Swords Castle is situated in the old town of Swords approximately 15km north of Dublin. The settlement of Swords (or Sord, meaning clear or pure) is said to have been founded by St. Calmille in 560 AD and has suffered many attacks over the years particularly in the 9th and 10th century.
The building of the castle was started in the 12th century as a residence for the first Archbishop of Dublin, John Comyn but construction lasted for about 400 years. Unusually, Swords Castle is much larger than the average Irish castle and has been built in the shape of a pentagon with its surrounding wall stretching for 305 meters.
Over the years the castle has housed not only several Archbishops but also parliaments and courts, and it was here the town received its municipal rights from Queen Elizabeth I in 1578.
In 1985 the castle was acquired by Dublin County Council from the Cobbe Family of Newbridge House which had been in possession of the castle since the de-establishment of the Irish Church in 1869.
Today, the castle is being restored and renovated by Fingal County Council and it currently represents what it would have looked like in the 15th century. Work on the castle is on-going and expected to continue for quite a few years yet.
Swords Castle is open to visitors who can admire the 10th century Round Tower which gives magnificent views of the surrounding area of Fingal. The castle also offers a visitor center where you can learn more about the fascinating history of Swords Castle which today is the only remaining residence of the Archbishop.
The site can easily be reached by public transport straight from Dublin or there is a car park in the town center of Swords.
Admission to Swords Castle is free but opening hours are limited due to the construction works in progress so do check before you travel. The castle is closed on weekends.
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