Castles to Visit in Cork
Filled with history and old Irish legend, Cork is filled with Castles & Old Country houses to explore
Ancient castles rise from the green hilltops of Cork, overlooking rolling fields and miles of coastline landscape. When you visit Cork there is no shortage of castles to visit during your stay in Cork. Here is our guide of some castles that are not to be missed on your visit.
The gem in castles of Cork, Blarney Castle is one of the must well-known Ireland’s most well known landmarks. Attracting visitors from all over the world, Blarney Castle has stood proudly in Cork since 1446. Blarney Castle is located in Blarney Village, which is 8km from Cork City or a 20 minute drive from The Metropole Hotel.
Housed within the castle walls is the famous Blarney Stone. Set just below the battlements, visitor come to kiss the stone. To kiss it, one has to lean backwards in the hope to bestow the gift of eloquence. There are many who visit Blarney Castle just to kiss the stone, but there is lots more to see on your visit. If you do visit, make sure you get a chance to see the castle from all angles. From some sides it looks warlike, from others absolutely magical. As the walls slope inward, it looks even higher than it actually is. There’s not just the stone to make the climb to the battlements worthwhile, the views are absolutely amazing.
Located just steps away from the castle, Blarney House dates back to 1874. It is surrounded by an expanse of parkland with rare trees, gardens, lawns, flower beds and much more. We highly recommend spending a few hours to explore and to visit the gorgeous on-site café.
BLACKROCK CASTLE & OBSERVATORY
On the banks of the River Lee, Blackrock Castle & Observatory is a 16th century castle, that was initially constructed as a watchtower to protect the river’s entry from pirates and other intruders.
Blackrock Castle, erected in the 1828s, was designed by James and G.R. Pain. A huge circular tower with crenellated parapets resting on large corbels makes up the current fortress. It comprises sections of the second castle’s walls that were robust enough to survive cannon ball contact.
Today, the Castle is home to Ireland’s first fully interactive Astronomy Centre. Enjoy daily planetarium presentations where you can learn about the wonders of the night sky before taking part in Ireland’s first interactive theatre to see the award-winning “The Comet Chaser.” Soak up all of the insights and discoveries about space that are discovered every day, and don’t forget to send a message to Space at the Pan Galactic Station before you go.
Planning on a trip to Cobh during your stay in Cork? Just a ten minute drive from the historical harbour tour, you will find the 14th century tower house of Belvelly Castle. Which overlooks the one only bridge connecting Fota Island & Great Island. With a rich history that dates back to its planned construction in 1200, to its restoration in 2016, Belvelly Castle is certainly not one to be missed.
There is also plenty of stories of haunting and ghostly activity in the castle for those of us who love a good ghost story.
Located just outside the town of Kanturk, about a 45 minute drive from Cork City, you will find the remains of Kanturk Castle, a ruined 17th-century mansion. Kanturk Castle incorporates a variety of architectural styles, making a precise period of construction hard to determine but suspected to be around 1618. Built for MacDonogh MacCarthy, Lord of Duhallow, the castle is surrounded by woodland and nestled right next to the town of Kanturk.
If you are looking to enjoy a road trip around North Cork, we would highly suggest a visit to Kanturk Castle and exploring the town for a few hours.