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33 Best Irish Castles and Manor Houses (Photos A to Z)

There are some old castles in Ireland as well as newer (still old) that are truly spectacular. Check out our collection of the best Irish castles and manor houses. Each tells a story.
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There are many great reasons to visit Ireland, one of them being famous castles to tour and visit. Ireland has its fair share is incredible castles and manor houses. It also has many very old castle ruins if you prefer the ruins variety.

Below is a collection of the finest manor houses and castles in Ireland. We don’t include many ruins, instead opting to showcase structures still in use. Some are still private residences while others are luxury accommodations. After all, not many people can afford the upkeep of a huge castle these days unless fortunes remained in tact through the generations.  Check out Ashford Castle above and below; the heating bill alone is not affordable for most people… but it sure is a spectacular castle rivalling any in Europe in size and grandiosity.

Photos

The Adare Manor was the former seat of the Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl. Located in the village of Adare, the Manor was completed in 1862 by Valentine Quin, grandfather of the 1st Earl of Dunraven. Currently, the manor serves as a luxury hotel with a golf course inside.

About the Adare Manor

  • Where: Adare, Ireland
  • When: 19th century
  • Who built it: Sir Valentine Quin
  • Style: Tudor revival style
  • What is it now? Luxury Hotel
  • Current owner: Private owner
Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle

A medieval and Victorian castle that has been expanded over the centuries, the Ashford Castle was built on the site of the Anglo-Norman House of Burke that was built in 1228. In 1852, the estate was purchased by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness from the Encumbered Estates’ Court. His son added modifications to the castle and in 1939, the property was bought by Noel Huggard, who opened the castle as a hotel. Today, it serves as a five-star luxury hotel and is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World organization.

About the Ashford Castle

  • Where: Mayo, Ireland
  • When: 13th century
  • Who built it: House of Burke
  • Style: Victorian style / Neo-gothic style
  • What is it now? Luxury Hotel
  • Current owner: Red Carnation Hotels
Ballynahinch Castle

Ballynahinch Castle

An Irish country house now used as a hotel, the Ballynahinch Castle was the former residence of Richard Martin, founder of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Member of Parliament for County Galway. It was built in 1754 and was modified throughout the years.

About the Ballynahinch Castle

  • Where: Recess, Ireland
  • When: 1754
  • Who built it: Unknown
  • Style: Baroque architecture
  • What is it now? Hotel
  • Current owner: Private owner

Located in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the Normans built the original Belfast Castle in the 12th century. The second castle was built by Sir Arthur Chichester, The 1st Baron Chichester and made it his official residence. However, Sir Arthur’s castle was burned to the ground, along with the original building. Rather than rebuilding the property, the Chichester decided to construct a new residence, resulting in the birth of the current Belfast Castle. Built between 1811 and 1870 by George Chichester, 3rd Marquess of Donegall, he commissioned architect Charles Lanyon, and his son, of the architectural firm Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon. Together they followed the Scottish baronial style and was completed during the reign of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 8th Earl of Shaftesbury. His son, Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 9th Earl of Shaftesbury gave the castle to the City of Belfast and was opened to the public in 1988.

About the Belfast Castle

  • Where: Belfast, Ireland
  • When: 1811-1870
  • Who built it: George Chichester, 3rd Marquess of Donegall
  • Style: Scottish baronial style
  • What is it now? Open to the public
  • Current owner: City of Belfast
Belvedere Estate

Belvedere Estate

The Belvedere House and Gardens were built in 1740 to serve as a hunting lodge for Robert Rochfort, 1st Earl of Belvedere. He commissioned architect Richard Cassels, one of Ireland’s foremost Palladian architects to do the job. The house, later on, turned to be Robert’s principal residence, after he found out that his wife and his brother Arthur were having an affair. Robert put both of them to jail, but he couldn’t live in his former home where memories with his wife are all over the place so he left his original residence. He also founded The Jealous Wall, the largest folly in Ireland to block off the view of his estranged brother’s house nearby.

About the Belvedere Estate

  • Where: Belvidere, Ireland
  • When: 1740
  • Who built it: Robert Rochfort, 1st Earl of Belvedere
  • Style: Palladian architecture
  • What is it now? Tourist attraction / Events venue
  • Current owner: Mullingar Municipal District

A large castle in the town of Birr, Birr Castle is the private home of The 7th Earl of Rosse. It was built on the site of a former castle from the 12th century. Sir Laurence Parsons commissioned the construction of the Birr Castle 1620. It was then remodeled into a Gothic style building in the early 19th century.

