Dublin Castle has served many functions since it was built by King John of England in 1230. At that time, the castle was meant to act as a defense center against the current invaders, the Normans, and serve as the seat of the English government. Since then, Dublin Castle has also been the site of the Royal Mint and police headquarters. Today, the castle grounds are a tourist attraction in addition to function as a venue for some Irish government functions and ceremonies, such as the President of Ireland's inauguration, and for conferences, including those of the European Council.
Guided tours take visitors through the grounds, sharing the history and ever-changing purpose of each building. Most notable is the story behind the Record Tower, the only remaining building from the original medieval structure that has miraculously survived centuries worth of fires and warfare that ravaged the other buildings. Other noteworthy areas include the Chester Beatty Library and the Dubhlinn Gardens, which now grow over the spot where there was once a black pool (‘dubh linn’) from which the city of Dublin gets its name.
The long and rich history behind this complex is enough reason to tour Dublin Castle. Even people who are not history buffs will find something of interest within the vast castle grounds. Plan to spend about two hours at the castle learning about Irish history and exploring the lavishly decorated private quarters and entertaining halls of the State Apartments, the State Bedrooms, St. Patrick’s Hall, the State Drawing Room, the Chapel Royal, the Medieval Undercroft, and the Throne Room.
Dublin Castle is open to the public unless a special event is taking place; be sure to check the castle’s schedule ahead of time.Choose to travel with a tour guide for personal attention, or opt for a self-guided tour.Dublin Castle is a stop on most city hop-on, hop-off tours.
How to Get to Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle is located in central Dublin on Dame Street. The castle is accessed easily on foot, by taxi, or via public transportation. City Hall and Trinity College are about a five-minute walk from Dublin Castle and both are well worth a visit.
When to Get There
The castle is open from 9:45am to 4:45pm, with the exception of holidays and special events. Expect some crowds and lines in summer.