Since its foundation in 1204 Dublin Castle has been at the heart of the history and evolution of the city.
Dublin Castle is one of the most important buildings in Irish history.
From 1204 until 1922 it was the seat of English, and later British rule in Ireland. During that time, it served principally as a residence for the British monarch’s Irish representative, the Viceroy of Ireland, and as a ceremonial and administrative centre.
The Castle was originally developed as a medieval fortress under the orders of King John of England. It had four corner towers linked by high curtain walls and was built around a large central enclosure. Constructed on elevated ground once occupied by an earlier Viking settlement, the old Castle stood approximately on the site of the present Upper Castle Yard. It remained largely intact until April 1684, when a major fire caused severe damage to much of the building.
Despite the extent of the fire, parts of the medieval and Viking structures survived and can still be explored by visitors today.
Today, spanning an area of over 44,000 square meters (11 acres), the site contains 2 museums, 2 cafés, an international conference centre, 2 gardens, Government Buildings and the State Apartments which are the most important state rooms in the country.
The grounds of the site are free to explore, as is the Chester Beatty Library and the Revenue Museum. Access to the State Apartments is by guided tour only and tickets may be purchased from the Apartments in the Upper Castle Yard.