About the Birr Castle

  • Where: Birr, Ireland
  • When: 1620
  • Who built it: Sir Laurence Parsons
  • Style: Gothic style
  • What is it now? The private residence of the 7th Earl of Rosse
  • Current owner: Brendan Parsons, 7th Earl of Rosse
Blackrock Castle

Blackrock Castle

Blackrock Castle

Blackrock Castle

Blackrock Castle is a castellated fortification by Queen Elizabeth I, granting the request of the citizens of Cork to construct a fort at Blackrock to defend the area against pirates and other invaders. The fortification was built in 1582, then it was given to the City of Cork. It was destroyed multiple times and was rebuilt every time it suffered damages. In the 20th century, castle entered private hands and was used as a private residence, offices, rowing club headquarters, and restaurant until it was reacquired by Cork City Council making it a museum open to the public.

About the Blackrock Castle

  • Where: Cork, Ireland
  • When: 1582
  • Who built it: Queen Elizabeth I
  • Style: Medieval architecture
  • What is it now? Museum / Open to the public
  • Current owner: Cork City Council
Blarney House

Blarney House

Blarney House

Blarney House

A medieval stronghold in Blarney, Blarney Castle was built on the exact spot where the former 10th-century timber house was erected. This timber house was replaced by a stone fort in 1210 that was destroyed in 1446. The Lord of Muscry, Cormac Laidir MacCarthy then constructed the current Blarney Castle, which is open to visitors and tourists controlled by the Colthurst family.

About the Blarney Castle

  • Where: Blarney, Ireland
  • When: 1446
  • Who built it: Lord of Muscry, Cormac Laidir MacCarthy
  • Style: Medieval architecture / Gothic style
  • What is it now? Open to visitors / Tourist attraction
  • Current owner: Colthurst family
Bronlow house

Brownlow House

Brownlow House, otherwise known as Brownlow Castle and Lurgan Castle was commissioned by Charles Brownlow, 1st Baron Lurgan to Scottish architect William Henry Playfair to serve as his family residence. Currently, the Lurgan Loyal Orange District Lodge owns the property, which they bought from Lurgan Real Property Company Ltd. After serving as a military headquarters in both world wars, the Brownlow Castle now serves as a museum.

About the Brownlow House

  • Where: Lurgan, Ireland
  • When: 1883
  • Who built it: Charles Brownlow, 1st Baron Lurgan
  • Style: Renaissance style
  • What is it now? Museum / Open to the public
  • Current owner: Lurgan Loyal Orange District Lodge

 

Butler House

Butler House

Located in Kilkenny, Ireland, Butler House is an 18th-century Georgian Dower house that is currently serving as a 4-star hotel and conference center. It was completed by 1786 to serve as the Dower house for Kilkenny Castle. The Butler House was commissioned by Walter Butler, 16th Earl of Ormonde for his wife to live in when their son John Butler, 17th Earl of Ormonde inherited the title. Currently, it is owned and managed by the Kilkenny Civic Trust.

About the Butler House

  • Where: Kilkenny, Ireland
  • When: 1786
  • Who built it: Walter Butler, 16th Earl of Ormonde
  • Style:
  • What is it now? 4-Star Hotel / Conference center
  • Current owner: Kilkenny Civic Trust
Castle of Butlers

Kilkenny Castle

Castle of Butlers, also known as Kilkenny Castle was built in 1195-1213 just after the Norman conquest of Ireland. After the property was transferred to the people of Kilkenny in 1967, it was opened to the public and is being maintained by the Office of Public Works.

About the Kilkenny Castle

  • Where: Kilkenny, Ireland
  • When: 1195-1213
  • Who built it: Unknown
  • Style: Victorian architecture
  • What is it now? Open to the public
  • Current owner: Office of Public Works
Castle Saunderson

Castle Saunderson

Castle Saunderson was the former family seat of the Saunderson family. It was formerly known as Breffni Castle and was inhabited by the O’Reillys of Breffni since the 14th century. It was then inherited by Robert Sanderson from his father in 1676. It was destroyed a few times but was renovated. The estate was then sold to a private owner by Captain Alexander “Sandy” Saunderson, the last Saunderson who owned the property. It was abandoned and left in ruins soon after.

About the Castle Saunderson

  • Where: Belturbet, Ireland
  • When: Unknown
  • Who built it: Unknown
  • Style: Medieval architecture
  • What is it now? Scouting Ireland facility
  • Current owner: The Castle Saunderson International Scouting Centre

Classiebawn Castle

A country house built for The 3rd Viscount Palmerston, Classiebawn Castle was designed by J. Rawson Carrol, a Dublin-based architect in the Baronial style in the 19th century. It is currently a popular tourist attraction in the village of Mullaghmore owned by a private owner.

