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Photo Blog: Stunning Castles of Ireland

Posted on May 03, 2018 by Dawn Rainbolt

Who doesn’t love a good castle? Feast your eyes on photos of the castles of Ireland!

One of the most stunning aspects of the Emerald Isle is the sheer diversity of the castles of Ireland. Irish castles are often underrated, and overlooked in favour of fairytale-esque German or French castles – and the few you’ve heard of, like Blarney Castle, are crowded.

To inspire you, take a look at some of the amazing yet lesser-known castles of Ireland.

On this list, you’ll explore castles like :

Parkes Castle, Lough Gill, Co Leitrim

Parkes Castle - castles of Ireland

This fortified manor house sits on the shores of Lough Gill.

Longtime home to the O’Rourkes, Parkes Castle is a fortified manor house on the idyllic shores of Lough Gill. Deep within Yeats Country, the the panoramic Lough Gill has been immortalised by the Irish poet WB Yeats in poems such as “The Lake Isle of Inishfree.”

Rosslee Castle, Easkey, Co Sligo

Easkey Castle Sligo - castles of Ireland

Admire the golden dappled hills surrounding Easkey Castle.

Located on Easkey Beach, this Irish tower house can trace its foundations back to 1207, and stayed in the O’Donnell family for nearly 500 years. Today, the surrounding Easkey Beach is renowned for its great surfing waves.

Bunratty Castle, Co Clare

Bunratty Castle - castles of Ireland

Towering, thick walls, Bunratty Castle is a sight o behold!

A huge and impressive fortification, Bunratty Castle is also home to a folk park dedicated to Irish life in the 18th and 19th centuries. Though the site is much older, the first stone castle dates back to the late 1200s built by a descendant of the famed Norman warrior Strongbow (though the present structure is from the 15th century).

Birr Castle, Co Offaly

Birr Castle - castles of Ireland

Birr Castle surrounded by spring flowers.

Located in the middle of the country in Ireland’s Ancient East, Birr Castle, built in Victorian neo-gothic style, was once home to the world’s biggest telescope during the 1800s!

Rock of Cashel, Co Tipperary

Rock of Cashel - castles of Ireland

Rock of Cashel from the bottom of the so-called Devil’s Rock.

Not exactly a castle, the Rock of Cashel is actually a collection of religious buildings, but started out as the pre-Norman seat of the Kings of Munster. Legend has it that the rock on which the fortified structures were built originated from Devil’s Bit mountain – landing where it is today through the force of St Patrick banishing Satan from the mountain.

Dunluce Castle, Causeway Coast, Co Antrim

Dunluce Castle, Antrim, Northern Ireland

The crumbling Dunluce Castle clings to the clifftop on the Causeway Coast.

Dunluce Castle is a dramatic medieval clifftop fortress along the beautiful long-distance route, the Causeway Coast, a stone’s throw from the Giant’s Causeway. One of the most impressive castles of Ireland, this 13th century castle might remind you a bit of Scotland’s castles as it was long held by Ulster Scots clans. It’s also said that the castle inspired writer CS Lewis’ imaginary castles and worlds in Narnia.

Ross Castle, Killarney National Park, Co Kerry

Ross Castle Killarney - castles of Ireland

The iconic Ross Castle on the shores on Lough Leane.

On the stunning shores of the lakes of Killarney, this spectacular castle – a walled and fortified tower house – dates back to the 15th century and was owned by the O’Donoghue Ross chieftains. The best way to visit is by hiking through the wild landscapes of Killarney National Park to Ross Castle, or via boat on the lovely Lake Leane.

Glenveagh Castle, Glenveagh National Park, Co Donegal

Glenveagh Castle - National Park - castles of Ireland

Panoramic of the stunning Lough Veagh and Glenveagh Castle.

Hugging the shores of Lough Veagh in the remote and devastatingly beautiful Glenveagh National Park, Glenveagh Castle was built during the Victorian times as a hunting lodge. Today the centrepiece of the park, the dramatic lakeside castle setting is perfect for exploring the backcountry of Donegal, voted the coolest place on Earth!

Aughnanure Castle, Connemara, Co Galway

Augnanure Castle - Connemara - castles of ireland

Twilight falls over Augnhanure Castle in the wilds of Connemara.

Hidden in the woods surrounding the picturesque shores of Lough Corrib in Connemara, Aughnanure Castle is a 16th century O’Flaherty tower house with ties to the Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley through her marriage to one of the O’Flahertys. A formidable pirate from western Ireland, Grace O’Malley ruled the waters of Clew Bay and Galway Bay for more than three decades in the 16th century.

Inspired to discover a few Irish castles? Check out exciting Irish adventures to the castles of Ireland!

About the author

Dawn Rainbolt

American by birth but European in spirit, Dawn has called the US, Costa Rica, Spain, England, Poland, France and now Ireland home over the years. While she has travelled to more than 30 countries, she has fallen in love with the rich Irish culture, intriguing history, ancient castles, cheery locals and sweeping landscapes of Ireland.

Read more articles by Dawn


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