Best Castles In Southern Ireland to Visit in 2024

best castles in Southern Ireland
Castle hunting in Ireland last September.

Southern Ireland is home to some of the most breathtaking castles in the world! From mysterious ruins to fully restored castles, each one has a unique story behind it. If you’re looking for adventure and stunning scenery in Ireland, then visiting these castles is a must. In this post, you’ll find the best castles in Southern Ireland, Ireland castle tour recommendations, and practical advice for your trip from someone who’s been there!

🏰 1. Blarney Castle

Have you ever wondered what it would be like wandering through an ancient castle? Blarney Castle is one of the most famous castles in Southern Ireland. The castle walls have stood the test of time, inviting locals and tourists to explore its walls and kiss the famous Blarney Stone. On the Blarney Castle grounds and gardens, you can enjoy a peaceful walk and see historical landmarks such as the Blarney House and the Witches’ Stone.

Enjoying the view from the top of Blarney castle.

Tips for visiting Blarney Castle

  • The castle is located in County Cork, about a 20-minute drive from Cork City. You can book a tour from Dublin or Cork City, or rent a car to get there.
  • Make sure to arrive early or book a tour in advance. This famous castle gets crowded during peak season.
  • Plan to spend at least half a day here or do a full day tour. Because there is a large castle grounds, and so much to see and explore!
  • Be prepared for some physical activity, as the castle has a few steep staircases and narrow passageways.

Whether you’re longing for the ease of a trip from Cork or the freedom of a full-day trip from Dublin, these castle tours offer a variety of options for Blarney Castle!

🏰 Check prices and book a Blarney castle tour!

☘️ 2. Rock of Cashel

Visiting the Rock of Cashel.

One of my favorite castles in all of Ireland is The Rock of Cashel. Also known as St. Patrick’s Rock, is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Irish history and architecture! The Rock of Cashel is located in County Tipperary in the town of Cashel. This castle sits overlooking the Cashel town of medieval buildings.

Tips for visiting the Rock of Cashel

  • Arrive early or late in the day to avoid crowds and capture better photos. The Rock of Cashel is one of the best castles in Southern Ireland for visitors!
  • Consider booking a tour. Guided tours allow you to fully immerse yourself in the history behind the Rock of Cashel. There are many amazing tours that include the Rock of Cashel.
  • Take time to appreciate the peaceful ambiance of the grounds. Wander slowly and imagine life at the Rock of Cashel centuries ago.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Remember that there is walking involved in castle tours, and you want to be comfortable on your day of castle adventuring!

☘️ Check prices and book a tour of the Rock of Cashel!

🏰 3. Ross Castle

If you plan to visit the Killarney area in County Kerry, Ross Castle is a must for any traveler to Ireland! Sitting on the shores of Ireland’s largest lake, Lough Leane, this 15th-century tower house is full of tales of Irish lore and offers a view of the gorgeous Irish countryside. Here are some tips to make the most out of your visit:

Tips for visiting Ross Castle

  • Book a kayaking tour! Book a kayak tour on Lough Leane to experience Ross Castle from the water and admire the views!
  • Arrive early or late in the day. These times tend to be better for smaller crowds and better photo opportunities. (Tours generally arrive early in the day!)
  • Consider visiting during the tourist off-season. This makes for a quieter and more intimate experience. I visited in September and there was hardly anyone there!

Check prices and book a Ross Castle Kayaking tour!

☘️ 4. Cahir Castle

Best Castles in Southern Ireland - Castle Cahir
Photos from visiting Castle Cahir – such a magical experience.

One of my most memorable castle experiences in southern Ireland was exploring Cahir Castle. Cahir Castle has been a popular filming location, appearing in movies such as Excalibur and Green Knight! Its architecture draws in countless visitors, making it a must-see destination for film buffs and history lovers. This incredible castle stands as a testament to the enduring power of storytelling and brings people together from all over the world.

Admiring the incredible walls of Cahir Castle.

Tips for visiting Cahir Castle

  • Book a Ireland castle tour that includes Castle Cahir and the Rock of Cashel. Just a short drive away from Cahir, the Rock of Cashel (mentioned in #2) is an ancient fortress resting on a hilltop, offering incredible views of the Irish countryside. You can book a tour to easily see them both without having to drive or plan yourself. Alternatively, you can take a drive there and stop for some photo opportunities along the way.
  • Check out the Cahir Abbey! Just a short walk from the castle, the remains of the Cahir Abbey are a hidden gem not to be missed. It’s a tranquil spot that few tourists find and can be seen just down the hill from the castle.

🏰 5. Kilkenny Castle

best castles in Southern Ireland - Kilkenny

Imagine stepping through the grand entrance of Kilkenny Castle and exploring centuries of Irish history. Walking through the castle you’ll feel the luxury of royal living as you explore the the castle rooms of the 13th-century castle. This castle still somehow seems as if it guards Kilkenny City. Many regard Kilkenny Castle as one of the best castles in Southern Ireland!

Tips for visiting Kilkenny Castle

  • Explore the medieval city. Dedicate some time to wander around Kilkenny, the city that was once the medieval capital of Ireland!
  • Book a tour in advance! Secure your spot on a tour to the city of Kilkenny to have hassle-free planning and gain deeper insight into the castle’s history. There are many great tours to Kilkenny.
  • Remember to consider the weather. Irish weather can be unpredictable! Dress in layers and bring a raincoat or umbrella in your bag. We walked the grounds as the Irish rain drizzled and welcomed us to Kilkenny.
  • Explore the expansive grounds outside of the castle. Take a long and leisurely walk around the well-kept castle grounds! We did this when we visited Kilkenny Castle, and it was a lovely way to relax and marvel at the castle from afar.

Conclusion: The Best Castles in Southern Ireland

Southern Ireland is home to some of the most enchanting castles in the country, each wrapped in history and legend. Whether you book a day tour from Dublin and decide to lean back to kiss the Blarney Stone, kayak in Killarney in front of Ross Castle, or gaze up to the hilltop where the Rock of Cashel stands, you can’t go wrong visiting any of these truly magnificent castles! I hope your castle experiences are as magical as mine were. Happy castle hunting!

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best castles in Southern Ireland

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