About the Classiebawn Castle

  • Where: Belturbet, Ireland
  • When: 19th century
  • Who built it: 3rd Viscount Palmerston
  • Style: Baronial style
  • What is it now? Tourist attraction
  • Current owner: Private owner

Originally built by the de Courcey family in the early 15th century, Coolmaine was later on acquired by MacCarthy Reaghs, the Princes of Desmond in the following century. It was then owned by Roy Disney from Hollywood photographer Bob Willoughby. After Roy Disney passed away, he left the castle to his family.

About the Coolmaine Castle

  • Where: Coolmain, Ireland
  • When: 15th century
  • Who built it: de Courcey family
  • Style:
  • What is it now? Private property
  • Current owner: Disney family
Donegal Castle

Donegal Castle

Situated in the center of Donegal Town, Donegal Castle was by the O’Donnell chieftain in the 15th century. It was rebuilt in Jacobean style by Sir Basil Brooke in the 16th Century after Hugh O’Donnell, the owner of the castle that time burnt it to the ground rather than let it fall into enemy hands. After that, the castle never came back to its former glory. It was restored in the early 1990s by The Office of Public Works and opened it to the public.

About the Donegal Castle

  • Where: Donegal, Ireland
  • When: 15th century
  • Who built it: O’Donnell chieftain
  • Style: Jacobean style
  • What is it now? Open to the public / Events venue
  • Current owner: The Office of Public Works
Doneraile Court Manor House

Doneraile Court Manor House

A late-17th-century country house in the Republic of Ireland, Doneraile Court was originally built as the Doneraile Castle in the 13th century. It was abandoned in the 17th century after suffering from heavy damages. The reconstructed building was completed in the late 17th century. The Doneraile once became the residence of Lord Castletown, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr until he passed away. The Doneraile Court was then passed onto the care of the Republic of Ireland, which opened its park for free.

About the Doneraile Court

  • Where: Doneraile, Ireland
  • When: 17th century
  • Who built it: St Leger family
  • Style: Renaissance style
  • What is it now? Park, open to the public
  • Current owner: Republic of Ireland
Drishane Castle

Drishane Castle

Drishane Castle is a MacCarthy tower house and National Monument located in County Cork, Ireland built in the mid 15th century by Dermot McCarthy, the Lord of Munster. It fell to the hands of Charles 1, turning it into a garrison for his supporters. Then in 1728, the Wallis family acquired the estate and lived there until the 19th century. After the rule of the Wallis family, Patrick Stack bought the castle and then passed on the ownership to the Sisters of the Infant Jesus who turned it into a secondary school for girls until 1992 when it was purchased by the Duggan family and became a center for asylum seekers.

About the Drishane Castle

  • Where: Cork, Ireland
  • When: 15th century
  • Who built it: St Leger family
  • Style: Medieval architecture
  • What is it now? National Monument of Ireland
  • Current owner: Duggan family
Dromoland Castle

Dromoland Castle

Dromoland Castle

Dromoland Castle

Originally built in the late 15th century, Dromoland Castle currently operates as a luxury hotel with a well-known restaurant inside. The current building of the estate was built in 1835, replacing the original building, which was damaged by a few battles in the past centuries. The Dromoland Castle served many nobles and royalties over the centuries before it became a luxury hotel. Its restaurant, the Earl of Thomond was awarded a Michelin star in 1995, under head chef Jean Baptiste Molinari.

About the Dromoland Castle

  • Where: Dromoland, Ireland
  • When: 15th century
  • Who built it: Architects James and George Richard Pain
  • Style: Gothic Revival style
  • What is it now? 5-Star Luxury Hotel and Restaurant
  • Current owner: Private owner
Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle was originally built in the 13th century as a defensive fortress commissioned by King John in 1204. It was rebuilt in the 18th century after the original building was damaged by a fire and later on demolished. Throughout its history, the castle served as an efficient defensive system and the seat of English, then later British, the government of Ireland under the Lordship of Ireland, the Kingdom of Ireland as well as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

About the Dublin Castle

  • Where: Dromoland, Ireland
  • When: 1204
  • Who built it: King John
  • Style: Gothic style / Neo-Gothic style
  • What is it now? Irish government complex / Conference center / Tourist attraction
  • Current owner: Irish Government
Huntington Castle aka Clonegal

Huntington Castle / Clonegal Castle

Huntington Castle, also known as Clonegal Castle was built in 1625 for defensive purposes during the plantation of the area in the early 17th century. Today, it serves as a private house open to the public owned by Alexander and Claire Durdin Robertson.

