Irish Castles Bucket List: 40 Prettiest Ones in Ireland

From Northern to the Republic of Ireland, the stunning landscapes, forest green shades and melodic nature have rightfully earned the country the nickname ‘the Emerald Isle’. The country has a rich heritage in the form of prehistoric monuments, ancient ruins, fortified palaces and, of course, spectacular Irish castles to make you feel like a princess. From crumbled ruins to lavish hotels, I went on a hunt for the best Irish castles.

While there is no official count (rumor has it that there’s over 30,000!), there are thousands of castles in Ireland entwined with strange myths and legends, the beauty of rumbling ruins and towering fortresses. Whether you wish to explore on your own, take a tour or stay the night in a castle hotel, here are my picks for the best castles in Ireland to add to your bucket list.

Irish Castles Bucket List: The Best Castles of Ireland to See (+ Top Irish Castle Hotels to Stay In!)

Irish Castles Bucket List: The Best Castles of Ireland to See (+ Top Irish Castle Hotels to Stay In!)

Irish Castle Hotels to Stay In

1. Ashford Castle (Cong)

A Best Irish Castles list would not be complete with mentioning one of the most famous in Ireland, Ashford Castle. It may remind you a little of Hogwarts, with lush green hillsides and forest on one side, and a grand lake on the other. The spectacular 800 year old castle holds a timeless charm and beauty.

It is a also a great family attraction, as you can plan horseback riding, fishing, and guided tours of the rustic castle with pastoral stone towers and bridges. Over the years, it has been expanded and turned into a five star castle hotel, combining modern amenities with royal and rustic vibes. So, if a stay in a castle is on your bucket list, this would be a beautiful place to do it.

Read More: Here’s What It’s Like to Stay in an 800-Year-Old Irish Castle
Ashford Castle: Website
Stay at Ashford Castle: Check Rates

Ashford Castle: Captivating Castles in Ireland toTour or Stay on Holiday

2. Dromoland Castle (Newmarket on Fergus)

If you are seeking a truly luxurious Irish vacation with Celtic vibes, Dromoland Castle is a perfect option. The five-star castle hotel allows you a chance to live like kings and queens. The hotel is a fine combination of old-world elegance and contemporary comforts where you will be treated like royalty.

Dromoland Castle: Captivating Castles in Ireland to Tour or Stay on Holiday

The 16th-century castle is encapsulated by lush gardens dotted with swaying trees, roses, and lily ponds. There is vast 18-hole championship golf course, walking and hiking trails, a tennis court, and opportunities to try mountain biking, archery, clay pigeon shooting and falconry.

We spent a morning there learning the art of falconry, and later in the day at Dromoland’s Afternoon Tea, a long standing tradition, filled with delicious pastries, bite-size sandwiches and of course hot tea.

Read More: Sleeping in Dromoland Castle in Ireland
Dromoland Castle: Website 
Stay at Dromoland Castle: Check Rates

Dromoland Castle: Captivating Castles in Ireland to Tour or Stay on Holiday

3. Lough Eske Castle Hotel (Donegal)

Lough Eske Castle is a five-star hotel lying at the sandy shores of Lough Eske and its tributaries. The castle is set on 43 acres, surrounded by verdant forested paths, green-blanketed hills and secluded spots making it a popular spot for getaway. Even if you don’t spend the night, it’s worth a stop to just walk the grounds and maybe get a bite to eat.

Also, if you believe the local folklore, then you might come across the terrifying Lough Eske Monster that is rumored to lurk within the depths of the lake.

Read More: Travel: Lough Eske Castle, Ireland
Lough Eske Castle Hotel: Website 
Stay at Lough Eske Castle Hotel: Check Rates

Lough Eske Castle Ireland

4. Abbeyglen Castle (Clifden)

Abbeyglen Castle is a historic castle located in the town of Clifden, west of Ireland. The castle was built in 1832 by John d’Arcy, a wealthy landowner, and passed through several different hands over the years until 1969, when the Hughes family purchased the property. It has since undergone extensive renovation and restoration work to the premier hotel that we now know.

