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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
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.
Christ Church Cathedral
Dublin's photogenic eldest cathedral has been a place of worship for nearly 1000 years.
Dame Street
Located on the eastern edge of the medieval city, this busy street takes its name from a large dam that was constructed here in the medieval period.
Dublin local pubs
There are currently 751 pubs in Dublin's city! Take a beer in one of its historical pubs also great spots for live music.
George's Street Arcade
Victorian style red-bricked indoor market located at Dublin's city centre.

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.

  • Explore the best of Dublin with a private guide in just 2.5 hours
  • Relive the history of the city, and even see a historic Viking home.
  • Walk through the gardens of Dublin Castle, with over 800 years of history. 
  • Enjoy the various architectural styles present throughout the city, each speaking to one of the different eras of Dublin.
  • Learn about Dublin's famed university Trinity College and the famous people who studied here, from Oscar Wild to Bram Stoker and Samuel Beckett.
  • Stroll through several of the city’s famed sites, including Grafton Street, Temple Bar, and St Stephen’s Green.
  • Finish your tour, by learning about Molly Malone, where your guide will give you several recommendations to try a traditional Irish pub meal.

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. On your tour, 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.

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 learn all about the famed Trinity College, Ireland’s first and most acclaimed university. You will hear about the college’s numerous treasures and tales of renowned past students, including Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker. 

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. You will also visit the famous Temple Bar, Dublin’s cultural and entertainment quarter and one of the liveliest nightlife areas that preserve its medieval street pattern, with many narrow, cobbled streets.

Visit 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 the inspiration for poetry and literature of the era. You will hear all about the many writers and rebels from your knowledgeable local guide. Your tour will leave you not only full of the local history of the capital city but also with a great foundation to explore the city at your own leisure. 

Please note: Entrance into Trinity College Campus is not included in this tour.
The Road to Independence: Private Walking Tour of Dublin
Explore some of the most important sites of the Easter Uprising of 1916 in the beautiful city of Dublin, independent Ireland's capital city. See the scenes of fierce fighting, the statues of rebel leaders on O'Connell street and the rebels' HQ at the General Post Office – end at the moving Gardens of Remembrance. On your private tour you will:

  • Enjoy the personal attention of your expert, local private guide.
  • Learn about Ireland’s long road to independence from Britain, and the many significant figures who played key roles in fighting for it, from Victorian politicians, doctors and priests, to the leaders of the Easter Uprising in 1916.
  • Learn about the Uprising that took place in the middle of the First World war, and how it was brutally and swiftly crushed by British soldiers.
  • See the General Post Office, where Patrick Pearse read aloud the Proclamation of Irish Independence in 1916 – effectively kickstarting the Easter Rising. It became the rebel headquarters, the scene of a bloody five-day siege, 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, and hear about the horrific police brutality. 
  • See the Shelbourne Hotel, where the Irish Constitution was drafted in 1922.
  • Walk up O'Connell Street, lined with statues of the men who outspokenly called and fought for Irish independence, starting with Daniel O’Connell (1775 – 1847) who organised many hundreds of non-violent protests and demanded civil rights for Irish Catholics in the British Parliament.
  • Notice how many of the pedestals of these Irish heroes of independence are pockmarked with bullet holes, from the violence of the 1916 rebellion.
  • Hear the life stories of the many figures of Irish Independence whose statues line the road, from James Larkin founder of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union, whose strike in 1913 is considered the ‘first shot’ in the 1916 uprising, to figures from the 19th century like Father Theobald Matthew and Charles Stewart Parnell, who nearly won ‘home rule’ in the 1880s.
  • Finish your tour at the Gardens of Remembrance, where the lives of all the Irishmen who died in the struggle for independence are commemorated.

While the fight for Irish independence or ‘Home rule’ had long been fought for, the Easter uprising of 1916 was a definitive moment in the history of Ireland and its long road to independence from the British. The rebellion took place in the middle of the First World War 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. 

In this three-hour private walking tour, you will explore the most significant sites of the Easter Uprising in Dublin, while learning all about the history of the Emerald Isle and its turbulent, often violent relationship with Britain. Hear about the events that led to the Easter Uprising, its defeat and the fallout from it. 

Visit the General Post Office—the headquarters where the rebels declared Ireland a republic and raised the flag—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. 