About the Huntington Castle

  • Where: Clonegal, Ireland
  • When: 1625
  • Who built it: Unknown
  • Style:
  • What is it now? Open to the public for guided tours
  • Current owner: Alexander and Claire Durdin Robertson
Jownstown Castle

Johnstown Castle

The first known owners of the Johnstown Castle were the Esmondes, a Norman family who settled in the county in the 12th century. It was acquired by John Grogan in 1692 and his successors made major changes and modifications to the castle, as it was rebuilt in a Victorian revival style in the 19th century. The Grogan-Morgan family, who owned the castle for centuries left the property in 1945, as the last owner presented it as a gift to the Irish Nation.

About the Johnstown Castle

  • Where: Murrintown, Ireland
  • When: 19th century
  • Who built it: Grogan-Morgan family
  • Style: Victorian Revival style
  • What is it now? Open to the public
  • Current owner: Irish Government

Kilcoe castle

Kilcoe Castle is situated on an islet in Roaringwater Bay the village of Ballydehob in County Cork, Ireland. It was built in the mid 15th century by the Clan of Dermod MacCarthy. After it was sieged in 1600, the castle started to fell into disrepair and slowly fell into ruin. However, in 1998, the ruin of Kilcoe Castle was purchased by the actor Jeremy Irons and started restoring it. The restoration work took 6 years to complete and became his family’s private home up to this date.

About the Kilcoe castle

  • Where: Ballydehob, Ireland
  • When: 15th century
  • Who built it: Clan of Dermod MacCarthy
  • Style:
  • What is it now? Private property
  • Current owner: Private owner
Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Castle of Butlers, also known as Kilkenny Castle was built in 1195-1213 just after the Norman conquest of Ireland. After the property was transferred to the people of Kilkenny in 1967, it was opened to the public and is being maintained by the Office of Public Works.

About the Kilkenny Castle

  • Where: Kilkenny, Ireland
  • When: 1195-1213
  • Who built it: Unknown
  • Style: Victorian architecture
  • What is it now? Open to the public
  • Current owner: Office of Public Works

A tower house located in the parish of Quin, County Clare, Ireland, Knappogue Castle was originally built in 1467 by Seán Mac MacNamara and became the seat of the MacNamara sept, the Earls of West Clancullen. After the MacNamara family, several other families ruled the castle for centuries and in the mid 19th century, the castle was remodeled by Dunboyne family commissioning architects James Pain and his brother George Richard Pain. After a few changes after the rule of the Dunboyne family, the castle was acquired by Mark Edwin Andrews, former Assistant Secretary of the United States Navy in 1966. Together with his wife, Lavonne, a prominent American architect, the couple made collaborations with then Shannon Free Airport Development Company, now Shannon Heritage and carried out extensive restoration. The castle was then opened to the public.

About the Knappogue Castle

  • Where: Quin, Ireland
  • When: 1467
  • Who built it: Seán Mac MacNamara
  • Style: Late Medieval architecture
  • What is it now? Open to the public
  • Current owner: Shannon Heritage
Lough Eske Castle

Lough Eske Castle

Lough Eske Castle is located in Donegal town is one of the top 10 hotels in Ireland. It was built in 1474 and was reconstructed in the mid 19th century. It was destroyed by a fire in 1939 before it became a World Luxury hotel awardee, a prestigious award for luxury hotels. It has been voted as World’s Best Luxury Country Hotel four years in a row already.

About the Lough Eske Castle

  • Where: Donegal, Ireland
  • When: 1474
  • Who built it: Unknown
  • Style: Elizabethan Tudor architecture
  • What is it now? 5-star luxury hotel
  • Current owner: Unclear
Malahide Castle

Malahide Castle

Malahide Castle was built by Richard Talbot in 1185 and became his family’s home for 791 years, from 1185 until 1976. The castle witnessed cruel bloodsheds and sadness throughout its long history, thus giving birth to the castle ghosts who roam the castle grounds. Many visitors have reported their encounters with a ghost court jester and a lady in white. It is believed that the ghosts are former residence of the castle. Currently, Malahide Castle is owned by the Irish State and is open to both local and international visitors all year long.

