5. King John’s Castle, Co. Limerick
King John’s Castle is situated on Kings Island in Limerick city. It was built on the order of King John in 1200 but he never actually visited it. The Castle fell victim to a number of sieges down through the years but the external walls and turrets are still standing. After a multimillion refurbishment, it was reopened to the public in 2013 and now houses an amazing visitor centre. This includes a state of the art audio-visual exhibition, a courtyard, new cafe and gift shop. It’s open all year round and an online ticket for adults cost €10.50.
4. Ross Castle, Co. Kerry
Beautiful Ross castle is situated just outside the tourist hub of Killarney in County Kerry. The castle was built in the late 15th century and was the stronghold of the O’Donoghue Ross chieftains. The ownership of the castle changed hands down through the years but legend has it that O’Donoghue leapt out of one of the windows of the castle and now lives at the bottom of the lake in a great Palace. Keeping an eye on everything no doubt. The castle is open all year around and it’s €5 for an adult. Entry into the castle is by guided tour only.
3. Glenveagh Castle, Co. Donegal
Glenveagh castle is situated among the stunning surrounds of Glenveagh National Park in County Donegal. This is a much younger castle as it was built by Captain John George Adair in 1870. Captain Adair was known as a cruel man who evicted tenants off their land in order to have a better view from the castle. A curse was put on the Castle which resulted in none of the subsequent owners being able to bear heirs to the family name. The castle was left to the Irish state in the 1970’s so that Glenveagh National Park could be created. The castle is open from January to October. Entry is €7 for adults.
2. Dunguaire Castle, Co. Galway
Dunguaire Castle is situated right on the shores of Galway bay in County Galway. This beautiful tower house was built in the 16th century by the O’Hynes clan. It passed to a few different families down through the years, most notably Oliver St. John Gogarty. Irish literary figures would meet here such as W.B Yeats, Lady Gregory and George Bernard Shaw. It was restored in the 1950’s by Christobel Lady Amptill. Further restoration was completed by Shannon Development who now own the property. The castle is open from April to mid-September and cost of entry is €5.25 for an adult.
1. Bunratty Castle, Co. Clare
Our number one must visit castle is Bunratty Castle in County Clare. There have been 4 different structures built in Bunratty, all of which were attacked and burned. The present structure survived and now tells the story of the Earls of Thomond. The castle is famous all over Ireland for its amazing banquets that entertain visitors from all over the world. A re-enactment of life in the castle takes place at the banquets. The folk village attached to the castle dates back to the 19th century and is a perfect complement to the castle. Entry into the castle and park is €11.55.