The Office of Public Works

Rathfarnham Castle

The original castle at Rathfarnham dates back to the Elizabethan period and was built for Archbishop Adam Loftus, an ambitious Yorkshire clergyman.

Loftus came to Ireland as chaplain to the Lord Deputy, and quickly rose to become Archbishop of Dublin, Lord Chancellor of Ireland. He was also closely involved in the establishment of Trinity College. The castle, with its four flanker towers, is an excellent example of the fortified house in Ireland. In the late eighteenth century, the house was remodelled on a splendid scale employing some of the finest architects of the day including Sir William Chambers and James ‘Athenian’ Stuart. The collection includes family portraits by Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807), Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680), and Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1740-1808). Rathfarnham Castle is managed and operated by the Office of Public Works.

During the works taking place, many exciting archaeological artefacts have been discovered! Read the full government press release here, and watch the video here. Rathfarnham Castle reopened to the public on the 16th of October 2015, and you can see photographs from the launch here.

Plan a Visit

Opening hours, location, transport and more.


Information for teachers and students.

Online Tour

Take the tour from the comfort of your armchair!

Learn More

Read about the history of the castle.

What’s On


[ai1ec view=”posterboard”]
Full captions and copyright information for all images can be found in the Galleries. If you would like to use any of the images you see on this website, please contact us.
Any links to external content on this website are there for reference purposes, and do not imply endorsement.

Did you know...

Look for the star symbol throughout the website to check out some interesting facts about the history of Rathfarnham Castle!