Ireland is a land of castles. While there are some places where you will have to shell out quite some money to be able to stay the night, others open their doors to everyone for a touristic visit. Here is a selection of five castles worth visiting on your next trip to Ireland:

 Bunratty Castle

DURTY NELLY'S
The construction of Bunratty Castle dates back to 1425, and it was restored to its medieval splendor in 1954. It is known for being the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. On your visit, you will see 15th and 16th century furniture, tapestries and other art works of the times. Today, the castle grounds moreover include a folk park that spreads out at the foot of the massive walls. Note that the Castle closes each day at 4 p.m. to prepare for the Medieval Banquet. For more information on planning your visit, click here.

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle
Located in County Cork, Blarney Castle is notorious for the Blarney Stone. Legend has it that this stone bestows the gift of eloquence and Irish charm. Tourists have been trekking to the Castle for years to kiss the blarney stone.

The Castle itself was constructed around 1446 for the MacCarthy Chieftains of Munster. However, it is believed that a settlement was established here in this area already in the 10th century. The Castle grounds come with spectacular gardens, including the Druids Altar, the Witches Kitchen and the Wishing Stairs. To plan your very own visit (and kiss) click here.

Ballygally Castle

Ballygally Castle Hotel
In “The World’s Most Haunted Places,” Jeff Belanger describes Ballygally Castle as “a living postcard—a charming, almost teal-colored Scottish baronial castle overlooking the sea in Northern Ireland.” Located in the village of Ballygally in Northern Ireland, the Castle is known to be one of the most haunted places in the province.

The castle overlooks the Ballygally Bay. Most recently, it has been converted into a hotel. In fact, it is the only 17th century building still used as a residence in Northern Ireland. If you want to see ghosts, this is the place to go.

Ashford Castle

A rear shot of the oldest part of the Ashford Castle which is near Cong, Ireland in County Mayo. By jmenard48.

Another castle turned hotel. Ashford dates back to the 13th century, and to be quite honest, it is difficult to capture the property in words. The following video provides a pretty good 360 degree overview. The entire history of the estate is also traced here. A highlight to consider doing on your visit: falconry. In addition to fishing, golf and just taking a walk on the spectacular grounds. Be sure to take a map – it is so big you might get lost!

Dromoland Castle

Dromoland Castle
The best of the best. Dromoland Castle, like Ashford Castle, is hard to describe in words; this selection of videos will provide a better overview.

The first building constructed on these grounds dates back to the 15th or 16th century. The present construction, in turn, was completed in 1835. Nowadays, the castle has been converted into a hotel, including a golf course and numerous other activities to take part in. If you are planning a wedding, they will do that, too!