To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, my adventures took me over 3,000 miles away to the green rolling hills of Ireland. There were so many amazing things to see while I was there, but my favorite thing to see were the castles that were hundreds of years old.

A castle is a type of house that was usually home to royal families. The earliest castles were known as motte and bailey. They were built into a hilltop and topped with a wooden tower. The more recognizable castles you see today were built later out of stone and mortar which made them much stronger and many still stand today.

Here are my 5 favorite castles I visited in Ireland – read slowly some of these names are a bit tricky!

1) Bunratty Castle in Clare, Ireland

The Bunratty Castle is one of the most well-known castles in Ireland. It was built in the 1400s, that’s over 600 years old! People still visit this castle where medieval banquets are held almost every day.

2) The Rock of Cashel in Tipperary, Ireland

Most of the buildings in this castle date all the way back to the 12th and 13th centuries. Legend has it that Aenghus the King of Munster was converted to Christianity here by St. Patrick in the 5th century. People visit The Rock of Cashel for its medieval architecture.

3) Dunluce Castle in Antrim, Northern Ireland

Dunluce Castle was first built in the early 1500s and now sits abandoned (although I have a few distant cousins who still like to visit the empty halls). It sits on the top of a cliff surrounded by steep drop-offs on every side.

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4) Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland

Blarney Castle is a great place for mice like me, it’s surrounded by a large garden and sits next to the River Martin. It dates back to the early 1200s and is known best for its main attraction – the Blarney Stone. Many say that anyone who kisses the stone will get the gift of gab and flattery.

5) Ashford Castle in Mayo, Ireland

Unlike the other castles on this list, you can stay the night at the Ashford Castle. It was converted into a luxury hotel and has over 80 guest rooms. It has even been featured in movies and television.

I hope you had fun learning about the different castles in Ireland, I know I did.

If you weren’t sure about some of the words we used today, look below for Martin’s Word Guide to help explain what they mean.

Martin’s Word Guide

Motte and Bailey – A motte-and-bailey castle is a fortification with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised area of ground called a motte, accompanied by an enclosed courtyard, or bailey, surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade.

Stone and Mortar – Mortar is a workable paste which dries to bind building blocks such as stones, bricks, and concrete masonry units, to fill and seal the irregular gaps between them, and sometimes to add decorative colors or patterns to masonry walls

Medieval Banquets – These large formal meals or feasts were held for special occasions like weddings or for the coronation of kings or installation of bishops.

Architecture- The science and art of designing buildings is known as architecture. People who practice architecture are called architects. Architects express an artistic vision through the size, shape, color, materials, and style of a building’s elements.

Gift of Gab- This expression means someone has the ability talk someone else into doing what they want