The five best castles in Ireland  January 25th, 2019

 

Ireland contains a wealth of crumbling medieval castles (an estimated 1,000 defensive forts to be precise) scattered across the length and breadth of the island. These forts were owned by the most powerful families however many were deserted and left to disintegrate with time. Thankfully, a large number of these castles are now fully restored to much of their former glory. Here’s a look at five majestic castles in the country. Check out Camperbugs fabulous daily and annual campervan insurancepolices before your head out on your next campervan or motorhome hire!

 

Bunratty Castle: Co. Clare, Ireland

 

Bunratty castle. Image by Marlis B on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-ND

 

This castle is perhaps the most loved and best-known castle in Ireland. The fort was erected in the 1400s however previous settlements existed on the same site. Restored in 1954, the Bunratty Castle sits in County Clare. Step inside the castle and be blown away by the fantastic antiques tracing back to the 15th and 16th centuries which give visitors a look into the life and times of the influential MacNamara family who constructed the castle. For added fun, book tickets for medieval banquets held daily on the premises.

 

Dunluce Castle: Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

 

Dunluce Castle. Image by johan wieland on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-ND

 

Set upon a cliff overlooking the ocean below, the medieval Dunluce Castle is abandoned and featured in the famed HBO series Game of Thrones. The dramatic scenery includes sheer drop-offs on every side, and the castle is only reachable via a bridge from the mainland. The fort was constructed by MacQuillan at the beginning of the 1550s however the castle was taken over by the MacDonnells. The castles positioning on top of the cliff proved a wise choice concerning defence however it was also unstable, and a portion of the kitchen fell into the ocean below during a very stormy night during the 1630s.

 

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The campsite
Bush Caravan Park – Think select family owned campsite containing 48 standing pitches, rural settings and proximity to the Giant’s Causeway, Old Bushmills Distillery,  the Dark Hedges, Dunluce Castle, Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, Barry’s Amusements, Fantasy Island and more!


Bush Caravan Park vibes. Image by mybusyme on Instagram.

 

The Camper
Introducing jolly ole John! He’s a smashing VW Type 2 camper van that will easily sleep and seat 2-3 passengers.  John’s fitted with a 47 litre electric fridge, twin-burner gas hob and grill, fresh water container,  built-in petrol heater plus a fire extinguisher & fire blanket. His owners include a comprehensive inventory and provide optional extras to make your journey as joy! Ask them about pick-up points, reservations and more!

 

John the jolly camper

 

Blarney Castle: Co. Cork, Ireland

 

Blarney Castle. Photo on VisualHunt.com

 

Located near Cork, Blarney Castle is a medieval fortress enclosed by a large garden, right by the River Martin. Dating back to the early 1200s, the stone fortress we see today was erected by the McCarthy family during the 15th century. The most prominent attraction is the Blarney Stone which is said to gift one the gift of the gab when kissed. Kissing the stone however is not an easy feat!

 

Ashford Castle: Co. Mayo, Ireland

 

Ashford Castle. Image by Larry Koester on Flickr.

 

First built in the 1200s, Ashford Castle, and the enclosing castle walls were extended over the centuries as it functioned as a setting for violent battles. Following a truce, the castle eventually became a hunting lodge before being purchased in 1852 by a member of the Guinness family. The family expanded the castle, adding new wings before selling the property in the 1930s. Today the castle is a luxury hotel and features 83 stunning rooms.

 

The Rock of Cashel: Co. Tipperary, Ireland

 

The Rock of Cashel. Image by falco500 on Visual Hunt / CC BY-ND

 

The Rock of Cashel has numerous myths linked to it. One legend states that during the 5th-century Aenghus, King of Munster was persuaded to convert to Christianity by St. Patrick. It was governed by the High Kings of Ulster, who later donated the site to the Catholic Church. Many of the buildings within the castle date as far back as the 12th and 13th centuries. Take a walk through the castle and marvel at the striking medieval architecture which makes this fortress one of the most visited in Ireland.

 

If you liked this blog take a look at our selection of little explored Roman ruins.

 

 

 

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