Today, Abbeyglen Castle is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations, and is known for its stunning views of the Twelve Bens Mountains and Atlantic Ocean. Some other sights include The Old Clifden Pier, The d’Arcy Monument, and Clifden Castle.

Visitors to the castle can enjoy good accommodation and different activities, including horse riding, golf, and clay pigeon shooting. They also host various events throughout the year, such as weddings and banquets.

Abbeyglen Castle: Website 
Stay at Abbeyglen Castle: Check Rates

Abbeyglen Castle

5. Cabra Castle (Kingscourt)

Cabra Castle in Ireland is a historic site that has been standing since 1699. The castle was originally built by the O’Reilly family and served as their stronghold for many years. In the mid-17th century, the Castle was successfully besieged by Cromwell’s forces during the Irish Confederate Wars. The Castle then changed hands several times before being restored in the early 19th century.

Today, Cabra Castle is open to the public, visitors can book a room for accommodation, and there are plenty of activities to do. Some of these activities include exploring the different walking trails inside the nearby Dún A Rí Forest Park or visiting other local attractions like the prehistoric passage graves in Brú na Bóinne. The Castle is also home to beautiful gardens and grounds, making it well worth a visit for anyone interested in Irish history or culture.

Cabra Castle: Website 
Stay at Cabra Castle: Check Rates

Cabra Castle

6. Crom Castle (Newtownbutler)

Crom Castle is a historic castle located in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The original castle was built in the early 17th century. However, due to a domestic fire, it was destroyed in 1764. Only parts of the original wall, two towers, and a ha-ha are what remains of the Old Castle.

A newer castle was built in 1840, which is what we see today. Although it is owned and occupied by the Crichton family (Earls of Erne), the West Wing is open for rent to the public. For groups of up to 19 people, the West Wing is rented out year-round on a weekly or long weekend basis.

You can also opt for a cozy holiday getaway to one of their seven self-catering cottages, pitch your tent on two of their family-friendly campsites, or even go glamping at their glamping pods.

Some activities you can do include ogling the Old Castle remains, spotting rare wildlife like pine martens and red squirrels, and exploring Inisherk Island’s woodland trail on a bike.

Crom Castle: Website 
Stay at Crom Castle: Check Rates

7. Kilronan Castle (Ballyfarnon)

Kilronan Castle is an 18th-century castle located in County Roscommon, Ireland. It is open to the public as a hotel and spa, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area.

The Kilronan Castle welcomes visitors through a set of spectacular medieval gates at the end of a winding driveway through an old woodland. The castle is surrounded by fifty acres of lush green property and situated close to a picturesque lough, giving it a fantasy appearance.

While dining at Kilronan Castle is one of the finest dining experiences in Ireland, guests at Kilronan Castle Estate are treated to opulent castle accommodations with four poster mattresses and antique furniture. Pampering oneself is also within reach at their relaxing spa, which offers different facial treatments and massages.

Kilronan Castle: Website 
Stay at Kilronan Castle: Check Rates

Castle in Ireland To See

8. Belfast Castle (Belfast)

Sitting on the green-clad slopes of Cavehill Country Park in Northern Ireland, Belfast Castle charms its visitors with its storybook setting, lush gardens, and splendid vistas. The castle is now a luxury conference center and a perfect venue for your special day.

Have scrumptious meals in their Victorian-style cellar during one of the local food tours, learn about the park’s folklore and history at the exhibition, and visit the castle to gain the legendary luck that the castle bestows upon its residents.

Belfast Castle: Website 

Belfast Castle: Captivating Castles in Ireland toTour or Stay on Holiday

9. Blarney Castle (Blarney)

Situated 8 km from Cork City, the medieval stronghold houses the famous Blarney Stone that lures thousands of people to kiss it. Myself included! There is a mysterious block of carboniferous limestone set into the wall below the battlements, and to kiss it, the person has to hold the railing and lean backwards.

