Ardgillan Castle is more like a large country mansion than a truly authentic castle. Its façade incorporates several castle-like features and it is set amidst nearly 200 acres of beautiful parkland. The setting is further enhanced with views from the castle and park overlooking the Irish Sea, surrounding countryside and a group of coastal islands known as the Skerries.
The grounds are well kept and include a rose garden, Victorian conservatory and a walled kitchen garden. One of the striking features of the walled garden is the large fruit wall and the native Irish plant area. There is a formal garden to the west of the house. During the summer months from June to August, guided tours of the gardens are offered.
The Rev. Robert Taylor built Ardgillan Castle in 1738. The house consists of a large sprawling basement and two upper levels. Areas open to the public include the basement, which houses the kitchen, service areas and stores. An ice room, a precursor to the refrigerator, was also recently found on the site.
The first floor includes fully restored rooms including a library, morning room and dining room. These have been decorated and furnished in the Georgian and Victorian styles. There is also a tearoom where you can buy light snacks though, if the weather is good, you could take a picnic and eat it in the tranquil surrounds.
Guided tours of the basement and first floor are conducted regularly and last about 40 minutes. These are given in English but there are audio tours available in a variety of languages.
The upper level is home to a permanent exhibition of the 'Down Survey' maps of Ireland that were commissioned in the 17th century. Other exhibitions and classes are also held here throughout the year.
Getting there from Dublin by car is via the M1 and N1. You will need to go towards Balbriggan. The route is well signposted. The No. 33 bus from Eden Quay will deliver you close to the castle. Several private tours can be booked from Dublin. It is also possible to take a train from Dublin using the Drogheda line but it is not as convenient as the other modes of transport. You would need to walk about four kilometers from Balbriggan Station to the castle.
The castle is open throughout the year, with times varying depending on the seasons. Although admission into the castle is free, there is a cost for the guided tour. Concessions do apply.
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