We’re lucky here in Ireland to have some amazing and beautiful castles, filled with history, right on our doorstep. With parklands, moats, lakes and towers, these are some of the best castles in Ireland to visit with kids.
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Why not bring the kids to explore and discover one of these fascinating castles in Ireland? With the right weather, a picnic and perhaps even a homemade crown, it could be the most memorable day this summer!
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Visit These Castles in Ireland
#1. Birr Castle Demesne & Science Centre, Offaly
Owned by the Parsons family, the award-winning Birr Castle Demesne and Science Centre in Offaly is a must for your summer bucket list. The magnificent castle is a rare gem in the heart of Ireland.
The castle tour includes a 45-minute guided tour (summer months) of stunning beautiful reception rooms. A guide will lead you through the magnificent rooms while educating you on the extraordinary and pioneering history of the Parsons family, most especially in the area of science. Your guide will also discuss the antique furniture, the family portraits, chandeliers and tapestries within the rooms you visit.
With 120 acres to explore the gardens at, Birr Castle Demesne is home to the world’s tallest hedge boxes, waterfalls, lakes and rivers. There are multiple walking trails to explore, as well as the astounding Science Centre which will intrigue the whole family.
Also a big hit with the kids is the Treehouse Adventure Area which features the largest treehouse in Ireland, along with slides, a hobbit hut, climbing frames, sand pits, picnic benches and so much more.
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#2. Ardgillan Castle
There is heaps to see and do at Ardgillan Castle and Demesne, located in Balbriggan, County Dublin. Explore the beautiful gardens, grab a map and quiz at reception and complete the educational fairy trail situated around the woodlands, climb the trees or take a seat on the King’s chair.
Known for its panoramic views of Dublin Bay, why not see it for yourself. Make sure to check out the massive sea-themed playground. With the right weather and a picnic, you could spend the whole day here.
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#3. Kilkenny Castle
Discover Kilkenny Castle, a 12th century castle remodelled in Victorian times, with a daily guided tour. Admission is free to the rose garden, parkland paths leading to a small burial ground, woodland walk, lake area and children’s playground.
There’s a tea room on site if you don’t fancy packing a picnic.
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#4. Trim Castle
Trim Castle in County Meath is the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. It has a massive twenty-sided tower complete with a ditch, curtain wall and moat.
Explore the castle with a daily guided tour from March to December.
Tip: Meath is also home to megalithic sites such as The Hill of Tara, Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth, so make a day out in Ireland’s Ancient East to enjoy some of the sights.
#5. Bunratty Castle
Go back in time with a visit to one of the most well-known castles in Ireland, Bunratty Castle in County Clare which was built in 1425. Complete with its own authentic medieval fortress, folk park with homes from the past for you to visit and see how people lived in the past, walled garden and fairy village.
At the fairy village, let the little ones explore the miniature Bunratty Castle and mini replicas of the houses that surround the folk park. There’s also a willow tunnel and willow hut in the surroundings of the magical forest trail.
An array of animals live at Bunratty who would love a visit, including donkeys, sheep, ponies, deer, goats, peacocks and ducks. Then spend some time at the Folk Park enjoying the village street complete with school, doctor’s house, pub and shops.
#6. Cahir Castle, Tipperary
Standing guard in Tipperary over the River Suir, Cahir Castle is one of Ireland’s most impressive medieval castles. It has featured in a few films and TV series – parts of The Tudors were filmed here, as well as Excalibur and Moonfleet.
Explore this historic castle and all it has to offer with a guided tour, where you’ll discover everything about the powerful Butler family who owned it and learn more about the magnificent building itself.
If you’d rather stroll around the castle at your own pace, you can watch audiovisuals at your leisure. Mind the kids on the narrow stairs and on the castle walls if you climb up them.
#7. Malahide Castle, Dublin
Catch a guided tour around the stunning Malahide castle with a long and rich history, where the oldest parts of the castle date back to the 12th century.
You can also visit the interactive exhibition centre, the beautiful walled gardens, butterfly house, fairy trail, walking routes, or wander over to the extensive children’s playground consisting of various types of climbing frames, swings, slides and contraptions to suit children of all ages.
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#8. Enniscorthy Castle, Wexford
Once home to Norman knights, English armies, Irish rebels, prisoners, and local merchant families, Enniscorthy Castle is located in Enniscorthy Town in the heart of County Wexford.
Children will love exploring the dungeons and the battlements of the castle and viewing the exhibitions as you move through the castle.
Tip: You can dress up as a knight at the Castle when you visit, and there’s also a great view from the roof.
#9. Kylemore Abbey, Co. Galway
Kylemore Abbey in Connemara was built as a breathtaking Castle in 1868. It is now an Abbey and home to a community of Benedictine nuns. It is the perfect destination for a family day out with over 1,000 acres of woodland walks and a secret walled garden and ornate church waiting to be discovered.
Make a wish at the Ironing Stone, take a peek through the windows of the Chocolate Kitchen, or why not discover the wonders of the play trail including a hanging xylophone?
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#10. Enniskillen Castle, County Fermanagh
Enniskillen Castle, built almost 600 years ago, beside the River Erne, stands guard over one of the few passes into Ulster, and so has had a strategic role to play in history.
It has a 17th century Watergate with twin turrets and a museum in the Castle Keep. The Visitor Centre at the Castle boasts interactive quizzes, exhibits, movies, stories, and lots more.
You can also visit the Enniskillen Castle Museums, there are 2 museums at the Castle:
- Fermanagh County Museum, where you can find out about the history of Fermanagh, the county’s traditional rural life, local crafts and the celebrated pottery at Belleek
- The Inniskillings Museum, which tells the story of the town of Enniskillen’s two regiments, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards.
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