Rumor has it that the one who kisses the stone is endowed with ‘blarney’ that is, the gift of the gab. I initially went to the castle for a chance to kiss the stone in hopes to procure some eloquence and charm. Not so sure it worked.

Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle: Captivating Castles in Ireland toTour or Stay on Holiday

But, there more to this place then simply the famous stone. Just take a look at the Irish castle and its surroundings, and you will feel history dripping down its each block. Apart from the stone, there are lavish gardens, brooks and streams, and woody arboretums. Visit the Bog Garden that has some of oldest trees, waterfalls and a wooden boardwalk lined with Giant Rhubarb.

Then there is the Seven Sisters which is named after the tragic tale of a king and his children boasting beautiful flowers and mystical rocks. If you dare, enter the Poison Garden. You will find some of the most toxic and poisonous plants caged up. After exploring the many gardens, visit the utterly romantic Rock Close and walk down the Wishing Steps, make an exhilarating climb to the battlements, check out the Witch Kitchen and its dying embers and explore the castle from every angle.

Read More: Kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland
Belfast Castle: Website 

Blarney Castle: Captivating Castles in Ireland toTour or Stay on Holiday

10. Doe Castle (Castledoe)

Doe Castle is a medieval stronghold of Clan MacSweeney for over 200 years. Set upon a peninsula encircled by water and trees, the castle is in close proximity to Creeslough in the county of Donegal. Today, it is considered a national monument and a popular spot for proposing your loved ones (how sweet would that be?!?).

The grounds of the castle are open all year round, and during summertime, you can take guided tours of the towers.

Doe Castle: Website

Doe Castle: Captivating Castles in Ireland toTour or Stay on Holiday

11. Donegal Castle (Donegal)

Sitting majestically alongside the awe-inspiring curve of River Eske, Donegal Castle is an iconic monument located in the center of Donegal Town (next to some great pubs!). The castle used to be a Viking fortress in the 12th century. It was rebuilt to the castle in 15th century by the O’Donnell clan.

You can explore the castle on your own or take a guided tour of the rooms within the castle that will offer glimpses of the past in forms of furnishings and decor.

Read More: Donegal Castle
Donegal Castle: Website

Donegal Castle: Captivating Castles in Ireland toTour or Stay on Holiday

12. Dunluce Castle (Bushmills)

Dunluce is a ruined medieval castle that sits on the sheer cliffs of the causeway coast in Northern Ireland. Though the Dunluce Castle is in ruins, it has a rich history to tell. A visit may bring you back to tumultuous times of the 15th century, an era of violence and rebellion. But, its beauty still prevails.

Read More: Dunluce Castle
Dunluce Castle: Website

Dunluce Castle

13. Enniskillen Castle (Enniskillen)

Sitting beside the River Erne in Northern Ireland’s county of Fermanagh, the picturesque castle of Enniskillen is a 600 year old treasure found right in the middle of the small Irish town of the same name. I had to maneuver some heavy traffic to get there, but it was worth it!

You can explore the museums nestled inside the castle and its enchanting surroundings. Fermanagh County Museum is open all around the year and features award-winning exhibits on Ireland’s prehistoric history, nature, wildlife and landscapes, culture, traditions, and a lot more.

Read More: A Brief History of Enniskillen Castle
Enniskillen Castle: Website

14. Glenveagh Castle (Church Hill)

Built in 1867, Glenveagh Castle is a humongous mansion with castellated towers located within the perimeters of Glenveagh National Park in the county of Donegal. The castle is encircled by the renowned Glenveagh Gardens, idyllic lakes, narrow valleys and mountains, and a serene ambience.

Glenveagh Castle

Though you can walk to the castle from the parks visitor’s center, to save some time I took the shuttle that dropped me off right at the front door.

