Top 20 best castles in Ireland, ranked

If you didn’t already know, Ireland draws many people to its shores for many reasons, and its array of beautiful castles is certainly one of them. So let us unveil the 20 best castles in Ireland, ranked.

Believe it or not, Ireland has around 30,000 spectacular castles, including castle ruins, fortified castles, and restored castles. So, those with a love for history will truly be in their element on the island of Ireland.

These incredible symbols of the past are dotted all over the island from north to south and east to west, so no matter where you find yourself on the island, you will almost always stumble across a castle. Did you know you can even rent an entire Irish castle on Airbnb?

Given that castles are embedded in Irish culture, we are excited to unveil the 20 best castles in Ireland. So, next time you fancy a trip back in time to old Ireland, you can marvel at one of these beauties.

So, sit back and take note of these historical landmarks across the country.

IB4UD’s Top 5 fun facts about Castles in Ireland

  • There are approximately 30,000 castles and castle ruins in Ireland.
  • Leap Castle in County Offaly is often regarded as one of the most haunted castles in the world, with a dark and intriguing history.
  • The oldest inhabited castle in Ireland is Killyleagh Castle in County Down, parts of which date back to 1180.
  • Trim Castle in County Meath is the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland and was used as a filming location for the movie “Braveheart.”
  • Blarney Castle is one of the most famous castles in Ireland due to the Blarney stone at the top of the castle, which is said to give the gift of eloquence to those who kiss it.

20. Belfast Castle, Co. Antrim ‒ for amazing views over the Lough

Belfast Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

Overlooking Belfast Lough and providing panoramic vistas over the city, Belfast Castle is an iconic stop-off when in Belfast.

Address: Antrim Rd, Belfast BT15 5GR

19. Enniskillen Castle, Co. Fermanagh ‒ a castle on an island

Everyone needs to visit the museum at Enniskillen Castle.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

This 16th-century castle located in Fermanagh now has a variety of museums to be discovered.

Address: Enniskillen BT74 7HL

READ ALSO: Top 10 BEST things to do in ENNISKILLEN

18. Kylemore Castle, Co. Galway ‒ plenty of fascinating history to discover

Kylemore Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland.

Kylemore Castle, now known as Kylemore Abbey, is a mind-blowing sight to see. It is an absolute must on any west coast trip as one of the best castles in Ireland.

Address: Kylemore Abbey, Pollacappul, Co. Galway

17. Dromoland Castle, Co. Clare ‒ a castle turned luxury hotel

Dromoland Castle is a castle turned hotel.
Credit: Facebook / @dromolandcastle

Now a luxurious five-star hotel, which has hosted many famous names, Dromoland Castle is one to add to your bucket list on a trip to Ireland.

Address: Dromoland, Newmarket on Fergus, Co. Clare

RELATED: The 10 best castles near Dublin you NEED to visit

16. Birr Castle, Co. Offaly ‒ lots to discover

Birr Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

This prominent castle in Birr, County Offaly is home to a science museum and publicly accessible gardens.

Address: Townparks, Birr, Co. Offaly

15. Classiebawn Castle, Co. Sligo ‒ a truly unique sight to behold

Classiebawn Castle has to be seen to be believed.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Located on the west coast near Mullaghmore, this fabulously situated castle is one you need to see in real life.

Address: Mullaghmore, Cliffony, Co. Sligo

RELATED: Top 10 hidden gems in Ireland you won’t believe exist

14. Donegal Castle, Co. Donegal ‒ right in the heart of Donegal town

Donegal Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

The town of Donegal hosts its very own castle, which is located right in the heart, making it significantly important to the area and the locals.

Address: Saint Helens, 11 Castle St, Milltown, Donegal, F94 E3W5

13. Kilkenny Castle, Co. Kilkenny ‒ a stunning medieval castle

Kilkenny Castle is a popular attraction.

As one of the most visited castles in Ireland, Kilkenny Castle stands among the finest attractions we have on offer.

Address: The Parade, Collegepark, Kilkenny, R95 YRK1, Ireland

READ ALSO: The 5 best castles in County Kilkenny

12. Trim Castle, Co. Meath ‒ a popular filming location

Trim Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

As one of the film locations for Mel Gibson’s movie Braveheart, Trim Castle has long been a tourist attraction. Today, it even features a hotel.

Address: Trim Castle, Castle St, Trim, Co. Meath, C15 HN90, Ireland

11. Minard Castle, Co. Kerry ‒ for breathtaking views of the Kerry coast

Minard Castle offers breathtaking views of the Kerry coast.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

One of the quaintest castles in Ireland has to be Minard Castle, which has stunning views across the Iveragh Peninsula.

Address: Kilmurry, Co. Kerry

10. Dunguaire Castle, Co. Galway ‒ a must-visit while in Galway

Dunguaire Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

This picturesque castle, located in Galway Bay, dates back to the 16th-century. It is truly a fantastic sight to behold.

