Travel Tuesday: Malahide Castle, Ireland
One of the highlights of our trip to Dublin, Ireland, in 2008, was our day trip to Malahide Castle. It's just 9 miles from Dublin, and it's really easy to get there. You can travel by car, taxi, or train; we chose the train because it was the cheapest option. It takes 30 minutes by train, and the Malahide Rail Station is just a short walk away from the castle grounds.
Owned by the Talbot family, Malahide Castle and Gardens is one of the oldest castles in Ireland. Parts of it date back to the 12th century! This was the second castle the kids had ever been to; their first was Longleat Castle, but that was 2 years before, so even The Pea didn't remember it, much less the boys.
They thought the entrance was cool, but they did get bored during the castle tour. The castle has been refurbished since our last visit, and there is now an interactive exhibit that might possibly interest kids more, but when we visited, the tour was just a guided walk through of the drawing rooms, hallway, and dining room -- interesting for the grownups, not so much for the kids. We tried to keep them entertained by playing I Spy, and having them find animals in the paintings and carvings.
They did get to see some real live animals in the courtyard; a peacock and his mate kept our kids fascinated as they wandered around.
They were definitely more interested in playing around the castle grounds and trying to run along the edge of the (dried up) moat! It's easy to see why Ireland is called The Emerald Isle; the lawns and fields were all a beautiful emerald green.
There's also a small playground in the park beside the castle, with some really cool structures we don't often see in the US, like the huge basket swing in the photo below. It was a good trip for the whole family: the grownups got their dose of art and culture, the kids got to see a real live castle, they also got to run and play, everyone got some fresh air, and we were back in Dublin well in time for dinner. If you're visiting Dublin, making some time for Malahide Castle -- even just half a day -- is well worth it!