No trip to Dublin is complete without a visit to one of the city’s most famous landmarks, Dublin Castle. Located between Trinity College and Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin Castle doesn’t exactly look like a typical castle – certainly not the kind you see or read about in fairy tales anyway! Having said this, those who do take the time to visit this distinguished landmark will not be disappointed. Dublin Castle has played a role in some of the key moments in Irish history after all.
Originally built in the 13th century, the castle burned down in 1684. Sir William Robinson then re-built the castle with the aim of using the building to house the government in a fine residence. The Record Tower is the only truly medieval feature on the castle ground that remains.
When viewed from the park grounds, the unique mixture of architectural styles from different eras becomes evident. The castle grounds consist of the 13th-century Bermingham Tower, the Octagonal Tower that was built in 1812, the Georgian State Apartments, the Chapel and the Record Tower, which features the Garda Museum in the basement. The inner yards of Dublin Castle are surrounded by varying brickwork, which adds to the fascinating combination of architectural styles that can be seen all throughout the structure.
Chester Beatty Library
Dublin Castle is also home to the world famous Chester Beatty Library, which was voted one of the city’s best tourist attractions on TripAdvisor. The Chester Beatty is free to enter and explore and features manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and decorative arts from Sir Alfred Chester Beatty.
If you fancy getting an insight into the long history of the collection of taxes and duties in Ireland, Dublin Castle also houses the Revenue Museum. If learning about taxes and duties isn’t your thing, the Revenue Museum offers a way more interesting experience than you might think. Exhibits at the museum include interactive goods smuggling games, old video footage of alcohol duty assessments and counterfeit goods equipment from previous eras. The Revenue Museum now sounds a lot more interesting, right?
Bermingham Tower and the Record Tower
The Bermingham Tower and the Record Tower are pretty cool too, by anyone’s standards. Dublin’s medieval heritage is barely existent nowadays, but these two towers stand strong as reminders of the lasting medieval era in Ireland.
While visitors to Dublin Castle are free to roam the grounds as they please, entry to the State Apartments, Medieval Undercroft and Royal Chapel inside the castle is strictly by tour only. There is a lot to see in the State Apartments alone, including a throne brought by William of Orange and other symbols of British rule.
We recommend booking a guided tour that will encompass all of the highlights that Dublin Castle has to offer. After your tour has finished, you can grab a beverage and a bite to eat in the Silk Road Café inside the Chester Beatty Library before taking some time to sit down in the grounds and admire the beauty of the architecture that surrounds you (weather permitting – it is Ireland after all!).