Dublin Castle, Dublin City
Since its foundation in 1204 Dublin Castle has been at the heart of the history and evolution of the city. Today, spanning an area of over 44,000 square meters (11 acres), the site contains 2 museums, 2 cafés, an international conference centre, 2 gardens, Government Buildings and the State Apartments which are the most important state rooms in the country.
The grounds of the site are free to explore, as is the Chapel Royal, the Chester Beatty Library, the Garda Museum and the Revenue Museum. Access to the State Apartments is by guided tour only and tickets may be purchased from the Apartments in the Upper Castle Yard.
The Chapel Royal is a gothic revival building designed by Francis Johnston. It is famous for its vaulting, its particularly fine plaster decoration and carved oaks and galleries. Of particular interest are the coats of arms of the Justiciars, Lord Deputies and Lord Lieutenants from the first, Hugh de Lacy (1172), which was two years after the Norman invasion, to the last, FitzAlan (1922), which, remarkably, occupies the last available space.
The Garda (Police) Museum is situated in the 13th century Norman 'Record Tower'. This is the last intact tower not only of the Castle but also of medieval Dublin itself and was once a top security jail for state prisoners.
The Chester Beatty Library exhibits open a window on the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world. Their rich collection includes manuscripts, prints, icons, miniature paintings, early printed books and objects d'art from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.
The Revenue Museum, which is situated in the Crypt of the Chapel Royal, offers interesting and often amusing insights into the long history of the collection of taxes and duties in Ireland. Exhibits include inter-active smuggling games, video footage of alcohol duty assessment, and counterfeit goods and stamping equipment.
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