About the Malahide Castle

  • Where: Donegal, Ireland
  • When: 1185
  • Who built it: Richard Talbot
  • Style: Medieval architecture
  • What is it now? Tourist attraction / Open to visitors
  • Current owner: Irish State
Muckross House

Muckross House

A mansion designed by the British architect, William Burn, Muckross House was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the watercolorist Mary Balfour Herbert in 1843. Soon after it was built, the couple ordered extensive improvements in the 1850s to prepare for the visit of Queen Victoria in 1861. Due to these early improvements to the castle, Herbert family suffered financial difficulties in the following years resulting in the sale of the estate. It was bought by Arthur Guinness, 1st Baron Ardilaun in 1899. After Arthur Guinness, a few owners possessed the castle until it became a property of the Republic of Ireland as its first National Park.

About the Muckross House

  • Where: Killarney, Ireland
  • When: 1843
  • Who built it: Henry Arthur Herbert and Mary Balfour Herbert
  • Style: Victorian style
  • What is it now? National Park
  • Current owner: Republic of Ireland
Plunge Manor

Plungė Manor

The Plungė Manor was originally built in the 16th century, however, the current and main mansion was ordered to be built by the Ogiński family in 1879, in a Neo-Renaissance style designed by Architect Karlas Lorencas. The property suffered damages from a fire during World War 2 and was renovated in 1961. Currently, the manor houses Samogitian Art Museum.

About the Plungė Manor

  • Where: Plungė, Lithuania
  • When: 16th century
  • Who built it: Ogiński family
  • Style: Neo-Renaissance style
  • What is it now? Samogitian Art Museum
  • Current owner: City of Plungė
Portumna Castle

Portumna Castle

Built in the early 17th century by the 4th Earl of Clanricarde, Richard Burke, Portumna Castle is a semi-fortified house located in Portumna. It was built in the Renaissance style, and its style, grandeur, and distinction were without equal in the whole of Ireland at that time. Today, it serves as a National Monument of Ireland and its grounds are open to the public.

About the Portumna Castle

  • Where: Portumna, Ireland
  • When: 17th century
  • Who built it: 4th Earl of Clanricarde, Richard Burke
  • Style: Renaissance style
  • What is it now? National Monument of Ireland
  • Current owner: Republic of Ireland
Powerscourt House

Powerscourt House

Located in Enniskerry, Powerscourt Estate is a large country estate originally built in the 13th century by a man named La Poer. The Powerscourt family acquired the house during the 16th century. As the family rose to power, they ordered the full renovation of the former house into the Palladian building that is known today. Architect Richard Cassels led the architectural plan that started in 1731 and was completed 10 years after. The estate would, later on, served the Viscounts of Powerscourt as their residence until it was sold by the 9th Viscount, Mervyn Patrick Wingfield in 1961. The buyer, the Slazenger family still owns the property up to this date.

About the Powerscourt Estate

  • Where: Enniskerry, Ireland
  • When: 16th century
  • Who built it: Powerscourt family
  • Style: Palladian architecture
  • What is it now? Tourist attraction
  • Current owner: Slazenger family
Russborough House

Russborough House

Situated near the Blessington Lakes in County Wicklow, Russborough House is a stately house designed by architect Richard Cassels in Palladian architecture. It was commissioned by Joseph Leeson, 1st Earl of Milltown and was built between 1741 and 1755.

About the Russborough House

  • Where: Wicklow, Ireland
  • When: 1741-1755
  • Who built it: Joseph Leeson, 1st Earl of Milltown
  • Style: Palladian architecture
  • What is it now? Tourist attraction / Open to visitors
  • Current owner: Beit family
Trim Castle

Trim Castle

A Norman castle in Trim, County Meath, Ireland, Trim Castle was built by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter as the caput of the Lordship of Meath in the 12th century. It is the largest Norman castle in Ireland and is currently in ruin. It served several owners before it came to the possession of the Irish State. Today, it is a magnificent tourist attraction.

About the Trim Castle

  • Where: Trim, Ireland
  • When: 12th century
  • Who built it: Hugh de Lacy
  • Style: Medieval architecture
  • What is it now? Tourist attraction / Open to visitors
  • Current owner: Irish State
Wilmont House

Wilmont House

The original Wilmont House was built in 1740 and was replaced by Thomas Jackson’s Victorian-style building, which is the Wilmont House known today. The Belfast City Council acquired the property from Lady Dixon in 1959, who opened the Wilmont House to the public as the Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park.

About the Wilmont House

  • Where: Belfast, Ireland
  • When: 1740
  • Who built it: Thomas Jackson
  • Style: Victorian style
  • What is it now? Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park / Open to the public
  • Current owner: Belfast City Council

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