When in Rome, do as Romans do.
When in Ireland, visit castles. They are parts of history you can feel in every step, in every stone, and you just shouldn’t miss them once you visit this beautiful, green country. Many would say that traveling to Ireland is traveling to the past, is like a meeting with famous legend about brave people. You cannot help feeling that you are in middle aged themed movie, and it is not something you should fight against. Just relax and enjoy great history.
When there are so many histories, you just don’t know where to start. This list can help.
Parke’s Castle, Co Leitrim
First on the list is Parke’s castle, which is restored plantation castle from 17th century. It is also called Newtown castle and it lies on shores of Lough Cill, famous Irish lake. It was a home of Sir Robert Parke and his family. Restoration was made using traditional craftsmanship, so you will have feeling you are back few centuries back. You also can enjoy great walks, such as to climb up O’Rourke’s Table.
O’Rourke was a owner of castle before Parke, and he was executed. Legend says that he used to climb at this sight while he was returning to the castle from hunting, to see his wife’s evidence of love. That was candle in the window.
Until one day, when she left him and escaped with another man. This and many more legends you can hear in 4 languages every hour, with Stone by stone called tour. And how about renting whole castle for you and your family or friends? In Ireland that is possible.
Ballyportry Castle, Co Clare
We are talking about Ballyportry castle. It is a 15th century Caelic Tower House settled by the Atlantic sea. Today here is a place where eight people can pretend to live in days of knights, because it is opened for quests, offering eight bedrooms. With a comfort of nowadays, you can discover rich archeology, great sights of Burren and Atlantic coast, and it is all only 40 minutes away from Shannon Airport. Ballyportry is a national protected monument, which sits on seven levels above ground rocky outcrop, so the view cannot be less than exceptional. Here, through the iron gates, you are really entering the past, and all that while staying in comfortable beds. What else to want?
Altidore Castle, Co Wicklow
Next on the list is eighteenth century house owned by family Emmet – Altifdore house. It is smart to contact owners for opening days information before going there, but it will be worth.
House is settled in the woods with a great sight of Irish Sea nearby. Great part of castle’s history is Robert Emmett’s college books, which are saved inside this historical house. He was a famous Irish nationalist and rebel leader and his fight against British crown was his
“death rope”. He was executed because of treason.
Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre
To get to know Irish and British history as it should be known, you must hear about Battle of the Boyne, where two kings confront each other, loosing over 1.500 soldiers. James and William led their own forces, and now, you can visit place of battle and stand on the ground where people were fighting for their leaders. In restored Old bridge house, where visitor center is located, you can see a lot of battle’s history, but more attractive is to see where troops of winning king where settled. If you are into war history, if you are fan of TV shows such as The Crown or Reign, this must be on your visiting list.
Crom Castle, Co Fermanagh
And in the end, there is castle people calling the most romantic Irish castle, and choosing it for wedding place very often. It lays on shores of Lough Erne lake in Northern Ireland and it is built in Victorian style in 1820. It is interesting because the reign of Queen Victoria started 17 years later. Estate, privately owned, has a lot to offer. There are ruins of Old castle, you can visit and see how church, school and tea house from that period looked like, and it is full of wildlife, so you can enjoy bird watching or fishing. And if you have watched BBC’s Blanding, this place will be familiar to you.
And it is great idea to rent a car and go in castle-themed adventure, to feel that past saved in stones and gates, and all that to be wrapped by beautiful Irish breath taking nature.