I have been living in Dublin for over 40 years and only recently, quite accidentally, became aware of this castle. Visitors generally want to see Dublin Castle - which is no longer a castle in the accepted sense, it now being more grand state apartments – but I believe that visitors should consider putting this little gem on their list of sights to see. They will be well rewarded and will see more of a castle in the accepted sense – albeit small – and learn a bit more about life in a castle, than you would from the Dublin Castle tour.
It dates from the 1200’s, built by the Normans, and was occupied up to the 1950’s. It is the only castle in Ireland that still has a water filled moat surrounding it. It had fallen into serious disrepair, but now has been magnificently restored, following restoration work between 1986 and 1996. Guided tours are available, but I would advise that you phone in advance to ensure the tour guide is on duty, as this will be the best way to see the castle and learn about it’s history – the opening hours are a bit restricted. It also has an interesting small garden in a formal 17th century style layout. When you are taken to the Minstrels' Gallery in The Great Hall, ask the guide to explain who the carved figures supporting the roof trusses represent.
We were the only two people on the tour, which was great, as we were able to get as much detail as we wanted form our tour guide. For a €4 entrance fee, it is great value and worth visiting.
It is not the easiest of places to get to, without your own transport, but bus #56A and #151 pass by the castle. Ask the driver to let you know when you come to the Long Mile Road, Drimnagh Castle, stop #2727. The entrance to the castle is across the road from the bus stop.
You could also get bus #27, #77A, and #123, which will let you off about 500 metres from the castle. Ask the driver to let you know when you are at the Halfway House, stop #2102 – although the stop is actually outside The Blackforge Inn. Get off those buses at that stop, walk to your right, passing the Bank of Ireland and The Halfway House pub (both on your left). At The Halfway House, cross over the Long Mile Road and then walk about 500 metres to your left, and the entrance to the castle will be on your right.
If you are driving out from the city centre along Crumlin Rd. and Drimnagh Rd., watch out for The Halfway House pub (Point A on the Google Map link), which will be on your left. And about 4/500 metres beyond that pub, you will come to a pedestrian traffic lights, and do a U turn immediately after those lights (Point B on the Google Map link), and then enter the second gate of your left – there is a sign Drimnagh Castle on the entrance wall - http://goo.gl/maps/hWMzK
Their website provides GPS co-ordinates if you are driving to there - http://www.drimnaghcastle.org/#!contact-us/c2q4
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