Tourist’s guide to Dublin Castle, the main government building in Ireland

Dublin Castle is the central attraction of Ireland and one of the few places of national importance where an ordinary tourist can go. It is located in the historic center of Dublin and has been decorating the old city for over 900 years.

Dublin Castle

The main government complex of buildings was built in 1204 as a defensive fortress. During the Middle Ages, Dublin Castle became the main outpost of Britain in Ireland – until 1922, English monarchs and governors of kings lived here, state meetings and ceremonies were held, parliaments and courts were located.

Interesting fact! Of the entire complex, built in Dublin in the 13th century, only the Record tower has survived to our times. The rest of the castle was built of wood and burned in a fire in 1678.

Douglas Hyde - First President of Ireland
Douglas Hyde

In the 1930s, when Ireland gained independence, the castle was transferred to the first official government of the country, led by Michael Collins. A little later, the inauguration of the presidents of Ireland began here, and already in 1938 the Dublin Castle became the residence of one of them – Hyde Douglas. From that moment, the defensive complex of Dublin turned into a venue for summits and interstate meetings, receptions of foreign delegations, and festive events.

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Today, Dublin Castle is one of Ireland’s most popular attractions. Here, in the royal chapel, an art center is located, exhibitions and concerts are regularly held in the dungeon, unique old-printed books are stored in the library, and ancient exhibits of oriental origin are stored in the museum.

What is interesting about the Dublin Castle in Ireland? How much is the entrance and when is it better to come? All the detailed information about the main attractions of Dublin and useful tips before visiting are in this article.

Castle structure

State Apartments

This part of the castle is designed specifically for those who like history, ancient interiors and beautiful objects of art. Initially, the state apartments were used as the residence of the vice president and other executive authorities, but today there are meetings of EU representatives in Dublin, a meeting of the Irish parliament and the inauguration of the rulers.

Portraits in The Portrait Gallery
The portrait gallery

Advice! State apartments are the only part of Dublin Castle that you can visit without leaving your home. See what’s inside on the official site of the attraction

State apartments include 9 rooms, each of which is dedicated to a specific theme or period in the history of Dublin and Ireland:

Rooms in which the Vice President lived - The State Apartments Galleries
The state apartments galleries
  1. The State Apartments Galleries – the refined chambers in which the vice president lived with his family;
  2. The James Connolly Room – During the First World War, the Dublin Military Hospital was located here. Here they treated James Connolly, one of the participants in the Easter uprising of Ireland in 1916;
  3. The Apollo Room – the unique ceiling of this room can be viewed for several hours;
  4. Vice Presidents Wives Living Room - The State Drawing Room
    The state drawing room
  5. The State Drawing Room – The living room of the vice presidents’ wives was used to receive important guests. Today in this part of the castle you can see a large collection of old paintings and portraits of the ruling families of Ireland;
  6. The Throne Room – here the receptions of the British monarchs were held;
  7. The Portrait Gallery stores over 20 portraits painted in the 17-18th century. It used to be used as a dining room;
  8. The Wedgwood Room – an old billiard room where representatives of the nobility of Ireland spent their free time;
  9. Castle Round Room - The Gothic Room
    The gothic room
  10. The Gothic Room – The only round castle room in the Gothic style was built for private dinners. Its walls are decorated with a collection of paintings of religious and mythological themes of the 18th century.
  11. St Patrick’s Hall is the largest ceremonial hall in Ireland. For many years it was a meeting place for representatives of the Knight’s Order; for more than a hundred years it has been used to hold meetings at the interstate level and the inauguration of the president.

Viking dungeon

As a result of excavations of the 20th century under the Dublin castle, a whole system of defensive structures was discovered, built by the Vikings almost 1000 years ago. Only the ruins of the powder tower of the 13th century, the remains of a medieval castle and its main gate and many moats have survived to our time. Guided tours are offered here.

Viking dungeon

Is it worth it? If your time is limited, leave a visit to the dungeon for dessert. From the old buildings there was only a pile of stones left, and although listening to their history will be exciting, in other parts of the Dublin Castle you can spend time more interesting.

Record Tower
Record Tower

Built in 1230, the tower is the only part of the old Dublin castle that has survived to this day. Its walls are 4 meters thick and 14 meters high.

Throughout its history, the tower was used for various purposes:

  • Initially, armor and clothing of knights were stored here, in one of the parts there was a treasury and wardrobe of the royal family;
  • Since the 15th century, the tower has become a place of detention for criminals;
  • In the 17th century it was renamed The Gunner’s Tower (shooting tower), the headquarters of the guard was located here;
  • From 1811 to 1989, served as the state archive and treasury.

Note! At the moment, you can’t enter the tower – it is closed for a major restoration.

Royal chapel

The first chapel on this site was built in 1242, but was destroyed in the 17th century. It was restored by 1814, and it gained its popularity as a result after the visit of the British king George IV. In the mid-20th century, the chapel turned into the Roman Catholic Church of Dublin, but today it plays the role of a simple attraction.

Royal Chapel of Dublin Castle

Interesting to know! The chapel features unique stained glass windows and galleries, which depict many of the rulers of Ireland.

Castle gardens

Dublin Castle is decorated with beautiful green gardens, the creation of which has not stopped since the beginning of the 17th century. They are located south of the royal chapel and state apartments, surrounded on all sides by stone walls. Behind the main and largest garden are 4 smaller ones – they are called “Four Seasons”. In each of them, unusual sculptures of people whose trace has remained forever in the history of Ireland are installed.

In memory! One of the gardens is a memorial – the names of all the Irish policemen who died during the execution are recorded here.

Garden called Dubh Linn Garden

The central place in the gardens of Dublin Castle is occupied by a grassy ravine with patterns in the form of sea snakes – the place where the Viking trading and naval base was built more than 1000 years ago. This garden is called Dubh Linn Garden, it is thanks to him that modern Dublin got its name.

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Practical information

Dublin Castle is open daily from 9:45 to 17:45. Please note: you can only enter it until 17:15. You can choose one of two visit options:

Excursion Dublin Castle
  • Guided tour. Lasts 70 minutes, includes visits to state apartments, the royal chapel and the dungeon. It costs 10 € for adults, 8 € for students and senior citizens, 4 € for children 12-17 years old.
  • Independent walk. Tourists can visit only open exhibitions and state. apartments. Entrance costs € 7 for adults, € 6 and € 3 for preferential categories of travelers.

You can buy tickets on the official website of Dublin Castle –

Important! The Royal Gardens and the library are open to all comers, they are not included in the list of paid attractions of the complex.

The castle is located at Dame St Dublin 2. The numbers of suitable buses and trams can be found in the corresponding section on the castle website.

Prices on the page are for June 2018.

Good to know
Shops in the castle gardens
  1. If you are traveling to Dublin Castle in a big company, buy a family ticket. Its cost is 24 € for a guided tour or 17 € for an entrance for two adults and five children under 18 years of age;
  2. The complex has a luggage room, a souvenir shop, a small museum and a cafe. If you came with your food, go straight to the castle gardens – there are many benches and several tables;
  3. At the box office you can ask for a free brochure in Russian with basic information about Dublin Castle;
  4. If you are going on a self-guiding tour, download the Dublin Castle App in advance with a detailed audio guide for public apartments.

Dublin Castle – must see in Ireland. Feel the atmosphere of the Middle Ages! Have a nice trip!

An interesting and high-quality video: a presentation of the city of Dublin for tourists. Watch in 4K.

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