Read More: Glenveagh Castle & Glenveagh National Park
Glenveagh Castle: Website

15. Kilkenny Castle (Kilkenny)

The history of Kilkenny Castle can be traced back to the 13th century, so it’s quite impressive to see that it’s still fully restored and well maintained. The castle has a modern vibe with timely renovations and tasteful art gallery and gardens. It is surrounded by fifty acres of rolling parklands filled with exotic wildlife and towering trees.

Read More: Kilkenny Castle
Kilkenny Castle: Website

Captivating Castles in Ireland toTour or Stay on Holiday

16. Malahide Castle (Broomfield)

If you’re staying in Dublin, the stunning Malahide Castle is only 30-minutes from the city center. Explore the private rooms adorned with tasteful art and rustic furniture and discover the 800 years’ worth of heritage held within the castle walls. The beautiful 260 acre parkland near the castle is included as part of the tour and contains over 5000 exotic plants and a butterfly house!

Read More: Malahide Castle
Malahide Castle: Website

Captivating Castles in Ireland toTour or Stay on Holiday

17. Ross Castle (Killarney)

Ross castle was built in the 15th century, and the structure overlooks the tranquil Killarney’s lower lake. There’s a lot of mystic allure and folktales surrounding the castle, one of which states that O’Donoghue – the builder of the castle, is still alive at the bottom of the lake in a deep slumber and resurfaces every seven years to circle the lake.

Take a boat trip to the Ross Castle and be assured of good fortune if you catch a glimpse of mighty O’Donoghue!

Read More: Ross Castle – Ireland’s Tall Maiden (History & Travel Tips)
Ross Castle:

Captivating Castles in Ireland toTour or Stay on Holiday

18. Slane Castle (Slane)

Slane Castle is an architectural prodigy with a theatrical setting by the flowing river Boyne, and a backdrop of the Boyne Valley of County Meath. The castle serves as a venue for events and celebrations. But, even more bucket list worthy then just visiting the castle is to attend one of their concerts. Yep, you can see a concert at a castle! Bands like U2 and the Rolling Stones have performed there in the past. Keep you eye out on their concert schedule to see who’s coming up next.

You can take guided tours and absorb the beauty of the majestic ballroom, historic bedrooms, intriguing staircases and the Celtic stories behind the artifacts and relics.

Slane Castle: Captivating Castles in Ireland to Tour or Stay on Holiday

One of the best parts about this castle is that it is right next door to the Slane Whiskey Distillery where you can have a pre-castle Irish whiskey tasting!

Read More: The Irish Castle Saved by Rock ‘n’ Roll
Slane Castle: Website

19. Trim Castle (Trim)

If you are a fan of Braveheart, then you must stop at Trim Castle which was one of the locations for filming. It is the largest Norman castle in Ireland and a guided tour of the magnificent Norman architecture is well worth your time. It is partly restored and surrounded by lush green grounds.

You can walk the path around the castle and along the Boyne River to take in its stunning beauty from all angles. The ruins of the castle have a story to tell, as it stands as the bones of what once was a grandiose architecture.

Read More: Trim Castle
Trim Castle:

Trim Castle: Captivating Castles in Ireland to Tour or Stay on Holiday

20. Birr Castle (Birr)

Birr Castle is a historic site in Ireland that is rich in history. The Castle was constructed atop a motte during the Anglo-Norman period, and later passed into the hands of the O’Carroll clan, who held it for centuries. Today, it serves as the home of the Parsons family.

Although the castle is not open to the public, there are plenty of fascinating things to see on its grounds. These include gift shops, cafes, Ireland’s Historic Science Center, walled and featuring the tallest box hedges in the world, and more. Visitors can also have a walk into their parklands, waterfalls, and treehouse playgrounds. Birr Castle is a fascinating site that offers a glimpse into Ireland’s rich history.

