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The 800-year-old heart of Ireland

For more than eight centuries, Dublin Castle has been the historic heart of the Irish capital. Today the castle serves as venue for important state events, such as the inauguration of the various presidents of Ireland. In the past, the building has served a variety of functions, including as a jail, a treasury and a law court. For 7 centuries the castle was also the seat of English rule.

There are various tours that visitors to the castle can choose from. Specialised tours focus on specific topics such as the modern or traditional art collections. One of the tours concentrates entirely on the Irish crown jewels, which were stolen from here in 1907 and have never been found. The 44,000 square metre complex is located in a historically strategic location on the south side of the River Liffey.

An architectural mishmash

Irish history is reflected in the castle’s mixture of architectural styles. Since its foundation in 1204, the castle has undergone several thorough restorations, and each time a different generation left its own mark on the complex. In 1922 the castle was handed over to the Irish Free State. Today the complex encompasses government buildings, the State Apartments (the most important ceremonial halls in Ireland), museums, gardens, cafés and an international conference centre. Visitors may tour most of the castle grounds and museums on their own. The only exception are the State Apartments: these are only accessible on a special tour and accompanied by a tour guide.

“An investigative report by Scotland Yard disappeared just as mysteriously as the Crown jewels”

The scandal of the Crown jewels

In 1907 the Irish Crown jewels were stolen from the castle. The circumstances were very suspicious: no door or lock was forced so it had to be an inside job, yet the culprit has never been found and an investigative report by the Scotland Yard vanished just as mysteriously as the jewels. Over the course of time many theories have emerged; most point to some sort of booze and sex scandal that has been covered up. The jewels have never been recovered.