Dating back to the Elizabethan period, Rathfarnham Castle is a fine example of an Irish fortified house. Dating back to the Elizabethan period, the building houses the Berkeley Costume and Toy Collection of 18th and 19th Century toys, dolls and costumes.
The castle was built for Archbishop Adam Loftus, an ambitious Yorkshire clergyman, who came to Ireland as chaplain to the Lord Deputy and quickly rose to become Archbishop of Dublin, Lord Chancellor of Ireland and was closely involved in the establishment of Trinity College. The castle with its four flanker towers is an excellent example of the fortified house in Ireland. In the late 18th century, the house was remodelled on a splendid scale employing some of the finest architects of the day including Sir William Chambers and James ‘Athenian’ Stuart. The collection includes family portraits by Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807), Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680), and Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1740-1808).
The Castle and Tearooms re-opened in October 2015 after major improvement works designed to significantly upgrade access to the principal floors of the Castle. In general, the rooms are fairly bare so the Castle is more an interesting look at a major restoration project in progress than a detailed finished product.
May – Sept: Open 7 days, 9.30am – 5.30pm; last admission 4.45pm.
Oct – Apr: Wed to Sun, 10.30am – 5pm; last admission 4.15pm.
Guided tours are available throughout the day, self-guided tours are also allowed.
Opening hours may be restricted over the Christmas period.