Places to visit: Castles

Maynooth Castle

Maynooth Castle

Maynooth Castle is a great stone castle founded in the early 13th Century. It was the principal residence of the Kildare branch of the FitzGeralds who at the time extended their land holdings and influence, emerging as one of the most powerful families in Ireland. Maynooth Castle was one of the country’s largest and richest houses.

Garret Mór governed Ireland in the name of the King of England from 1487 – 1513 and under his son, Garret Og the 9th Earl, the Castle became the centre of political power and culture. The original Keep, constructed around 1203, was one of the largest of its kind in Ireland. The castle was remodelled in the 17th Century when the main focus shifted from the original Keep to the buildings in the east of the grounds.

Maynooth Castle was vested in the State in 1991 and a programme of restoration commenced in February 2000. There is an exhibition in the Keep on the history of the castle and the family. Access to the keep is by guided tour only.

Noted for its friendly staff, there are unfortunately no restaurant facilities on site. However, many fine coffee shops are available close by in Maynooth Village, a mere five minutes’ walk from the Castle.

Opening Hours:
23rd May to 29th September
Daily 10am – 6pm; Last tour 4:30pm and last entry 5:30pm

Contact & Pricing:
heritageireland.ie/places-to-visit/maynooth-castle
maynoothcastle@opw.ie
Tel: 01 628 6744
Maynooth Village, Maynooth, Co. Kildare
Free admission

Slane Castle

Slane Castle

Slane Castle is an impressive historic building, the work of famous architects James Gandon, James Wyatt & Francis Johnston. The parklands were laid out by Capability Brown. King George IV stayed here in 1821. U2 recorded “The Unforgettable Fire” here in 1984. Slane has been in the same family’s hands since 1701. It was lovingly restored after a devastating fire in 1991 and became a famed venue for open air rock concerts.

Opening Hours:
The Castle’s opening hours change with the season, and often by the week due to weddings and events.
Check here for this week’s opening hours.
Guided tours of the house are available, but may only open for booking a week or 2 in advance, with times depending on the seasonal demand. Check the website for availability.
Castle Tour tickets include admission to the new Walking Trail.

Contact & Pricing:
slanecastle.ie
info@slanecastle.ie
Tel: 041 988 4477
Slane, Co. Meath
Adults €14; concessions
Private tours can be booked for €25 pp, (minimum 6 people).

Trim Castle

Trim Castle

Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, was constructed over a thirty-year period by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter. Hugh de Lacy was granted the Liberty of Meath by King Henry II in 1172 in an attempt to curb the expansionist policies of Richard de Clare (Strongbow). Construction of the massive three storied Keep, the central stronghold of the castle, was begun around 1176 on the site of an earlier wooden fortress. This massive twenty-sided tower, which is cruciform in shape, was protected by a ditch, curtain wall and moat.

Opening Hours:
Opening times vary seasonally, open 10am – 5pm during peak season.
Due to high demand, access cannot be guaranteed during the summer months. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment. Guided tours only.
Closed on 25, 26, 31 December  & 1 January.

Contact & Pricing:
heritageireland.ie/places-to-visit/trim-castle
trimcastle@opw.ie
Tel: 085 887 0240
Trim, Co. Meath.
Adults €5; concessions. Parking available nearby for €3
Free admission on the first Wednesday of every month.