Read More: Birr Castle
Birr Castle: Website

21. Blackrock Castle (Blackrock)

Blackrock Castle is located on the banks of the River Lee, not far from Cork City Center. Blackrock Castle, once utilized to keep the city safe from pirates, now serves as a functional observatory. The castle had numerous ownership changes in the 20th century; it served mostly as a gathering venue and company headquarters.

Today, you can tour the castle, investigate the self-guided science exhibits, and engage in interactive exhibit game play during your visit. The science exhibits take you through contemporary discoveries on Earth and deep space, while the tour takes you through the history of smugglers and pirates in the castle. Even a planetarium performance is available.

Read More: A Castellated Fortification – Blackrock Castle
Blackrock Castle: Website

Blackrock Castle

22. Bunratty Castle (Bunratty)

Powerful and majestic, Bunratty Castle rules the area in which it is located. This impressive Castle can be plainly seen long before reaching Bunratty thanks to its ideal location just a short distance from the Shannon Estuary, 15 kilometers west of Limerick City, and 12 kilometers from Shannon Airport.

Bunratty Castle

Today, a yearly Middle Ages-style banquet is held at Bunratty Castle, and is open to visitors all year. The Castle’s design also displays its previous splendor, with the medieval theme adorning several of its chambers. It also has a great hall, bedrooms, towers, and lots of gardens.

Read More: Castles of Ireland: Bunratty Castle
Bunratty Castle: Website

Bunratty Castle

23. Cahir Castle (Cahir)

The reputation of being one of Ireland’s largest and best preserved castles belongs to Cahir Castle. You may get a solid understanding of the conventional defenses utilized by castles during this period by taking a tour of this stunning building.

Visitors can explore the many rooms and towers and see what life was like for the castle’s residents centuries ago. Even if you’re not particularly interested in history, Cahir Castle is worth a visit for its sheer size and beauty. So if you’re ever in Ireland, be sure to add Cahir Castle to your itinerary.

Read More: Visiting Cahir Castle in Cahir, Ireland
Cahir Castle: Website

24. Carrickfergus Castle (Carrickfergus)

For all lovers of history and culture, Carrickfergus Castle is a must-see location. Located on the beaches of Belfast Lough, this remarkable 800-year-old monument is an integral element of Irish culture as a whole and is considered the best example of Norman construction.

A visit will let you explore the different locations in the castle, with scenic views of the sea and various historical artifacts (like cannons) and statues on display.

Read More: Discover Carrickfergus Castle: The Strongman
Carrickfergus Castle: Website

Carrickfergus Castle

25. Castle Ward (Strangford)

Castle Ward is a building with a view of the Strangford Lough in the community of Strangford in County Down, Northern Ireland. The National Trust currently owns the castle, which was constructed in the 18th century for The First Viscount of Bangor. Because Lord Bangor and his wife Lady Ann Bligh had diverse tastes in design, the castle was built utilizing a blend of two different architectural styles.

Today, Castle Ward is open to the public as a tourist attraction and historical site. Visitors can explore the house and gardens, and learn about the castle’s history through guided tours and audio-visual presentations. And if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you might even recognize some of the locations used on the show, especially at Castle Ward.

Read More: Castle Ward: The National Trust’s Winterfell
Castle Ward: Website

26. Castlefreke Castle (Castlefreke)

In the village of Rathbarry stands Castlefreke Castle, one of Ireland’s less well-known castles. It was built during the 15th century and was known as Rathbarry, named after its original owners, the Barry family. During the 17th century, the Freke family acquired the castle and renamed it Castlefreke. Ongoing renovations are being made by Stephen Evans-Freke (youngest son of the late 11th Lord Carbery), with plans to move their family-owned distillery to the castle’s restored wing.

Due to safety reasons, getting near the property is not possible. Nevertheless, the castle is as stunning as the surrounding views of the sea, woodlands, and gardens. You can also find the ruins of a 19th-century church and graveyard around the castle’s area.