Not far from Galway City, it is a great place to visit while in the area.

Address: Dungory West, Kinvarra, Co. Galway

READ ALSO: 12 castles in Ireland everyone must experience

9. Cahir Castle, Co. Tipperary ‒ one of the very best castles in Ireland

Cahir Castle in Tipperary is fantastic.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

This well-preserved castle is impressive for its size, being one of the largest in Ireland. It is perfectly situated on an island on the River Suir.

Address: Castle St, Townparks, Cahir, Co. Tipperary, E21 P652

8. Malahide Castle, Co. Dublin ‒ just north of the city

Malahide Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland.

Located close to the coastal village of Malahide, Malahide Castle is a 12th-century castle that makes for a great summer day out, with acres of parkland to enjoy.

Address: Back Rd, Broomfield, Dublin

7. Dublin Castle, Co. Dublin ‒ Dublin’s own famous castle

You need to visit Dublin Castle when you're in the city.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

A trip to Dublin is not complete without visiting Dublin Castle, an iconic site that holds much historical significance.

Address: Dame St, Dublin 2

6. Ashford Castle, Co. Mayo ‒ home to one of Ireland’s most luxurious hotels

Ashford Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland.
Credit: Facebook / @AshfordCastleIreland

Ashford Castle is a 13th-century castle that has become one of the finest hotels on the island.

It holds a special place in the hearts of the Irish nation. You just need to feast your eyes on this place.

Address: Ashford Castle Dr, Leaf Island, Cong, Co. Galway

5. Ross Castle, Co. Kerry ‒ a mesmerizing sight

Ross Castle is a mesmerizing sight.
Credit: Flickr / Enrico Strocchi

This 15th-century castle in the kingdom of Kerry is a sight to behold, situated on the shores of Lough Leane in Killarney National Park.

Address: Ross Rd, Ross Island, Killarney, Co. Kerry, V93 V304

4. Blarney Castle, Co. Cork ‒ don’t forget to kiss the Blarney Stone

Blarney Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

One of the best castles in Ireland has to be Blarney Castle, which attracts many people wishing to kiss the world-famous Blarney Stone that makes up part of the castle.

Address: Monacnapa, Blarney, Co. Cork

3. The Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary ‒ a truly iconic historical site

Everyone needs to visit the Rock of Cashel.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

The historical site of the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary is well known among locals and visitors alike, who are enthralled by the dramatic location perched on top of a large outcrop of limestone.

Address: Moor, Cashel, Co. Tipperary

2. Dunluce Castle, Co. Antrim ‒ a breathtaking castle on a cliff

Dunluce Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Accessed via a bridge, this iconic castle in the north of the island is famed for being one of the filming locations for Game of Thrones.

Dunluce Castle is also relatively close to the Giant’s Causeway, one of Northern Ireland’s most iconic attractions.

Address: 87 Dunluce Rd, Bushmills BT57 8UY

1. Bunratty Castle, Co. Clare ‒ one of the best castles in Ireland

Bunratty Castle is a must-visit.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

If there is one castle that everyone has heard about, it has to be Bunratty Castle.

Dating back to the 15th-century, it is among the top attractions in Ireland. Guests could spend hours exploring the incredible castle grounds.

Address: Bunratty West, Bunratty, Co. Clare

Notable mentions

Lough Eske Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland.
Credit: Facebook / @LoughEskeCastle
  • Dunboyne Castle, Co. Meath:This castle turned hotel is a major sight in County Meath.
  • Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford:The imposing Lismore Castle is on a hill overlooking the town of Lismore.
  • Ballinskelligs Castle, Co. Kerry:This impressive castle is situated on a narrow peninsula in County Kerry.
  • Lough Eske Castle, Co. Donegal: Now a luxury hotel, the beautiful Lough Eske Castle is surrounded by the incredible Blue Stack Mountains.

Your questions answered about castles in Ireland

If you still have questions, we’ve got you sorted! In this section, we’ve answered some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions about castles in Ireland.

What part of Ireland has the best castles?

The midlands and west of Ireland are home to fantastic castles.

What is the oldest castle in Ireland?

Kilkea Castle, which was built in the 12th century, is just an hour from Dublin.

How many castles are in Ireland?

It has been said that there are around 30,000 Irish castles to be discovered.

So, there you have it, the 20 best castles in Ireland, all of which have their selling points. Still, whichever one you come across, just know that they all played a huge role in Ireland and your experience today.

What is the largest castle in Ireland?

At a whopping 322,917 square feet (30,000 square metres), Trim Castle is the largest Cambro-Norman castle in Ireland.

What is the best castle tour in Ireland?

We’ve put together a list of the ten best castle tours in Ireland, which will help you decide the one for you.

Are there any castles in Ireland that can be used for a wedding?

Yes, there is! Here is our list of the ten best castles in Ireland for a wedding.

If you are interested in learning more about castles in Ireland, you will find these articles really helpful:

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