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Dublin Castle

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Built between 1204 and 1230 AD and commissioned by King John of England, Dublin Castle was born as the fortified seat of the the British sovereign in Ireland and was built on the site of a Viking castle. It was handed over to the Irish Free State in 1922 to Michael Collins. A defensive stronghold, Dublin Castle expanded over the centuries to become a topsy turvy collection of buildings and towers, turrets and archways which hint at an often beautiful and historic interior.

Located on Dame Street in the city centre, approximately 500 metres from Trinity College and adjacent to the Chester Beatty Library, the archway entrance leads you into the collection of 14 buildings and a small garden area that are collectively known as Dublin Castle. The site contains 2 museums, 2 cafés, an international conference centre, gardens, Government Buildings and the State Apartments which are the most important state rooms in the country.

The Norman Tower is the oldest building dated from 1226 is an intact Medieval tower which was formerly a high security prison but now houses the Garda (Irish police) museum.

The Chapel Royal is a much later addition to the Castle, dating from 1886, but it is one of the most interesting buildings, with a beautifully intricate Gothic revival exterior. Inside is even more breathtaking with high concave ceilings, a carved wooden gallery, high arched columns and stunning stained glass windows. A beautiful organ stands as the highlight of the chapel.

The Bedford Tower, completed in 1761, occupies the site of the original Norman gate and has a colourful past. The treasures of the Order of Saint Patrick, the “Crown Jewels” of Ireland, were kept in the Office of Arms in this tower facing Dublin Castle's Upper Yard. The jewels disappeared July 6, 1907, just days before the state visit of England's King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. They have never been found.

The Castle also houses the State apartments, which were originally the residential and public quarters of the Viceregal court and is now the venue for all important State functions; in recent times the Inauguration of a new President is held here, and the apartments were used during the Irish Presidency of the European Union. The first floor contains a series of magnificent and plush decorative rooms. It has a splendidly decorated painted ceiling by Italian painter Vincenzo Valdra depicting George III between Britannia and Hibernia as well as other characterised classical virtues such as Liberty and Justice. The other panels depict Saint Patrick converting the Irish kings and tribal leaders, as well as the surrender of the Irish people to Henry II chieftains. Known as Battleaxe Hall, the Throne Room houses a throne gifted by William of Orange. The walls of the Thone Room are rich in oil paintings depicting the heavenly array of Roman gods.

When you're all tired out, grab a cappuccino from the café and kick back and relax in the Dublinn Gardens. Dubhlinn does not refer to the city name, but means ‘Dark Pool' in the Gaelic language and refers to the pool of water that was situated here from ancient times.

Entrance is charged.

Dublin Castle is open to the public:
Monday to Saturday 10.00am – 16.45pm
Sunday 12.00 - 16.45


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