Read More: Castle Freke
Castlefreke: Website

24. Classiebawn Castle (Mullaghmore)

On the Mullaghmore Peninsula in County Sligo, Classiebawn Castle was a late 19th-century rural residence meant for The 3rd Viscount Palmerston. The viscount passed away before its completion in 1874 and was passed down to different people over the years.

One of its previous owners, Lord Mountbatten, met a tragic fate when his ship was blown up by the IRA in 1979, giving rise to eerie legends about the castle. According to legend, his ghost is still wandering the castle’s corridors, unable to find rest after his violent and unexpected passing.

Today, the castle and 3000 acres of the surrounding lands are owned by the estate of Hugh Tunney. Although getting close is impossible due to the castle being on private land, its impressive facade as it sits on a hill overlooking Mullaghmore village and the Atlantic Ocean is definitely a breathtaking sight worth seeing.

Read More: Classiebawn Castle: Owned by Royals and Inhabited by Ghosts
Classiebawn Castle: Website

Classiebawn Castle

25. Clough Oughter Castle (Lough Ooughter)

Built on a man-made island (called a crannog) in the center of the Lough Oughter network of waterways, the fairytale-like Clough Oughter Castle is truly a sight to behold. This circular castle has stood since the 1200s, coming under control by different clans at the time. Fast forward a few hundred years, it mainly served as a prison under rebel force’s control during the Irish Rebellion of 1641. In March 1653, it came under heavy cannon fire from Commonwealth forces, the damage still visible until this day.

As the castle is surrounded by water, the only way to reach it is by boat/kayak. Visitors can explore the castle ruins and enjoy a nice picnic on the small island. It is also near other attractions like the scenic Killykeen Forest Park.

Read More: Magical Ireland: Welcome To Clough Oughter (A Castle On A Man-Made Island In Cavan)
Clough Oughter Castle: Website

26. Doonagore Castle (Ballycullaun)

Doolin’s famous tower house castle, Doonagore Castle, is perched on a hill overlooking Doolin Point. The boats that are approaching Doolin pier use this as one of their navigational markers. With a view of Doolin Point, the Aran Islands, Clare, and the hills of Connemara beyond, it truly is something out of a fairy tale. As the castle is a private holiday home, it is inaccessible to the public.

Read More: Doonagore Castle: The Disney-Like Tower In County Clare That Witnessed 170 Murders
Doonagore Castle: Website

Doonagore Castle

27. Dublin Castle (Dublin)

The Dublin Castle is Dublin’s historic center, ranking among the most significant structures in Irish history. It got its name from the traditional Irish words “Dubh Linn,” which means black pool, referring to the body of water near where the Castle was built. The Castle underwent extensive reconstruction in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, changing it from a medieval bulwark to a Georgian mansion.

You can visit Dublin Castle as a tourist and view areas such as the State Apartments and other exhibitions yourself, or on a guided tour if you also wish to see the Medieval Undercroft and Chapel Royal.

Read More: Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle: Website

Dublin Castle

28. Dunamase Castle (Dunamaise)

You may discover the stunning 12th-century hilltop castle ruin known as Dunamase Castle atop a landform known as the Rock of Dunamase in County Laois, about an hour and a half south-southwest of Dublin. It used to be a Christian settlement back in the 9th century, before it was attacked by the Vikings of Dublin in 845. The castle itself was built around the later half of the 12th century. Although no records tell how the place went into ruin, local legends say it was blown up by Cromwellian forces during the 1650s.

Today, the castle is free to see and ready for you to explore. An audio guide is also available at the County Laois website, which gives you an overview of its history and the different areas that comprise the castle ruins. Of course, the hilltop will also treat you with scenic countryside views, which adds more to the experience.

