about the ancient origins of the rock and it is easy to believe the legend that says that this is the location where St Patrick converted to Christianity the then Kings of Munster! The rock is enclosed by high walls and it is made of a gothic cathedral, a chapel and a complete round tower.
Top 5 Castles to visit in Ireland – Trim Castle
I couldn’t conclude this list without mentioning Trim castle. Trim is recognised across the world as the backdrop of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. It is easy to understand the choice of Trim as the location for such an epic drama. The castle very much embodies the image of the medieval castle as we know it from Celtic tales and legends and sits with regal might amidst green, windswept lawns.
Trim is the largest Normal castle in Ireland. Trim is now a ruin but its grounds are open to the public and can be visited paying a small fee.
A full-time worker in Disability support and part time traveller when time, money and kids schooling allow.
Next up for Wyld Family Travel is 10 weeks in Europe from November 2016 till January 2017. We will be visiting Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, France, Poland, Iceland, Denmark, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia
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