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Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle is one of the most famous, storied, notorious, and significant sites in all of Irish history. A tour of Dublin Castle is a must for anyone interested in Irish history.

Dublin Castle is situated in the very heart of historic Dublin. For more than 700 years, from 1200 until the formation of the Irish Republic in 1921, it was the centre of the English colonial administration in Ireland. A sprawling complex of historic buildings from between 930 and 1830, it offers a unique crash course in Irish history.

Dublin Castle's History
In 930, the Vikings built fortifications at the junction of the River Liffey and its tributary, the now underground River Poddle. The site was called Dubh Linn in Gaelic (pronounced Dub Lin), which means Black Water.

When the Normans invaded Dublin in 1169, they picked Dublin Castle as their stronghold. The first 'castle' in the proper sense of the word - stone walls and ditches - was completed by the English in 1230. The Great Courtyard of today corresponds closely with these fortifications, with the Record Tower as the last intact medieval tower of Dublin. The tower served as a high security prison in Tudor times.

Dublin Castle was the dungeon for state prisoners and the seat of Parliament, which met in the Great Hall before the hall burnt down in the great fire of 1684 and Parliament moved to College Green in 1731. The Courts of Law and the Court of Exchequer also met at Dublin Castle.

The Castle further housed the repository of the Royal Treasury and the Royal Mint, army and police barracks, armaments factories and weapons stores.

As a symbol of English reign, Dublin Castle was a key target during the Easter Rising of 1916, which marked the first step towards the end of British rule in Ireland. One of the first fatalities of the Rising was a policeman named O'Brien, who attempted to shut the Castle's Cork Hill Gate on an advancing rebel party. Captain Séan Connolly who fired the shot was killed by army snipers located on the roof of Bedford Tower when he attempted to raise the rebel flag on adjacent City Hall.

Today The Castle is the ceremonial center of Irish political life.  State receptions and functions occur here, and the Castle is a curious mix of ancient and modern constructions.  Like Dublin itself, it contains multiple layers of Irish history.

Opening Hours:


10:00 - 16:45 (Monday - Friday)

14:00 - 16:45 (Saturday / Sunday / Public Holidays)