Read More: Visit The Rock od Dunamaise
Dunamaise Castle: Website

Dunamase Castle

29. Dunguaire Castle (Kinvarra)

This medieval castle, which can be seen in County Galway not far from the community of Kinvara, was the center of Ireland’s literary renaissance. On the beaches of Galway Bay, the O’Hynes family constructed Dunguaire Castle around 1520. Oliver St. John Gogarty, a well-known surgeon, and author, purchased the castle in 1924 and repaired the curtain walls and tower house.

Since Shannon Group now owns the castle, its yearly Medieval Banquets continue the customs of King Guaire and 16th-century Ireland. You can ascend to the tower house’s top for breathtaking views of Kinvara and Galway Bay. The four stories of the castle, as well as the castle’s outside can both be explored.

Read More: Dunguaire Castle
Dunguaire Castle: Website

Dunguaire Castle

30. Hillsborough Royal Castle (Hillsborough)

Hillsborough Castle is a complete British royal treasure that may be found in the village of Hillsborough, County Down in Northern Ireland. The castle, which was constructed in the 18th century, is more akin to a Georgian country house. When visiting Northern Ireland, members of the British royal family have an official residence at the castle.

In recent years, the castle has undergone extensive refurbishment and is now open to the public for tours and events. Hillsborough Castle is a living reminder of Ireland’s rich history, and offers visitors a unique glimpse into British royalty.

Read More: The historic grounds of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens
Hillsborough Royal Castle: Website

31. King John’s Castle (Limerick)

King John’s Castle is a 13th-century castle located on King’s Island in Limerick, Ireland, originally built to defend the river crossing. The castle was substantially damaged during these sieges, and much of it was demolished afterwards. A massive rebuilding was made during 2011 to 2013, which added modern facilities and improvements to the castle.

Today, the imprints of the wattle and daub medieval homes, the original ringed town walls, and later extensions and battlements, which allowed the castle to grow into a significant strategic bastion between rival factions in the area, are all still visible today. You can also take a tour inside the castle, see their interactive exhibitions, and even enjoy views of the courtyard and river at their cafe.

Read More: King John’s Castle
King John’s Castle: Website

King John’s Castle

32. Kylemore Castle (Pollacappul)

Kylemore Abbey, which has a highly Victorian feel, is home to the Benedictine Order of Nuns, who have resided in the abbey since 1920. Located in the Connemara region in western County Galway, it features a spectacular walled garden, several nature paths, a neo-gothic church, and an incredible castle with over 70 rooms.

The architecture has a delicate aspect, and the castle’s location right next to a peaceful lake gives visitors the feeling that they are traveling back in time. So whether you’re interested in its history or beauty, Kylemore Castle is worth a visit.

Read More: Kylemore Abbey – the incredible story of an Irish castle on a lake
Kylemore Castle: Website

33. Leamaneh Castle (County Clare)

Leamaneh Castle’s ruins are located in the center of a private farmland on the edges of the Burren in County Clare, Ireland. As such, getting close is not possible. One can only gaze in admiration at the castle as it has been in ruins since the 18th century.

Most bus tours of the Burren, a large, rocky area covering much of southern County Clare, will make a brief halt here so you may take some photos. On the side of the road, there is a little pullout where you can pause to take pictures.

Read More: Red Mary – The Ghost of Leamaneh Castle
Leamaneh Castle: Website

Leamaneh Castle

34. Leap Castle (Roscrea)

In County Offaly, Leap Castle is about halfway between Roscrea and Birr, and is one of Ireland’s most well-known castles. The location is also notable for being one of the most infamously spooky castles in the country, with stories of hauntings by the Red Lady walking the halls holding a dagger. Nevertheless, Leap Castle draws tourists from all across Ireland and abroad every year who are interested in learning more about its haunted history and breathtaking natural beauty.

Read More: Leap Castle
Leap Castle: Website

36. Lismore Castle (Lismore)

Lismore Castle is a Gothic-style castle located in Lismore, County Waterford. It is a picture-perfect castle that towers over the Blackwater River and is currently the Irish home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

The castle’s stunning gardens and gallery are open to the public from March to October. If you’re looking to enter the castle itself, however, you need to rent it in its entirety.

