Built by the Talbot family in 1185, this castle now belongs to the Irish State but has kept its beautiful wood-carved interiors and is said to be the most haunted castle in Ireland.
This castle belonged to the Talbot family for almost 791 continual years, from its creation in 1185 to 1976. There was only a small gap in ownership when Cromwell gave it to a friend of his in the 17th century. The land was given to Richard Talbot by Henry II, and the original building was made of wood before being quickly changed to stone. Its towers, added in 1765, have crenellations and give the castle a fairytale air. You’ll have to take a guided tour to visit the castle, starting in the 16th-century Oak Room which has six Biblical scenes carved into the walls, copied from Raphael’s Vatican frescoes, and Egyptian motifs on the fireplace. Upstairs, the bedrooms have been redecorated in their original style, and the drawing room walls are painted in an inventive orange terracotta colour that became known as Malahide Orange. The Great Hall, built in 1475, has portraits lent from the National Gallery and there’s a painting of the Battle of the Boyne (1690), in which 14 members of the Talbot family died.
When the 7th Baron Talbot died in 1973, he passed the estate to his sister, Rose, who then sold the castle to the Irish State. It’s rumoured to be the most haunted castle in Ireland, and if you’re brave enough, you might enjoy the special ghost tours at Hallowe’en. For something a bit tamer, try the Fairy Trail: a 1.8 kilometre trail with sculptures, fairy houses, and questions for kids around the castle grounds. Malahide has 260 acres of parkland with a Cedar of Lebanon and Chinese Ginkgo trees. Its walled gardens are one of the only four botanical gardens in Ireland, including a Rose Garden, grass parterre and Victorian Conservatory. You’ll also find Ireland’s only butterfly house here, with 20 species of butterfly from all around the world, and the Casino Model Railway Museum in one of the Talbot’s old hunting lodges.