Dunamase Castle:  A Truly Ancient Reminder   of the Story of Ireland

Look to Central Ireland for the ruins of Dunamase Castle, a popular stop in County Laois in the Province of Leinster. The Rock of Dunamase is a fantastic day trip from Dublin, since it takes less than an hour's journey from the city.

Entry arch to Dunamase Castle.  Photocredit:  Shutterstock.

If you're driving from Dublin Airport, you'll simply need to head south along the M7 until you take Exit 16 and follow signs directing you straight to Dunamase Castle.     

Things to Know About Dunamase 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.

  • One of the most popular attractions in Ireland's County Laois is Dunamase Castle, a fortress that has been known for centuries simply as Hum.
  • Early history reveals that in the 9th century, the site had been settled, although it wasn't until the 12th century that the castle itself was erected.
  • Local lore says that the castle was besieged by Cromwell's forces in the 17th century, and ever since it has been abandoned and vulnerable to the elements.
  • Archeological excavations take place around the ruins, and the castle is available for guided tours.
  • The Castle may be best known not for its architectural structure, but its foundation. The castle rests on the iconic Dunamase Rock.
  • Dunamase Rock dates back to the ninth century, when the settlement was known as Dun Masc. This early Christmas settlement was ransacked by Vikings in 824. 
  • At the beginning of the 12th century, a castle was constructed on Dunamase Rock. Many battles and marriages resulted in the castle passing between several families over decades. By 1350, however, it had already fallen into ruin. Brief revivals rarely lasted long.
  • The castle was largely ignored during the Cromwellian Wars. In the 18th century, however, Sir John Parnell decided to build a banqueting hall right in the middle of the castle's ruins. However, his attempts to revitalize the castle were largely unsuccessful 
  • Today, there is free admission to the Castle. Many visitors come for the architectural, historical or archeological history.
  • If you visit, consider coming in the late afternoon or early evening. You can explore the area on foot during the daylight and then admire the castle at sunset, which is arguably the best time of day to take photos of the ruins.

You can find much more information about this interesting Irish landmark 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!