A cool, gray mist blanketed the sky on a late summer day. For many people, this may be an ominous sign to the start of a European vacation. In Ireland, this was nature’s way of welcoming me to the Emerald Isle with a friendly Irish hug. As I walked the grounds of Dublin Castle, I was at peace.
While Temple Bar, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the Guinness Factory top the list of popular things to do in Dublin, a walk through the grounds of Dublin Castle is the perfect introduction on how to experience Ireland.
An introduction to Dublin Castle and Irish history
After flying all day from California, I arrived in Dublin at 8:30 am. I came to Ireland to watch a football game and see as much of the city as possible. In my attempt to avoid jet lag, I set out to see the city on foot.
After walking through Temple Bar, I set my sights on Dublin Castle. The green grass, castle walls and colorful gardens, and gray skies were quintessentially Irish.
Dublin Castle was commissioned in 1204 by King John of England in an attempt to protect the city from invaders. Located on a high ridge near the Liffey River in the heart of the city, Dublin Castle has served as the home of justice, treasures, parliament, and government.
Today it hosts European leaders, heads of state, businesses, and tourists. The castle has played a vital role throughout Irish history with English rule, Irish rebellion, wars, and assassinations. With its various castle towers, State Apartments, national treasures, and must-see Chester Beatty Library, a Dublin Castle tour is a perfect introduction to Ireland.
However, today was not the day for a tour, a museum, or a lesson in Irish history.
A walk in the rain through Dublin Castle
As a kid, I remember playing in the rain and stomping through puddles. As an adult, I no longer had time to do those things.
Wandering through the castle, it was time to let Dublin soak through me.
As I walked through the castle grounds and gardens, the grass seemed greener and the pastel colors of the buildings brighter. I watched as little kids ran across the lawn and played on the walls.
With the castle in front of me and towers and walls around me, I was protected from the outside world. Dublin Castle didn’t want to let the distractions in or let me escape.
Yet escape I did as I left the adult me behind and found that kid inside.
I remembered what it was like to walk in the rain and enjoy it. Within those walls of Dublin Castle, I wanted to experience Ireland and not just see it or learn about it.
After walking through Dublin Castle, I spent the rest of the day exploring green spaces and parks in the city. This was one of those memorable travel experiences when life slows down and nothing else matters.
Dublin Castle was the perfect way to begin my trip to Ireland. The next few days would be filled with football games, tours, pubs, and seeing as much of Dublin as possible. However, I learned some valuable life lessons from the Irish people and the city.
Slow down, be still, and experience the world around you. In Ireland, a walk in the rain through Dublin Castle isn’t a bad day. It’s a perfect day.
Now when it rains in California, I may go for a walk.
Tips for visiting Dublin Castle
Whether you go to Dublin castle for a tour or a stroll through the grounds, Irish history and experiences surround you. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your Dublin Castle experience.
Location: Dublin Castle is located at 2 Palace Street, Dublin 2 just south of the Liffey River in the heart of the city (Google maps)
Directions: The castle is a few blocks from the Temple Bar area of Dublin. Palace Street entrance is located on Dame Street between Parliament Street and Sycamore Street.
Entrances are located at Cork Hill, Palace Street, and Ship St. The closest car park entrances are located at Parkrite Christchurch Carpark on Werburg St. Dublin buses 77, 77A, 56A and 49 from Eden Quay and 123 from O’ Connell St stop at Palace Street Gate.
Hours: Current hours for Dublin Castle are Monday – Saturday 10 – 16:45 and Sunday and holidays 12 – 16:45.
Tickets: Adults € 4.50, Senior Citizens and Students €3.50, and children under 12 €2 for entrance and tours.
Information: Get more information, tickets, and a history of Dublin Castle
A walk in the rain is always free. If you want a great review of the tour as well as history and a little fun, check out Everywhereist’s tour of Dublin Castle.