Established in 1204, Dublin Castle has witnessed many tumultuous events in Ireland's history from its establishment on a Viking fortress, through invasions and wars, fire and neglect, to the restoration of the historic buildings. The site is now a tourist attraction and events centre hosting luminaries from the European Union to business and industry leaders.
Located in the centre of Dublin near the River Liffey, after 900 years all that remains of the original 13th-century Anglo-Norman fortress is the southeast Record Tower, finished in 1258, which was used as a high-security prison for native Irish hostages and priests during Tudor times. The tower is now the Garda (Police) Museum, which is free to enter via prior arrangement. The remainder of the site was rebuilt in the 18th century in a mix of architectural styles. Access to the State Apartments and medieval Undercroft within Dublin Castle is by guided tour only. Admission for adults is €4.5, children seven to 12 years enter for €2, and kids aged six and under are free.
Located in the south end of the Great Courtyard, the State Apartments were built as the residential and public quarters of the Viceregal Court and are now used to host presidential and prestigious functions. The subterranean Undercroft is on the lower ground floor in the Lower Castle Yard where the city walls meet the castle. Here you can view Viking foundations, the trickle of the River Poddle, which used to meet the Liffey, and steps to the ancient moat. Also onsite, there's free entry to the Chester Beatty Library, which houses cultural and religious art from Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, as well as to the Chapel Royal – a Gothic Revival building with interiors boasting marvellous vaulted ceilings, plaster decoration and carved wood galleries. The Revenue Museum is housed within the Crypt of the Chapel Royal and displays interactive and historic exhibits relating to Irish taxes and fraud.
To visit Dublin Castle, buses 49, 56A, 77, 77A and 123 stop at Palace Street Gate. From here, it's a three-minute walk.