The early history of Rathfarnham Castle is not well documented but it is thought to date back to the 16th century. It was built by Englishman Adam Loftus who later became the first Archbishop of Dublin and was one of the founders of Trinity College.
The castle is open in the summer months from the end of May to the beginning of November where guided tours are offered and last for about one hour. There is a guidebook, but it is only written in English.
The castle has had a colorful history, coming under siege in the 1641 rebellion. It was used by Parliamentary troops during the British Civil War in 1642 and Oliver Cromwell is rumored to have stayed here.
It underwent major alterations during the 18th century when both its interior and exterior were modernized in the Georgian style.
Rathfarnham has had several owners throughout its history but is now owned by the state, which has undertaken its restoration. It was declared a National Monument in the 1980s.
The restoration of the castle is ongoing and visitors can view the progress. It is quite interesting to witness first hand conservation techniques and during the guided tour, visitors get to see parts of the castle not yet restored. You also hear about secret tunnels and no castle tour would be complete without a story of love, murder and the resident ghost.
Further major renovations will be carried during 2009 and the castle may be closed for extended periods of time. It is best to check directly with the castle staff before heading off.
There is a tearoom selling basic snacks and drinks, which is open throughout the year.
The castle is serviced by Dublin Buses. Buses number 16 and 16A leave from the city center. If you choose to drive, take the Rathfarnham by-pass, between Rathfarnham Road and Grange Road from Dublin. There is parking at the castle.
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