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.

What’s On

Ceramics Ireland Annual Selected Members Exhibition

8th – 29th October
Admission FREE

The exhibition will feature the work of over 30 members. A diverse range of ceramic work will be on show including functional, decorative, wall panels and sculptural forms.

Jesuit Chaplains and Rathfarnham Castle during the First World War: Exhibition

3rd November – 10th December
Admission FREE

Wednesday to Sunday 10.30am – 5.00pm; last admissions 4.15pm.
An exhibition on Jesuit Chaplains, residents of Rathfarnham Castle, who served during the First World War. This fascinating exhibition organised by the Jesuit Archives will also feature the awared-winning graphic short story ‘A Perfect Trust’ by Alan Dunne.

“Like a Paradise to come back to…”: Illustrated Talk

Thursday 9th November 7.30pm

‘Like a Paradise to come back to’: an illustrated talk by Damien Burke, Irish Jesuit Archives, on the Jesuits and Rathfarnham Castle during the First World War. This event is free. Booking advisable at and 01 493 9462.

Creepy Crafts

Saturday October 28th: 12 noon – 4pm

Join us for some very, very creepy crafts for young witches, wizards, ghosts, ghouls and other scary creatures! Use your special Halloween magic to make your way here and dare to dabble in our drop-in art and craft activities for children. Admission for young witches, wizards, ghosts, ghouls and other scary creatures and their grown-ups will be free!

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Sunday 5th November 12 noon – 4pm

Make your own bird-feeders from recycled material (it’s very ‘cheep-cheep’!). Hang them in your garden and let nature work its magic! Suitable for children aged 5 – 11. Children must be accompanied by an adult and be prepared for sticky fingers! Materials supplied. This event is free.

An Evening of Readings and Songs

Thursday 23rd November 7.30pm

To complement our exhibition on Jesuit Chaplains and Rathfarnham Castle in the First World War, join us for an evening of readings and songs associated with the First World War performed by actor Val O’Donnell and singer Barry Gleeson. Admission free. Booking essential at and 01 493 9462.

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.

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.

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Did you know...

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