Blackrock Castle:  Pirates?  No Problem For This 16th Century Irish Fortress...

Blackrock Castle and its observatory are found right in the very south of Ireland, overlooking the waters of Lough Mahon. The castle is part of County Cork in Munster Province.

To get to the castle from the Dublin Airport, expect a drive of around three hours. The journey winds along major roads like the N4, the M7 and the M8 before leading you onto Castle Road heading for Blackrock.    

Things to Know About Blackrock Castle

Here are some fun facts about this amazing Irish landmark.  Hopefully they will entice you to pay a visit in person!

But if that is not possible, you can always use them to impress your friends with your knowledge of one of the most-visited attractions in Ireland.

  • Just outside the Irish city of Cork is Blackrock Castle, an enormous fortress built in the 16th century in order to protect the city from invaders and pirates along the River Lee.
  • The castle is five stories high, making it easier to spot invaders from afar, which also helps give the castle its dramatic look.

  • Today, this castle in County Cork is home to an observatory, where you can spot stars in the night sky from an undeniably unique destination.
  • In the 16th century, the residents of Cork asked Queen Elizabeth I to protect them from pirates. As a result, Blackrock Castle was constructed. 
  • As early as 1608, the castle was owned directly by the City of Cork. While such a practice is common now, almost all castles at that time were owned by royals or wealthy families.
  • For over two centuries, the Castle was used primarily for celebrations. All kinds of banquets and major weddings were held at the castle, making it a big part of life for the residents of Cork.
  • After one particularly enthusiastic celebration in 1827, the castle caught on fire and was largely destroyed. The rebuilding process was very quick and added three more floors to the castle, as well as additional outbuildings.
  • Eventually, the castle was sold to a private entity. It was used in the 20th century as a restaurant, as private homes, as offices and even as the headquarters for a local rowing club. 
  • By 2007, Blackrock Castle once again became a structure open to the public. It was reopened after extensive restoration as Cosmos at the Castle.
  • Today, the castle is a center for scientific outreach and study. There is an emphasis on astronomy, and several astronomers work and study full time at the castle.
  • One of the top exhibits on the property is Journeys of Exploration. It's a fantastic look at 16th century life in Cork, and it explores the significance of the castle  throughout history.
  • Visitors are welcome to check out many of the telescopes located at the castle. There are daily schedules for viewing the daytime moon, something that both kids and adults will enjoy.
  • If you're pecking during your visit, check out the Castle Cafe. It's a full restaurant with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that allow for a magnificent view while you dine.

You can find more information at the official website here.

Want More Irish Castles?

It is probably obvious - at Irish Expressions, we love Irish castles!  The Emerald Isle is dotted with hundreds of these incredible structures.  

Sharing pictures and stories about them gives us a deeper sense of connection with Ireland, wherever in the world we happen to be!

We have captured the most amazing pictures and descriptions of Irish castles in an e-book we call "An Illustrated Guide to Irish Castles and Abbeys."

This fun, free guide is available to you to download.  Scroll to the bottom of this page and enter your email to get instant access!

That Was Fun!  Where Can I See More?

Great question! As you can see, exploring the castles of Ireland offers many opportunities for enjoying an Irish experience and expressing your personal Irish side!

For more information of this kind, you might pay a visit to our section on Ireland Sightseeing here!