28 Interesting Dublin Castle Facts You Probably Didn't Know! | Kidadl


28 Interesting Dublin Castle Facts You Probably Didn't Know!

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Do you love castles?

Dublin is definitely a land of magnificent castles. Out of the many castles present in the city, Dublin Castle is undoubtedly the most iconic.

At around 800 years old, Dublin Castle is an old part of this city and country. The castle has seen the city change and develop politically, socially, and economically. From the Viking Age, Dublin Castle has had an important role to play in protecting the city from invaders. First constructed by the English, this castle has played multiple roles, from being a fortress to being a prison. However, much of the original Dublin Castle was lost in the 16th century due to fires, except for the Record Tower. Dublin Castle has since been rebuilt and new components have been added, such as the Chapel Royal and Powder Tower in the lower castle yard. Today, it is an important place that hosts international dignitaries and significant events, like presidential inaugurations and historical exhibitions. Dublin Castle is open for tourists to explore, either on their own or with a guide. It is deemed to be among the most iconic tourist attractions in Dublin.

There are lots of castles in Dublin, but there are 12 prominent ones. However, Dublin Castle is in a league of its own. Continue reading for more mind-blowing facts about this castle in Ireland.

The Location Of Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle is located right in the center of the city on Dame Street. The castle was reportedly built near the very place the Vikings used to harbor their ships.

  • Dublin Castle falls on the way to Christchurch, and is a few kilometers from the famous Trinity College. Other famous landmarks near Dublin Castle are Dublin Zoo, Phoenix Park, Dublin Port, and the National Museum of Ireland.
  • The actual location of the castle is on Dame Street, Dublin 2.
  • Historically, Dublin Castle acted as a manmade form of defense for the city, while on the other two sides, River Poddle did the same. Today, River Poddle runs beneath Dublin Castle. It was built beside Dubb Linn, or black pool (that gives this city its name).
  • Dublin Airport is around 7.8 mi (12.5 km) from Dublin Castle.
  • Located in the city center, Dublin Castle can easily be reached via train, bus, or private taxi. The closest station to the castle is Jervis Station. And the nearest bus station is about two minutes from the castle.
  • The ticket office can be found in the State Apartments section of Dublin Castle.

The History Of Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle's history stretches back to the Viking Age and was constructed in the 13th century. This castle served for almost 700 years as the seat of British rule in Ireland. The building has played multiple roles, from being a military fortress to a law court.

  • Constructed in 1204, Dublin Castle is now 818 years old. Since its construction in 1922, this castle was occupied by the English and the British during their rule in Ireland. In Irish, Dublin Castle is referred to as Caisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath.
  • Originally, the castle was constructed on the orders of England's King John as a medieval fortress. However, with the establishment of the Irish Republic, Dublin Castle was handed over to the Irish government in 1922.
  • The great fires of 1673 and 1684 led to the destruction of most of the original castle. Record Tower is the only remaining original medieval structure. The rest of the building was rebuilt repeatedly between the 17th and 18th centuries. The rebuilt structure transformed the medieval fortress into a Georgian palace.
  • The new palace contained the State Apartments and Chapel Royal Treasury. The State Apartments were residential quarters of court members of the English or British rulers. Today, it acts as a space for hosting exhibitions and functions for international dignitaries visiting Dublin. On the other hand, Chapel Royal is a gothic-inspired Roman Catholic church constructed within Dublin Castle.
  • In 1907, the famous Irish Crown Jewels were stolen from Bedford Tower. While many people were suspected to have committed the thievery, these jewels have never been recovered.
  • The guard room of the castle was captured by a group of 25 as part of the Easter Rising in 1916. However, the coup was quelled quickly after reinforcements were called to protect the castle grounds.
  • The Irish War of Independence was fought against the castle and its residents. In this, three Republicans were killed in 1920 as part of the Bloody Sunday aftermath. The Easter Rising and Irish War of Independence both contributed to the building of the Irish Republic.
  • Presidents of Ireland have been inaugurated in the prestigious St. Patrick's Hall in the State Apartments since 1938. The castle was handed over to the Irish government and Michael Collins by Lord FitzAlan-Howard, the last Viceroy of Ireland.
  • Dublin Castle in Ireland has been host to some very important dignitaries on their state visits. These like dignitaries include Queen Elizabeth II (2011), Bram Stoker (1866), Princess Grace of Monaco (1961), and Benjamin Franklin (1771).
The State Apartments acted as the residential quarters for the royal dignitaries on their visit to Dublin.

