When you head into the countryside from Dublin, a long fascinating history unfurls in the form of ancient burial mounds and the ruins of past glories and past follies stretching back five millennia. But many of the most captivating sights, perhaps entrenched by movies and TV shows that glamourize these past bastions of power, are in the form of castles. And Ireland has plenty of them. Some are in a state of decay, some are still inhabited and all of them are memorable ways to take a day-trip into the Irish countryside from Dublin.
While Ireland’s castles are all captivating in their own right, three in particular are accessible on a day tour, but not necessarily all of them can be visited in the same day, including Blarney Castle, Malahide Castle and Trim Castle. Therefore, this list presents three of the best castle tours from Dublin, which includes tours that focus on experiencing only one castle fully, or a couple of neighbouring castles more briefly on a longer itinerary.
FROM: €60/per person
Although quite a way from Dublin, this air-conditioned coach trip wends its way through the stunning Irish countryside of County Kildare and the Galtee Mountains. Take in other sights like the cathedral at the Rock of Cashel, before making it to the two castles: Cahir and Blarney. The latter rises up, sturdy and tall still. Climb to the top of Blarney Castle for a chance to kiss the infamous Blarney Stone, which bestows upon the kisser a “gift of the gab”, or the ability to speak convincingly and with eloquence. Guides, transportation and entrance fees are included.
From €49/ per person
This broad ranging tour takes guests on a journey through Irish culture and history over the course of one day. The highlight of the trip is undoubtedly the impressive Norman-era Castle Trim, with its substantial keep and curtain walls which can be explored along the south bank of the River Boyne. But there is much more in County Meath that promises a glimpse of the past, and this tour takes in a good number of those options including a 12th century abbey, the old town of Drogheda and the 5,000-year-old Megalithic Passage Tomb. Meals are not included on the tour.
From €32/ per person
For a castle tour from Dublin that does not require as much travelling, Malahide Castle & Gardens is just 10 miles away from the city centre. This excellent guided tour includes transportation and entrance fees to the castle. The extra knowledge from the guide can help bring this 12th century castle to life. There is also free time to explore on one’s own. After the castle trip, head to Howth Head Peninsula along the coast for a panoramic view of Dublin Bay, and a stop in the village of Howth for a bite to eat (food cost not included), before returning to Dublin.