Dublin Castle

Discover Dublin Castle on a private tour of Dublin.

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle was constructed in the 13th Century on the site of a Viking settlement. For many years, the HQ of Ireland's British administration and returned to a new Irish Government in 1922.  

Untangle the complex history of Ireland with your guide and discover the treasures of Dublin Castle. See priceless paintings, marble urns, fine furniture and Waterford Crystal chandeliers. See the deconsecrated Chapel Royal; an architectural triumph, an intricately carved gem that must be seen. 

Make Dublin Castle a feature of your first visit to Dublin and enjoy a private guided tour tailored with your interests in mind.

Dublin's Ceremonial Castle

A brief history of Dublin Castle

King John's Castle
Building started in 1204, following King John's order to construct a castle to provide defence for the city. It closely followed typical Norman castle design, a central square contained within four walls with a circular tower at each corner. Set at one corner of the city, it was alongside the River Poddle that provided a natural defensive moat on two sides. The city wall ran from one corner of the castle, enclosing the city area to meet the castle's opposite corner.

Over time, the castle's wooden buildings were renovated and extended using wood and stone. A significant addition was the Great Hall which became used for meetings of the parliament and banquets. A major fire destroyed much of the castle in 1684; only the original fortress's Record Tower remained.

A Palace Emerges
Rebuilding after the fire marked a transformation for the castle. Over some 30 – 40 years the castle was transformed from a medieval defensive structure into a magnificent Georgian Palace. The Viceroy suite of luxurious new State Apartments was used for visiting British. The Viceroy entertained monarchs with elaborate banquets, balls and grand ceremonial occasions. The Chapel Royal seemed a fitting addition to the castle in the 19th Century - Today is an architectural highlight of the property. 

Easter Rising
Following the Easter Rising of 1916, Ireland gained its independence on 16 January 1922, an event signified by the castle's handing over to Michael Collins and the Independent Irish state's new Government. The property became physical evidence of its new freedom. It continues to be used for important State occasions such as the President's inauguration, European summits, and other events. Among the many who have been entertained at Dublin Castle are; Benjamin Franklin, the Duke of Wellington, Daniel O'Connell, Queen Victoria, Charles Dickins, John F Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth II. 

The Crown Jewels
A bit of scandal - In 1907 the Irish Crown Jewels were stolen from the castle, and it was strongly suggested that the Officer of Arms might have been behind the theft. However, due to strong suspicions of his homosexuality (which was illegal at the time) and links to prominent gay men in Westminster, the Government never investigated the robbery. The Irish Crown Jewels are still missing.

State apartments
Entry to the State Apartments is a magnificent staircase made from Connemara marble and on into St Patrick's Hall with its incredible ceiling and elaborate wood and plaster décor. Contained within the Throne room is an impressive throne presented by William of Orange. In contrast, the oval Wedgwood Room room is decorated with Wedgewood China, a Waterford glass chandelier, and Chippendale chairs. The Record Tower was the British administrative centre from the 18th Century until 1922

The castle welcomes over 250,000 visitors per year. It's a visit you'll thoroughly enjoy and will probably take around two hours. There's also a restaurant.

Dublin's highlights

Trinity College and the Book of Kells
The College was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I 'to civilise Ireland with both learning and the Protestant religion and reform these rude people's barbarism.' Today, in more enlightened times, Trinity welcomes all religions and genders. The Book of Kells at Trinity College described as the most beautiful book in the world. The 680 pages of Latin script and painting are fantastic with the monks who copied out and illustrated the four Gospels at the Monastery of Kells clearly very highly skilled.

The National Museum or Ireland
The National Museum of Ireland is another 'must-see' location. Displays of Ireland's fascinating past include treasured artefacts from prehistoric times, the Viking era, Christian crosses, the Broighter Hoard, the Treasury's biggest collection of gold objects, and much more besides. 

St Patricks Cathedral
St Patricks Cathedral, Ireland's largest Cathedral (300ft long), was founded here in 1190 and was where St Patrick baptised converts to Christianity. It also contains the preacher's pulpit, Jonathan Swift, whose tomb is in the south aisle. 

Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle is one of the most important buildings in Irish history. During your visit to the Castle, you will be walking in the footsteps of some of the world's great and good including Benjamin franklin (1771), four state visits by Queen Victoria (between 1849 – 1900), John F Kennedy (1963), and Queen Elizabeth II (2011)to name but a few.

Christchurch Cathedral
Christchurch Cathedral, founded in 1038, stands out among the buildings on the south bank of the Liffey and is a fine example of Gothic architecture. In a glass case, an unusual exhibit is a cat and mouse around 120 years old. The cat was chasing the mouse through the organ's pipes, where both became stuck with the mouse just inches from the cat's paws. 

Kilmainham Gaol
A tour of Kilmainham Gaol is an experience not to be missed. Opened in 1796, it is a national monument. This cold place with its dark corridors and four tiny cold cells was thought to be a model prison. Those held here included sheep stealers, debtors, murders, and prostitutes. Famine victims also ended up here having committed petty crimes to be given regular meals of thin prison gruel. It's an experience that sets you thinking and sheds light on the historical conditions and times that Ireland endured. 

Touring and accommodation
Our Tour Designers will suggest a private guided tour of Dublin Castle and Dublin City based on your interests and preferred pace of travel and time available. We have tour guides with specialist knowledge and those with the personality to work well with families – be enlightened and entertained on a private guided tour of Ireland

Dublin is blessed with a fair number of beautiful hotels with friendly, welcoming staff. The Westbury Dublin is probably in the most desirable location in the centre of all the action and short stroll to all attractions. The Westin Dublin Hotel is also central and close to the River Liffey. Enjoy the elegance of the stunning Merrion Hotel in the historic Georgian quarter of the city. The Shelbourne Hotel is another favourite for International visitors and should be considered.

Dublin's Castle and Palace

Explore the Treasures of Dublin Castle with a Personal Guide

  • VIP Tours Available
  • Viking Excavation
  • The Chapel Royal
  • Tour the State Apartments
  •  Fine Decorative Art

Help us make your trip exceptional

Our UK and EU office based staff will listen to what you want to see and experience.

Whether you are a honeymoon couple, a family or a corporate incentive group, our team’s collective resources will be brought together to build the experience that’s right for you.

We will require your arrival and departure dates, details of your personal preferences and places that you would like to visit as well as the events you would like to experience.

We will then prepare a draft itinerary and send it to you by email for your approval. Once agreed, we will send you a Booking Confirmation with Personalised Itinerary and Information Pack via email.

Contact information

From the UK: +44(0)20 8669 3666

FREE from Canada or the USA: 1-888-472-1799

Email: [email protected]

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