Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Dublin Castle: A Gem of a Surprise in Ireland
We visited Dublin Castle later in our trip but we passed it during our many crisscrosses through the city. Dublin Castle began as a Norman castle originally founded in 1204. Throughout the centuries, the castle has undergone many changes and only one of the Norman towers still remains today. Since we were in Ireland, we were really set on seeing some of the older sites. So, we were not really sure how Dublin Castle would rank among the other sites we would have to visit. I am glad to say that the castle is stunning and we were quite impressed by the beauty of some of the rooms.
How could something like this not awe you:
Dublin Castle remains a major government complex to this day. The courtyard is impressive and you can just feel the presence of the notables that have walked the same paths. A quick turnabout the courtyard and you can learn a bit about the history of the castle by reading a few signs.
I do highly recommend taking at least the self guided tour of the castle to see the State Apartments. For slightly larger fee, you can take the guided tour which includes the medieval undercroft and the royal chapel. Even if time does not allow for a tour, a spin around the exterior of the castle is well worth it.
Since we were traveling with a 10-year-old girl, a trip to the Throne Room was a must and definitely elicited some awes. This particular throne was constructed for King George IV of England's visit in 1821. A gorgeous piece in an equally gorgeous room.
St. Patrick's Hall's hue and decor truly has you take notice. The hall is the site of presidential inaugurations and I cannot not think of a more fitting spot. Additionally, it served as the site of a state dinner during Queen Elizabeth II's visit in 2011.
When visiting Dublin Castle, consider popping into the tea room for a bite and some well deserved time to rest. We enjoyed some quiet time away from hustle-bustle in the tea room. Plus, you can take a walk out to the patio for a nice view of the garden and Chester Beatty Library. If you have a chance, visit the Chester Beatty Library which is free. The atrium is a treat and there are a few exhibits including an ancient book exhibit as well as some children's activities.
Across the street from the castle complex you will find another Dublin highlight, Queen of Tarts! Queen of Tarts is the perfect place to sit with a sweet and a pot of tea!
Dublin Castle was a quite gem and we truly enjoyed our visit! If you visit with kids, be sure to pick up a scavenger hunt. It adds a little more fun to the experience. But, I am sure the majesty of Dublin Castle will be enough to give them a sense of awe!