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Aran Inspired

Dysert O'Dea Castle and Archaeology Centre

This medieval tower house, built in 1480 by the Gaelic nobleman Diarmud O'Dea, today houses the Clare Archaeology Centre. Beautifully restored, the castle serves not only as a museum, but as an attraction in its own right, and as the centre of a walking trail that features many other sites of historical interest.

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Knappogue Castle

Situated near Quin, County Clare, Knappogue Castle, or Caislean na Cnapoige, means "the castle of the place abounding in little hills". It is one of Ireland’s most beautifully restored and maintained 15th century castles. A short distance to the northwest of the castle is a pretty Victorian walled garden.

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Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

Overlooking the River Shannon, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park in County Clare one of the country's most popular visitor attractions. Situated among 26 acres, the castle is in excellent condition and contains the finest collection of medieval furniture in the country. The 15th and 16th century furnishings and art on display in the Great Hall capture the Celtic past and heritage of this region. At night time, the Great Hall becomes the setting for medieval costumed banquets complete with court jesters, maids, and food and drink of the middle ages.

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Charleville Forest Castle

The castle is open to the public and is currently funded by a charitable trust under the direction of Dudley Stuart. It occupies 30 acres of land that includes gardens as well as densely wooded areas. The castle building was designed by Francis Johnston, and Charles Bury was the original owner. Johnston was responsible for several classic Georgian buildings in Dublin, including the General Post Office. The exterior of the building is dominated by stately turrets and a flag tower, and features many mullioned windows. A large window located above the main entrance is the focal point of the façade. Inside, the rooms are gigantic, including the dining room designed by William Morris that still bears its original stenciled wallpaper.

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Birr Castle Demesne

Birr Castle in County Offaly is a magnificent old castle that has been the private family home of the Parsons family since the early 17th century. Unfortunately, as it is a private residence, the interior isn't open to the public. You may, however, visit Birr's “demesne” -- an old word used to describe the lands surrounding the castle. Unlike some other castle grounds, Birr demesne is not free, but it is a delightful demesne, particularly if you've got kids.

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Slane Castle

The tiny Georgian village of Slane is located along the River Boyne. Slane Castle is its largest attraction, built during the 18th century in the vicinity of a large natural amphitheater. The estate has been the scene of numerous outdoor concerts since the year 1981, when owner Lord Henry Mountcharles held the first. In that first Slane concert, U2 performed as a backup band. Other recognizable artists who have performed at Slane Castle over the years include David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen. The largest Slane crowd ever recorded was 70,000 attendees, at an REM concert.

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Trim Castle

One of Ireland's finest castles and unmissable upon entering the town, Trim Castle truly dominates the surrounding landscape. Perched atop a hill on a 2½-acre site, it overlooks the River Boyne. Despite being in ruins, it remains well preserved, and is one of the largest castles in Europe.   Within moments of encountering this castle, the visitor will understand why it was used as the location for the last scene in the movie Braveheart.

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The Rock of Dunamase

A short distance from the town of Portlaoise, in dramatic contrast to the surrounding flat countryside of most of County Laois, rises the Rock of Dunamase, with its ancient castle on top. The “rock’s” natural attributes – in fact it is a 150-foot high limestone cliff – made it the perfect spot to erect a fortress. In ruins since the 17th century, a climb to the summit nevertheless reveals broken, but still recognizable portions of walls, towers and gates, from what was once a very large and complex palace-like structure.

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The Rock of Cashel

The word Cashel is derived from a Gaelic  word meaning “fortress” and it’s not hard to see why. The Rock of Cashel lays claim, with much justification, to the title “most spectacular archaeological site in Ireland”. Situated just outside Cashel town in County Tipperary, this limestone mound rises 200 feet into the air, giving an ominous and towering presence to the fortifications perched on top. These include the ruins of a castle, a cathedral, an abbey, a chapel, a round tower, high crosses and several other structures, all of which are enclosed within an impressive stone wall. The Rock’s history goes back to the fourth century AD, when it was the royal seat of the Eoghanachta clan, originally from Wales, and ultimately conquerors of the Munster province.

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Blarney Castle and Blarney Stone

Blarney Castle in Cork is most famous for its "Stone of Eloquence", known internationally as the Blarney Stone. Situated just 8 km from Cork City, Blarney is one of Ireland’s oldest castles with the first structure dating back to the 11th century. It has been rebuilt several times with the third and present day Castle completed in 1446 by Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster. The castle is now a partial ruin, although some rooms can be accessed and are open to the public.

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