After walking up O’Connell Street, lined with the statues of those who made significant contributions to the fight for Independence, you will end the tour at the Garden of Remembrance, where the lives of all the Irishmen who fought for freedom are commemorated. The memorial was placed on the site where rebel leaders of the Uprising were held before their execution. Above you’ll see the Irish flag, with the green colour representing Catholics, orange for protestants and white: a symbol of hope, that both can live together in peace. In 2011, Queen Elizabeth II visited the site, the first by a British monarch in 100 years. She laid a wreath of Remembrance and bowed her head. A deeply moving and healing moment for both countries. 
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 humour with a Dubliner
  • Hear how locals describe Dublin - the experiences that have shaped their worldview, including Brexit and the ‘open-border question.
  • Spend a few hours walking around the city’s highlights - including St Stephen's GreenDublin Castle, and O'Connell Street, with a private, local guide.
  • When open to the public, pop into famed Trinity College, and hear about the famous alumni who have walked its halls.
  • 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 favourite 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. In 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 Cèilidh 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 neighbourhood rumours which bring Dublin to life, from the revolution over a century ago to the country’s current relationship with 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.
The Best of Dublin Private Full-Day Tour, including Book of Kells and Guinness Storehouse
Explore the beautiful and historic city of Dublin, Ireland’s iconic capital situated on the sea and surrounded by mountains. Famous for its heritage, architecture and friendly atmosphere, on your private tour you will: 

  • Enjoy the personalised attention of a private local guide and explore the highlights and lesser-known gems of Dublin, a UNESCO city of literature.
  • Admire the historic buildings and learn the stories and legends associated with them, including Christchurch the city’s impressive gothic cathedral and Dublin Castle dating back to the 13th century.
  • See the Temple Bar a famous buzzing neighbourhood and also one of Dublin’s most famous pubs established in 1840 - renowned for serving 450 varieties of whiskey
  • Visit the picturesque 27-acre park St. Stephen's Green, formerly a marshy common used for grazing, witch burnings and public executions and now a popular place for Dubliners and visitors to relax from the hustle and bustle of city life. 
  • Visit the grounds of the historic Trinity College University and see the famed Book of Kells and magnificent Trinity College Library (tickets included).
  • Explore Dublin's rich and turbulent past, exemplified in the multitude of statues and architectural styles throughout the city.
  • Stop in at the National Gallery of Ireland to see the Museum's most famed artwork: The Taking of Christ by Caravaggio.
  • Jump in a taxi with your guide (included), and cross the city to the Guinness Storehouse. 
  • This tour ends with timed entrance tickets to the Guinness Storehouse that you can explore at your own leisure (tickets included). 
  • End your day with views over the city of Dublin from the Storehouse Gravity bar (pint included). 

Enjoy a full-day tour of Dublin, Ireland’s beautiful capital city, famous for its warm and friendly welcome, situated on a beautiful bay at the edge of the River Liffey and surrounded by spectacular mountainous countryside. 

Dublin’s picturesque cobbled streets are famed for their ‘craic’ (good fun) and are filled with vibrant art, markets, cafes and pubs as well as historic buildings. Many famous historical figures have made Dublin their home, from beloved literary figures like W.B.Yeats, Oscar Wilde, (both of whom lived at Merrion Square,) Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett and James Joyce, to political and military figures like Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington. 

Dublin has a varied concoction of history – dating back over 1000 years. You’ll learn about the Viking and Norman influences and you see the medieval churches and 13th Century Dublin Castle. You’ll learn about the Christian takeover of Celtic traditions and spirituality. And hear all about the long struggle for Irish independence from the British as you stand outside the spectacular parliament buildings. 

Enjoy strolling along with the cobbled Temple Bar neighbourhood – with its lively atmosphere of live music and buskers – and stop inside the bar famous for serving over 450 types of whiskey! 

A real highlight of your tour of Dublin is to visit Trinity College – Ireland’s historic elite university and considered equivalent to Oxford and Cambridge in England – and its astonishing library, home of the Book of Kells – and exquisite set of Gospels dating to circa 800 C.E. 

Your guide will also show you inside two of Dublin’s museums: the National Museum of Archaeology to see the famous Bog Man, a well-preserved Iron Age bog body found in June 2003, and the National Gallery to see Caravaggio’s painting The Taking of Christ.

You’ll take a taxi to the Guinness Storehouse where your guide will leave you to enjoy the self-guided tour of this iconic brewery, where you’ll learn all about Ireland’s most famous beer – and enjoy views over the city as you enjoy a well-earned pint of it at the end of this fascinating day! 
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