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Dublin Castle

Originally built to defend Norman Dublin, this handsome castle is now the city's historic heart.

TravelCurious Tip

The history of Dublin Castle is peppered with colourful anecdotes and intriguing historical episodes – be sure to ask your guide to recount some of them for you!

Dublin Castle is not quite what the name might lead you to expect. Though it does boast an impressive 800-year history, having been commissioned and built by King John of England in the early 13th Century, only the Record Tower now remains of the original stone structure, and it now feels more akin to an 18th Century stately home than a mighty medieval fortress.


England’s stronghold in Ireland

Nevertheless, the castle is certainly worth a visit, if only because its history is in many respects the history of Dublin itself. Its succession of significant historical episodes peaked a century ago during the fierce struggle for Irish independence, which was eventually secured, together with the keys to the castle, in 1922. You can walk through the room where James Connolly, the leader of the 1916 Easter Rising, was kept prisoner tied to a chair prior to his highly provocative execution. During the Anglo-Irish war for independence a few years later, three key IRA members were tortured and killed within the walls of the castle on the evening of that conflict’s “bloody Sunday”.

Visiting the castle today is thankfully not so harrowing. Its spacious grounds are perfect for a stroll on a sunny day, and there is a café to one side for those who want to rest their weary legs. Taking a tour will allow you to see St. Patrick’s Hall, where new Irish presidents are inaugurated. The highlight of your visit should be a trip down to the undercroft of the castle. Accidentally discovered in 1986, it is possible to see an ancient Viking foundation, as well as the remaining dribble of the River Poddle, which once supplied the moat.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Dublin
Ha’penny Bridge
An elegant icon of Dublin, the first pedestrian bridge to cross the Liffey.
Temple Bar
A lively cultural and creative quarter on the south bank of the River Liffey.
Dublin City Hall
A masterpiece of the civic Georgian architecture for which Dublin is renowned.
Irish Houses of Parliament
Today a branch of the Bank of Ireland, the old Irish Parliament buildings were a radical Neoclassical creation.
Christ Church Cathedral
Dublin's photogenic eldest cathedral has been a place of worship for nearly 1000 years.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
Ireland's largest church, built where St Patrick himself reputedly baptised local Celtic chieftains - and making Dublin a two-cathedral city.

Related Tours

Historic Highlights of Dublin, Private Walking Tour
 Discover the culture and vibrancy of Ireland between the rolling landscapes and foggy skyline, by taking a historical highlights tour.

  • Stroll historic O'Connell Street 
  • Snap photos of Ireland's most famous university, Trinity College
  • Admire Dublin's famous architecture, which spans several centuries and styles
  • Explore Dublin Castle's grounds, and Christ Church Cathedral,  as you learn about its exciting Viking heritage
  • Finish your tour in one of Dublin's most social neighborhoods: Temple Bar

Celtic Pride and Irish Independence

Dublin has a rich 2,000 year old history, spanning from the Celts to the modern day; this curated walking tour will bring that history alive. Your tour will begin with a walk along the famed O’Connell Street, where you will see The Spire, Daniel O'Connell and James Joyce statues and the General Post Office. This is the very spot where the crowds gathered for the Declaration of Irish Independence and which became inspiration for poetry and literature of the era. You will hear all about the many writers and rebels from you knowledgeable local guide. 

Stepping on the Ha’penny Bridge, a beautiful pedestrian bridge that once charged the eponymous half penny to cross, we will cross the River Liffey to walk within the hallowed campus of the famed Trinity College, Ireland’s first and most acclaimed university. Here you will hear about the college’s numerous treasures and tales of renowned past students, including Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker. 

Classical Dublin

Continue your turn about the city with a dive into some of Dublin's most famous architectural buildings, including the Neoclassical 18th century former House of Parliament and the Georgian-style City Hall. 

In the courtyard and garden of Dublin Castle, you will explore the castle’s 800-year history. Near old Christ Church Cathedral you will learn about the area's history as a Viking settlement, and view the site of the world’s first performance of Handel’s Messiah.

You will also visit the famous Temple Bar, Dublin’s cultural and entertainment quarter and one of the liveliest nightlife areas that preserves its medieval street pattern, with many narrow cobbled streets.
The Road to Independence Private Walking Tour
The Easter uprising was a definitive moment in the history of the Emerald Isle. The rebellion took place in the middle of World War One and was brutally suppressed by the British army. It paved the way for the election of Arthur Griffith as the president of a new nation six years later. 

  • Visit the General Post Office, the headquarters of the rebels and the site of their final surrender
  • Learn about the uprising’s failed attempt to capture Dublin Castle at the start of the conflict
  • Relive the intense struggle that took place in the City Hall
  • Stop by the Gardens of Remembrance, where the lives of all the Irishmen who died in the struggle for independence are commemorated
In this three hour walking tour, you will explore the most significant sites of the uprising. From the General Post Office—the headquarters where the rebels declared Ireland a republic and raised the flag shown in the tour images below—to the City Hall where fierce fighting took place. You will learn about the failed rebel attempt to capture Dublin castle at the start of the conflict. Your tour will conclude with a visit to the Garden of Remembrance, where the lives of all the Irishmen who fought for freedom are commemorated.
Private Walking Tour of Dublin with a Local
Travel isn’t just about travel, it’s people, faces, food and cultures, fresh perspectives, discoveries and different ways of life - it’s about uncovering the city’s soul. It’s about connection. On your private, guided tour of Dublin with a local: 

  • Enjoy meaningful insights and Irish humor with a Dubliner. 
  • Hear how locals describe Dublin - the experiences that have shaped their worldview, including Brexit and the tenuous ‘open-border’ question.
  • Spend a few hours walking around the city’s highlights - including St Stephen's Green and O'Connell Street, with a private, local guide.
  • Pick up invaluable recommendations on off-the-beaten-tracks pubs, advice, and tips on finding the best whiskies.
  • Finish your tour over a pint of Guinness - or a coffee or tea- in your local guide’s favorite haunt.
Ireland’s compact capital - with its vibrant, historical and beautiful streets - has witnessed everything from the Great Famine to the fight for Irish Freedom. A city made for walking, easily navigable districts make orientation a breeze, but even if you get lost, the locals are some of the friendliest you will find in the world. The annual St. Patrick's Day Parade attracts millions of revellers to Irish folk songs and Celieh dancing, but in Dublin there are free-flowing pints of “the black stuff” and live music year-round in lively watering holes.
 
Enjoying a private, guided tour with a local will help you discover the side-streets and stories often missed. Hear the intriguing backstories and learn the backstories and neighborhood rumors which bring Dublin to life, from the revolution over a century ago to the country’s current relationship to mainland Europe and the United Kingdom. There are no substitutes for anecdotes and first-hand insight – which is why we’ve built this tour: so that you can have a Dubliner's knowledge to  help you swerve tourist traps, lengthy queues and over-priced nonsense. While you walk the city, you’ll uncover its authenticity through the eyes of a Dubliner. Your tour is immersive - bringing meaningful and like-minded interesting people together that would never meet if you stuck to the main tourist drag. Experience the world-famous Irish humour, the lilt in the local accent, and great ‘craic’ over a beer or coffee at a local pub, and then jot down your guide’s version of “must do Dublin.” 
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