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Historic Houses & Castles

Rathfarnham Castle

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Rathfarnham Castle began life as an Elizabethan fortified house. The Archbishop-Chancellor, Adam Loftus commissioned the building in 1583. The design was radically modern for the time.. The angled bastion towers located at each corner of the building were equipped with musket loops which allowed a garrison of soldiers to defend all approaches to the Castle by Irish clans.

Extensive remodeling and redecoration of Rathfarnham Castle took place in the 18th century under a series of later owners. Notable work was done by the famous architect Sir William Chambers, and several rooms have been attributed to the important architect and designer James 'Athenian' Stuart. Much of the neo-classical design and decoration which characterises the building today can be attributed to these two important figures. They are remembered in the Stuart and Chambers Tea Rooms in the Castle today.

After 1911 The Society of Jesus then acquired the building and for much of the remainder of the 20th century it was used as a Retreat House and accommodation. Following the departure of the Jesuits in the 1980s, the Castle came into the care of the Irish State and a great deal of restoration work has been carried out since. Most of the rooms have been restored to their eighteenth-century state and several are furnished with a collection of fine eighteenth and nineteenth-century pieces from continental Europe, Britain and Ireland.

Rathfarnham Castle is open seven days a week from May to September, and from Wednesday to Sunday during winter. Tickets for guided tours of the Castle interior can be purchased at reception. Holders of the Heritage Card gain free admission. The first Wednesday of every month is free for everyone. School groups are also entitled to free entry. The Stuart and Chambers Tearooms by Brambles is open seven days a week.
Rathfarnham Castle hosts events and exhibitions throughout the year.

Dogs are permitted on a lead in the courtyard outside the Café, and on the steps and portico outside the front door.
The Castle provides access for visitors who require universal access. Take Bus 16 from Dublin City.

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