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

Cosy Christmas Evening

Thursday 14th December 7.30pm

Get into the festive spirit and join us for an evening of Christmas readings and songs with actor Val O’Donnell and singer Barry Gleeson. Admission is free. Booking advisable. 01 493 9462 Email:

Go Christmas Crackers at the Crafty Castle!

Sunday 17th December from 12 noon to 4pm

Drop-in Christmas Craft activities for children from 12pm – 4pm. Encore School of Performing Arts will be popping in to sing Christmas songs too, so don your Santa Hat, put some tinsel in your hair and make your way here! And there’s a cosy reading corner if you’d like some quiet time! Admission FREE all day! Children must be accompanied by an adult.

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.

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.

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!