A visit to Ireland almost certainly guarantees a trip to a castle or two and luckily for Dublin tourists, Malahide Castle and Gardens, just north of the city, is one of the oldest castles in all of Ireland. If you’re looking to dive into some Irish history, then this castle is an intriguing start.
You grab a northbound DART train from city centre for an easy 20-minute ride to Malahide village where a short stroll leads you to the Malahide Castle and Gardens’ entrance. Upon entering the grounds, you can’t help noticing how lush and green everything looks as you walk up the main driveway. Set in more than 260 beautiful acres, this 12th-century castle features pristine gardens and walking paths, an amazing playground, a cycling rental centre and a par 3 golf and tennis club.
You purchase tickets in the visitor centre for the guided tour and head off to the castle entrance. You are greeted by an interesting exhibit offering some historical background before the tour begins. This magnificent castle was built and inhabited by the Talbot family for over 800 years, and since it was only in 1975 that the family sold it to the Irish State, you are fascinated by the level of detail your tour guide offers as she leads you through the “story,” room by room.
After exploring Malahide Castle, you set out to explore the West Lawn and Walled Gardens. Lord Milo Talbot was primarily responsible for bringing over 5,000 species of plants from around the world to the castle grounds. An avid traveller from the 1940s through 1970, he took his inspiration from these worldwide journeys when he designed the gardens. As with your walk through the castle, strolling through the walled garden on a beautiful day transports you back in time.
All of this Irish history and walking has built up your appetite, so you decide to grab a cuppa and a home-made scone at Avoca, located in the visitor centre before perusing their gift shop, which seems to have something to buy for everyone you know!
A day at the castle wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Malahide village where you continue shopping at the quaint boutiques, visit an old pub for lunch, and take a stroll by the marina. It’s the perfect end to a perfect day with the family. As soon as you’re headed back to Dublin, you all want to look at the great photos you captured of your wonderful Irish castle experience!