As a crucial landmark to Ireland's history, as well as a beautiful building inside and out, Dublin Castle should most definitely be a stop on your Dublin itinerary. The castle was originally built in the 13th century as commissioned by King John in 1204, however much of what remains today was rebuilt from the 18th century onward following a fire in 1684, providing a wonderfully mismatched building to explore.
The castle was officially handed over to the Irish Free State in 1922 after 700 years of British control, and now stands proudly as a key, distinctly Irish landmark in the capital.
The castle is now predominantly a tourist attraction with many different rooms to explore. On your left after the main entrance look out for the Victorian Chapel Royal, an impressive space decorated with more than 90 limestone heads of various Irish saints, with the only remaining original 13th-century feature, the Record Tower, standing tall beside it.
Another iconic spot to look out for is the figure of Justice in the Upper Yard. The figure has her back turned to the city, and became an appropriate symbol for British justice following Irish independence. Bedford Tower is also in the yard, and is the site from which the Irish Crown Jewels are thought to have been stolen in 1907, never to be found again...
It's also worth paying a visit to the Medieval under-croft of the castle, an area of fascinating remains which the castle was built on top of, thought to have been constructed by the Vikings. It was accidentally discovered in 1986 and is yet another insight into this castle's timeline, spanning hundreds of years.
Today, some of the castle is used by the Irish government for meetings and functions, so many of its attractions can only be visited via a guided tour. By opting for the 70-minute tour, you will have access to the State Apartments, the Viking remains, the Chapel Royal and current exhibitions, making it a great option to make the most of the castle. Tours run every hour, and tickets on the door are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, so it's advisable to book online in advance.
There is also a self-guided tour option with brochures offered in 17 languages, however access is limited to just the State Apartments.
Throughout the Year
December 25th to December 27th
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