Dublin Castle. Castle in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin Castle

Castle in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin Castle Photo ©

Dublin Castle

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Not
	Oxford - Dublin Castle
Not Oxford - Dublin Castle. Photo by skittledog
Dublin Castle is an important government building in Dublin, Ireland, and is located in the heart of the city. A former seat of British rule in Ireland, it is now used for major state receptions and Presidential inaugurations. Some of the rooms are open to the public: the State Apartments, Undercroft, Heritage Center, and Chapel Royal.

After its founding in the 13th century, Dublin Castle has been a military stronghold, a treasury, a prison, courts of law, and the seat of various rulers.

History

The castle stands on a high ridge, which is in fact the highest ground in the area. This easily-defendable, strategic site may even have been the site of a Gaelic ringfort, before the Vikings built a fortress there in 930.

After the Norman invasion of 1169, a wooden and stone castle was built at the site in 1170. In 1124, King John of England ordered the construction of a much larger and powerful castle with thick walls and ditches. The new stronghold would serve as a military fortress, administration of justice, and safe place where the King’s treasury was kept. Dublin Castle was completed in 1230 and the present-day Great Courtyard is located at that site. The only remaining part of that first medieval castle is the Southeast Record Tower.

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Dublin Castle. Photo by unknown
Many of the castle’s functions changed over the following centuries. However, it always was the seat of English power in Ireland. It served as a prison, treasury, army barracks, police station, weapons storage, etcetera. By 1570, several additions had been made, such as a chapel, the Castle Gardens, a clock tower, and a new Deputie’s House. In 1684, almost the entire complex was destroyed by a fire. This devastating event marked the beginning of modern-day Dublin Castle. Many buildings were taken down after the fire and the castle was transformed from a fortress into a Georgian palace.

After the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, Dublin Castle was no longer a seat of administration. It became a ceremonial site, where the Irish Presidents are inaugurated, official events are held, and governmental councils take place. Part of the castle is now a major tourist attraction in Dublin.

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Dublin Castle. Photo by unknown

Visiting Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle provides an overview of the evolution of the city. It covers an area of 11 acres and consists of two gardens, an international conference center, two museums, two cafés, government buildings, and the State Apartments. You can explore the grounds of the castle for free, as well as the Chester Beatty Library, which is located there too, the Garda Museum, the Revenue Museum, and the Chapel Royal. You could also visit the State Apartment, but only by with a guide and after buying a €5 ($5.18) ticket.

The State Apartments are the most important state rooms in the country. They are used for inaugurations, state visits, official declarations, ceremonies, and the like. This section of Dublin Castle consists of the former rooms used by the rulers of Ireland. The main rooms are the Throne Room, State Drawing Room, State Dining Room, St. Patrick’s Hall, State Bedrooms, and the State Corridor. All these rooms and hallways are exquisitely decorated, luxurious and well-worth your time and money.
Another major highlight of the castle is the Undercroft. Located at the lower ground floor, this is where the city walls joined the castle. A double archway and gate are still visible, as is the early Viking defense bank.

Both the State Apartments and the Undercroft can be visited on guided tours, which take place between 10AM and 4.45PM from Monday through Saturday, and from noon until 4.45PM on Sundays.

The Chapel Royal, another landmark on the castle grounds, is free to visit and is renowned for its carved oaks, galleries, fine decoration, and vaulting. Highlights inside this great structure are the coats of arms of the former rulers of Dublin and occupied Ireland, from the very first ruler in 1172 until the last in 1922.

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Dublin Castle. Photo by unknown
]The Revenue Museum offers a fascinating insight into how taxes and duties have been collected in Ireland throughout the centuries. Exhibits include counterfeit goods, video footages, and interactive smuggling games. This museum is also admission-free and is open on weekdays from 10AM until 4PM.

You can grab a bite to eat at the Silk Road Café next to the Chester Beatty Library and buy souvenirs at the Gift Shop.

How to Get There

Dublin Castle is located in the Dublin city center, right off Dame Street, behind City Hall and about a five-minute walk from Trinity College Dublin towards Christ Church Cathedral. You can also get there by bus along the routes 77a, 56a, 49, and 747 Airlink. Bus stops are either on Dame Street or Lord Edward Street.

Similar Landmarks

Dublin is filled with major landmarks. Other ones are Kilmainham Gaol, the Guinness Storehouse, St Stephen’s Green, Temple Bar, and Phoenix Park.

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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Dec 27, 2014

Pictures of Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle - Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle - Photo by Carlos Vargas

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