Waterford Castle, County Waterford
Situated on its own private island, Waterford Castle Hotel and Golf Resort offers luxurious accommodations in southeast Ireland. You experience a wonderful sense of anticipation as you make the short crossing by ferry to the island and travel the beech-lined drive to the castle. As you enter the massive studded oak doors, you’re greeted by the carved stone and wood-paneled hall, with its Jacobean antiques and intricate original tapestries. The castle contains 19 spacious guest rooms, which offer luxurious accommodations and stunning views of the surrounding estate. The award-winning Munster Dining Room is the perfect setting for a wonderful dining experience.
Dunluce Castle, County Antrim
The limestone cliffs of the White Rocks end abruptly against a dark basalt outcrop, which is majestically crowned by Dunluce Castle in Antrim, Northern Ireland, and joined to the mainland by an arched walkway, underneath which lies the “Mermaid’s Cave.” Reportedly, Richard de Burgh built or rebuilt the castle during the Anglo-Norman period in Ireland, around 1150. The most colorful occupier was Sorley Boy MacDonnell, a Scottish chieftain whose clan established its dominance along the north coast in 1565.
Walking around inside Dunluce Castle is an insightful experience: It’s only when you come down from the gift shop and cross the bridge into the castle courtyard that you realize how large the castle actually is. Over the years, many changes and additions have occurred to the original structure. Inside you will find Norman, Scottish, English and other European architectural influences.
In 1928, the Earl of Antrim gave the castle to Northern Ireland to be preserved as a national monument, and since that time the Department of the Environment has taken great care of it.
Dublin Castle, Dublin
Dublin Castle has fulfilled a number of roles throughout its history. It was originally built as a defensive fortification in 1204 on the orders of King John of England. Later it became a residence for the Viceroy of Ireland, the representative of the British monarch. Since then, it has served as a home to the Irish Parliament, a law court and a military garrison.
In 1938, the first president of Ireland, Douglas Hyde, was inaugurated at the castle, which has been the setting of the ceremony ever since. It also serves as the backdrop for state visits and more informal foreign affairs.