Fun & Weird

Adventures in Dublin: Dublin Castle and the Underwhelming Undercroft

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Dublin Castle was my last stop of the day, and I’d managed to make it in time for one of the last guided tours. This was important, not necessarily so I could hear historic details of the State Apartments, but because I really wanted to see the Medieval Undercroft, the remains of a Viking fortification on which the castle was built.

Dublin Castle Entrance

If you’re expecting a more stereotypical castle look, you might be a little disappointed.

Dublin Castle State Apartments

In continuous use since 1204 (per the castle website), its been adapted to fit more contemporary uses. But if the courtyard is a little stark, the State Apartments definitely make up for it.

Dublin Castle State Drawing Room

Dublin Castle Throne Room

Dublin Castle Portrait Gallery

And, as I usually am, I was glad I took the tour because I got a lot more out of the rooms, particularly St. Patrick’s Hall.

Dublin Castle st patricks hall

Then, it was time for the Medieval Undercroft! The entrance of which is rather non-nondescript, which added to the excitement (a’la speakeasy). It was discovered when they were doing renovations, and the entrance room above the stairs has historic pictures of what the castle looked and what the Viking fortification probably looked like.

Dublin Castle Medieval Undercroft history

Quite honestly — my first impression was the smell. Not quite sulphur, not quite mold. But quite powerful.

Dublin Castle Medieval Undercroft descent (1)

And as we descended the steps and I found myself looking into the middle of one of the medieval towers, with the rock wall that formed the Vikings’ defense, I was a little disappointed. Even more so when discovering it had been turned into a wishing well by tourists.

Dublin Castle Medieval Undercroft Viking Fortifications

Ah well, I’d probably built it up too much in my mind. It was still a cool tour — we got to see the ancient passageway through the castle wall where supplies could be brought up from the river.

Dublin Castle Medieval Undercroft River Entrance

We even got to see part of the ancient river, which was contributing to the smell.

Dublin Castle Medieval Undercroft River

All in all though, definitely worth the time and the €4.50. On the way back I popped into the State Chapel and admired the stained glass and amazing arches.

Dublin Castle State Chapel

Then, with about 30 minutes to kill (how did I get so far ahead of schedule!?) I decided to grab a pot of tea and warm up in Gift Shop Cafe overlooking the garden.

Dublin Castle Gift Shop Tea Room

It also had free wi-fi so it was a great chance to send pictures of my day back to friends and family.


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