Ashford Castle is now used as a five-star hotel and only paying guests are allowed inside. But the outside is beautiful (there is a lake for fishing and a golf course on the castle grounds), and I definitely have ‘sleeping in a castle’ on my bucket list now!
Blarney – the castle and the stone – is a must-see for any tourist in Ireland. The story of the Blarney Stone is debated, but the outcome is the same. Upon kissing the stone (really a piece of the castle wall), you are given the gift of gab / the ability to have enlightened conversation. Blarney Castle also has beautiful gardens including a poison garden that has some of the world’s deadliest plants.
This was just a quick stop during one of our drives on my three-day tour because it is so well preserved. The castle itself isn’t open to the public unless you have a dinner reservation for one of their Celtic Feasts. The fun fact about this castle is that if you walk backwards around the perimeter of the castle three times, you are supposed to regain your virginity.
Only ruins remain of what must have been a giant castle. While there isn’t much to see, this was actually my favorite castle because the partially-intact ruins leave much to the imagination – and they are fun to climb on!
Located right in the heart of the city center, Dublin Castle is an easy and interesting way to spend 1-2 hours while exploring Dublin. Built in the early 13th century, Dublin Castle was originally the center of British rule in Ireland, but now the space is used for the Irish government.