Read More: Lismore Castle In Waterford: One Of Ireland’s Most Impressive Castles
Lismore Castle: Website

Lismore Castle

37. Minard Castle (Kilmurry)

Not to be confused with the Scottish castle of the same name, Minard Castle is located magnificently atop a hill overlooking Kilmurry Bay in Dingle. The ruin suffered significant damage from the Cromwellian troops’ 1650 siege, in which no occupant survived. The beach behind Minard Castle is notable because it is a storm bay with big rocks that the surf washed ashore.

While getting near the castle is impossible due to being on private land, the surrounding seascape and landscape are gorgeous and make for an excellent wild camping location.

Read More: Minard Castle
Minard Castle: Website

Minard Castle

38. Parkes Castle (Kilmore)

Situated on the shores of the northern beaches of Lough Gill stands Parke’s Castle. This picturesque plantation-era castle once served as the residence of English plantation owner Robert Parke.

A castle tour will take you to different areas of interest, which include the forge, pigeon tower, and banqueting hall (sometimes used for music recitals and workshops.) It is open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM from the 24th of March until the 26th of October.

Read More: History Of An Irish Castle – Parke’s Castle In County Leitrim
Parkes Castle: Website

39. The Rock of Cashel (Cashel)

Ireland’s County Tipperary is home to the impressive fortress known as The Rock of Cashel, which towers over the town of Cashel. Its illustrious past is influenced by local legends, where it was said to have originated from the Devil’s Bit mountain when St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave. It also served as the seat of the kings of Munster at some point in the past.

Some notable sights on the rock include Cormac’s Chapel, the Cathedral, and a graveyard sporting quite a few high crosses (don’t miss Scully’s Cross, the largest of the bunch!.) It opens seasonally from mid March to mid October, so be sure to book in advance.

Read More: Rock of Cashel
The Rock of Cashel: Website

The Rock of Cashel

40. Tully Castle (Derrygonnelly)

The magnificent fortified castle known as Tully Castle is situated on the southern coast of Lower Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, close to the community of Blaney.

The castle is a significant historical location with a bloody past in North Ireland, where its inhabitants were massacred and the place burnt down on Christmas Eve during the Irish Rebellion of 1641.

Visitors can take a short walking trail giving views of the castle ruins, surrounding landscape, and nearby islands. There’s also a visitor center housing an interactive exhibition and information board where people can learn more about the castle’s history.

Read More: Tully Castle
Tully Castle: Website

Tully Castle

In conclusion, the castles of Ireland offer a fascinating glimpse into the country’s past. These grandiose structures were once the homes of kings and queens, and their story is one of power, politics, and intrigue. Today, they stand as testament to the rich history of this Emerald Isle. Whether you’re visiting Dublin Castle or Kilkenny Castle, be sure to take some time to explore these incredible relics of Ireland’s past.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I earn a commission that helps to keep this blog running—at no extra cost to you. For more information read my full disclosure.

You Might Also Enjoy

Dingle Ireland Pub Bucket List: 20 Best Bars to Drink At
Guinness Storehouse: Touring Dublin’s Popular Beer Factory
Kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland
Sleep in a Castle in Ireland


7 thoughts on “Irish Castles Bucket List: 40 Prettiest Ones in Ireland”

  1. When we had our Ireland trip booked for 2020, we were going to stay at Cabra Castle. We were so excited, but will have to plan the trip again in the near future. We travel with our kids and I was wondering do know if any of the other castle hotels are family-friendly?


Leave a Comment

Annette White the Owner of Bucket List Journey
Hey Bucket Listers!
I'm Annette.

I’m a goal obsessed mid-lifer, traveler, experience collector, fear crusher, digital marketer and author with big bucket list dreams. Let's Connect!

GET MY 2,000 free bucket list ideas

Jump right in and you will get your printable ideas by email: