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

Culture Night

22nd September 6pm – 8.30pm
Admission FREE

Take this rare opportunity to visit the castle after hours. Take a guided tour or self-guide through this fascinating building. Discover original features dating back to the 16th century, view fine 18th century interiors and learn about the people who once resided here.

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.

Open House – Ireland’s Largest Architecture Festival

Saturday 14th October and Sunday 15th October 10.30am – 5.00pm
Admission FREE

Free admission all day. Take a guided tour or self-guide through the castle and find out more about the fascinating architecture of this building.


30th September 7pm

Join us for this very special concert of traditional music with Laoise Kelly (Harp) and Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn (Uilleann Pipes). Admission is free. Booking essential as seating is limited. Call 01 493 9462 to make a booking.

To Hell in a Handbag

Thursday 12th October 6.30pm and 8.30pm

A very special production which cleverly intertwines with Oscar Wilde’s great play, The Importance of Being Earnest. Miss Prism gives her side of the story about the unfortunate incident all those years ago in Victoria Station when she placed a baby in a handbag and left it there.
Written and performed by Helen Norton and Jonathan White. Tickets €10/€8. For further information and to book tickets:, visit the Red Line Book Festival website.


Friday 13th October 7.30pm – 8.30pm

A dramatic presentation of work by Celia de Fréine, Martina Devlin and Catherine Dunne on the theme of women whom history has forgotten. Featuring actresses Nicola Abernethy, Orna McDonald and Lisa-Ann McLaughlin. Tickets €10/€8. For further information and to book tickets:

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!