Now, this is a castle. Designed in 1798 by Francis Johnston, this spooky, crenellated Gothic Revival masterpiece took 12 years to build. Today it’s considered one of the best of Ireland’s early 19th-century castles, with fine limestone walls and plenty of towers, turrets, and battlements—and those who believe in such things say it is haunted. (It has featured on the TV shows Ghost Hunters and Most Haunted.) Inside you’ll find spectacular plasterwork and hand-carved stairways, as well as secret passageways and dungeons. Charleville is run by volunteers, so opening times can be a little unpredictable. The castle is open year-round, and scheduled tours run daily from May to August. For the rest of the year, try and book tours a couple of days in advance. Volunteers are as accommodating as possible, but do bear in mind that they’re running it out of love rather than for profit. (“Tourists who drop in generally find one of the volunteers and get a tour in any case,” they explained to us recently). Prices are a little on the high side, but the money is obviously needed for ongoing restoration work. The fact that the staff, so dedicated and enthusiastic, is all unpaid, makes it easier to justify paying that little bit extra.
Counties Galway, Westmeath and Offaly
Counties Galway, Westmeath and Offaly› Attraction
Off Birr Rd. (N52), Tullamore, Co. Offaly
Our Rating Hours Castle open year-round; June–Aug tours daily 1–5:30pm; Sept–May tours by appointment Phone 087/766-4110 or 057/932-3040 Prices Guided tour €20 adults; €12 students age 17–18; €6 children 6–16; free for children under 6 Web site Charleville Castle
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.