Irish castles and forts

As expected, given the history of conflict (mainly with the English), Ireland is home to a large number of castles and forts throughout the land. Some are ruins, others over restored, but castles are usually of interest.

Ross Castle
Scenically located on the shores of Lough Leane in Killarney National Park, Ross Castle was built in the 15th century by one of the O’Donoghue Ross chieftains. It fell into ruin by the end of the 19th century, before being extensively restored in the 1970s.

Charles Fort
One of the finest surviving examples of a star-shaped bastion fort, Charles Fort is a huge and evocative place 3km from Kinsale, on the south coast of Ireland. Built in the 17th century and expanded in the 18th and 19th it remained in use until 1922.

Rock of Cashel
One of the most famous, and impressively situated, castles in Ireland, the Rock of Cashel is visible for miles around. The newer looking Cormac’s Chapel is of a similar age to the rest of the castle, but built of brown sandstone rather than the grey limestone used in most other Irish stone buildings.

Dublin Castle
The former seat of British rule in Ireland, this is a very bizarre mix of buildings from different ages, in strikingly different colours. Can’t decide if it is refreshingly postmodern or a bit of a mess…

Cahir Castle
Originating from the 13th century, though much of it is newer, particularly the outer walls. Unfortunately grey, overcast days aren’t the best for photography…

Desmond Castle
Dating from the 13th century, I only saw it from the road while cross over the River Maigue at Adare, but it was eye catching.

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