Castles of Ireland…a few of the ones I saw in my travels

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Continuing to highlight Ireland this month I thought I would share the castles of Ireland I came across in my travels. Castles hold a bit of fascination for me. Probably because there are so few in the US and none quite as old as the ones you’ll find in Europe. Castles amaze me because I think of how they were built in a time when there were no cranes, bulldozers or any modern machinery. It was up to the architect and skilled masons of their day to construct these incredible structures. Enjoy the castles both ruined and still standing.

Dunseverick Castle – Antrim Coast

This was the first castle ruin I saw. We were traveling the Antrim coast to Giant’s Causeway and I had my friend pull over. Some of these castles have such dramatic vistas.

Dunluce Castle – Antrim Coast.

Just past Giant’s Causeway sits Dunluce Castle. These castle ruins are available for people to walk in and around. There are even guided tours. Rumor has it that one night the whole kitchen broke off and fell into the sea!

Donegal Castle

This castle is partly restored, part ruin, all amazing. Sitting right in the center of the town of Donegal this castle is meant for you to explore on your own. There is a small entrance fee but make sure that you bring cash because cards are not accepted. If you’re lucky you can chat with the caretaker who will talk your ear off about local and national politics if you give him the chance.

O’Brien’s Tower – Cliffs of Moher

Although it was closed the day we went and extremely windy, I can only imagine what it would have been like to live here. Looking out onto that beautiful blue sea. The Cliffs of Moher are breathtaking.

Ghrainne Castle – Achill Island

When driving the Wild Atlantic Way don’t forget to take a side tour to Achill island. This quiet resort island is a relaxing getaway for a lot of Irish. Many have vacation homes here and I can see why. With beautiful beaches and miles between neighbors, it’s a nice place to unplug and unwind.

Somewhere in Tipperary

I caught sight of this castle on our way back from a hurling match in Tipperary. All I wanted to see on this trip was castles and if you couldn’t find a castle nearby, be sure there was a ruin to wander through like these sheep get to do.

Bunratty Castle & Folk Museum

If you’re in Ireland and visiting the Cliff’s of Moher, Bunratty Castle and Folk Museum is a must. The castle is the first thing that you see upon entering the park. All of the common rooms such as the audience chamber and the chapel/dining rooms all existed in the central part of the castle however to get from floor to floor you had to travel up and down these narrow, steep, winding stairs in each corner. Two of the towers are open for you to view the surrounding lands. The Folk Museum is amazing as well. This open-air museum contains examples of houses people lived in from the early settlers on.

Costa Coffee – Galway

AIB Bank – Galway, once a castle on the city wall.

One of the coolest things is Galway is that they have repurposed two of the castles that bookended the city wall that once boarded the town. One is now a Costa Coffe and one is an AIB Bank.

Kylemore Abbey – Connemara National Park

This place took my breath away. It may have been the atmosphere, it was a cold and foggy day in January but Kylemore Abbey did not disappoint. Once the estate of a business tycoon, it then became an all-girls boarding school run by an order of the Benedictine nuns. The school closed in 2010 but the Nuns stayed on and have turned this estate into a tourist destination.

There are so many other castles in Ireland that I have not had the chance to visit. I’m sure I’ll get to them one day. If you have a castle to share post the photo in the comments below. Until next time.

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