The Architecture Of Dublin Castle

This Georgian-style castle is one of the most stunning examples of architecture in Dublin. Even though the castle has been rebuilt and refurbished after the Great Fire, the Record Tower of the castle continues to give it its intimidating medieval look. The new elements have only added to the opulence and grandeur of this multifaceted castle. Dublin Castle is no less in regality to the largest castle in the world, Poland's Malbork Castle.

  • The original design of Dublin Castle, as commissioned by King John, involved a Norman courtyard complete with a central square, tall Dublin city walls, and circular towers protecting the castle on each side. The internal architecture is a mix of Norman, Goth, and Georgian styles. Each room reflects the glory and luxuries of the Viceroys of Ireland.
  • The upper courtyard of the south range is where State Apartments are located. Some of its architectural wonders are the imposing grand staircase, neoclassical state corridor, exquisite galleries with its splendid Rocco plasterwork, simple pink-colored James Connolly Room, Apollo Room, designed to suit the god, luxurious Throne Room, Gothic Room with its goth-influence and pointed arches, and grand St. Patrick Hall.
  • The Record, Wardrobe, and Gunner Tower are the imposing round towers in the castle. Being the only surviving building of the original castle, the structure looks exactly right for the purpose it was constructed for, that of a medieval fortress. Apart from Record Tower, there are four round towers, namely Bermingham Tower, Bedford Tower, Powder Tower, and Cork Tower.
  • Another example of Gothic architecture is revealed in Chapel Royal. This beautiful Roman Catholic Church is known for its intricate arches, stained glass windows, woodwork, and statues.
  • Even the memorial gardens of Dublin Castle compliment the entire structure. The well-manicured gardens have aesthetically designed memorial plaques and statues, making them an integral part of the castle.

Activities To Do At Dublin Castle

No visit to Dublin is complete without a self-guided or guided tour of the stunning Dublin Castle. Apart from the tour of the castle, you can also explore the famous castle gardens, take a refreshment break at Terrace café, or participate in one of the many exhibitions hosted in this medieval castle. There are many things to do at Dublin Castle, so you may end up spending an entire day leisurely strolling and admiring the stunning corners of Dublin's number one tourist attraction.

  • The number one and most obvious thing to do when visiting Dublin Castle is to book a self-guided tour. There is an option for a guided tour as well, however, seats for the same are limited. Most of the tour is accessible except for the Medieval Undercroft portion of the tour.
  • During the tour, you will pass through three sections of the castle. The first is the State Apartments where the members of viceregal court used to stay and host their annual functions. Today, this area in the southern part of the Great Courtyard is used to host presidential functions. The Medieval Undercroft is the area of Viking Excavation where the ruins of the original Dublin Castle were found. The next part is the Chapel Royal, which was opened to the public in 1819. Francis Johnston designed this chapel that is known for its vaulting and elaborate woodwork.
  • A visit to the Subterranean Chamber is a must as it showcases the original remains of the Viking Age in Dublin. The original moat, postern gate, and other relics meant as a defense system for the Vikings have been excavated and preserved in pristine form.
  • Record Tower is one of the oldest parts of Dublin, not to mention the only original section of Dublin Castle. The walls of Record Tower are as thick as 15.7 ft (4.8 m).
  • You can also spend some time exploring the castle gardens that have been established in the 17th century. Apart from the four seasons garden, there are four miniature gardens, each dedicated to a special cause. The first one is dedicated to Veronica Guerin, an investigative journalist. The second one is dedicated to the 30,000 volunteers of the Special Olympics held in Dublin in 2003. The largest garden is the third one, which is known as Garda Memorial Garden. This garden is dedicated to the Gardaí, or Irish police, who have passed away in the line of duty.
  • At the heart of the garden is Dubh Linn Garden. This famous garden has a pattern that resembles sea serpents. The name is derived from Dubh Linn, or black pool, where the garden is situated. It was the site where Vikings used to harbor their ships and it is what gave the city its name.
  • Apart from the tour, you can also visit Terrace Cafe for a quick refreshment break or even breakfast. This cafe is considered one of the most romantic spots of Dublin due to the panoramic views of the castle gardens. Apart from Irish treats, the cafe also serves vegetarian and gluten-free options.
  • Many exhibitions are also hosted in St. Patrick's Hall, Coach House Galleries, and State Apartments Galleries. You can check the official Dublin Castle website for exhibition calendar and attend accordingly.
Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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