Dublin Castle was founded in 1204 by order of King John, who wanted a fortress constructed for the administration of the city. It has been added to and rebuilt many times so that all that remains of the original structure is the Norman Tower. By the early 17th century the castle was fully developed with Law Courts, meetings of Parliament, the residence of the viceroy and a council chamber. The magnificent, gilded State Apartments were added in the 18th century and are still used for state occasions today. Highlights of the castle include the Throne Room, St Patrick's Hall and the Ladies Drawing Room. The gardens are also lovely, great for a stroll or relaxing and with some interesting sculptures to investigate. The gardens can be accessed by the public for free. There is a restaurant and a Heritage Centre, as well as a gift shop. You can only explore the castle on official guided tours which start every 20 minutes and take about an hour. Groups are required to book in advance. There are plenty of attractions at the castle to explore in your own time though, like the Chester Beatty Library. Note that the castle is used for state functions and is sometimes closed on short notice - check the website to ensure it is open for your visit.
Address: Dame Street
Telephone: (0)1 645 8813 (tour services)
Opening times: Monday to Saturday 10am to 4:45pm, Sunday and bank holidays 12am to 4:45pm.
Admission: Entry by guided tour only, every 20 minutes. €4.50 (adults), €2 (child under 12). Concessions available.