Dublin Castle bears little resemblance to a Castle from the outside. In Dublin's glory years most of the City was rebuilt to Georgian standards, including the Castle and only a few parts of the original are visible from outside.
However, it has a very long history dating back to around 1205 when the Normans first consolidated their hold on Ireland. The Castle was positioned near earlier Viking fortifications and recent excavations (see above picture) have exposed some of the Viking work amongst the later Norman foundations (this was very much the highlight of the guided tour).
The Castle was of the enclosure variety with several round corner towers (and probably a Gatehouse much where the modern entrance is today). Only one of the towers, the "Record" Tower survives in an obviously defensive fashion. Much of the rebuilding was undertaken after a fire in 1684 under the aegis of Sir William Robinson, the Surveyor-General.
The Castle came to symbolise the English domination of Ireland (the English only moved out in 1922), and because of this it was attacked many times by the Irish and what survives today is an interesting but not very Castle-like building which the Irish still find slightly disturbing because of its colonial connections.
The Castle is open during the summer months but only for guided tours.
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