King John’s Castle Carlingford

  • Carlingford

King John’s Castle, also known as Carlingford Castle, is an enclosure castle and National Monument located in Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland.

Carlingford Castle: A Medieval Castle In Ireland

Carlingford Castle, also known as King John’s Castle, is a well-preserved 12th-century fortress located in the village of Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland. It stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking Carlingford Lough, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

A visit to Carlingford Castle provides a glimpse into Ireland’s mediaeval past, offering a unique opportunity to wander through the remains of a once-mighty fortress and imagine the lives of those who lived within its walls. 

The castle’s picturesque setting and historical allure make it a captivating destination for history enthusiasts, architecture lovers, and anyone interested in immersing themselves in Ireland’s rich heritage of ancient castle ruins.

How to get to Carlingford Castle? 

Getting to Carlingford Castle is relatively easy and accessible. It is located right beside Carlingford Harbour and is a well-known site within the area. Check out the different ways to get to Carlingford Castle below: 

Car: Simply follow the R173 until you reach the castle, using a GPS or Google Maps on your mobile will help you find directions. 

Public Transport: If you’re using public transport, you won’t be able to get a bus or train that brings you directly to Carlingford. You can, however, get off at nearby towns and make your way in from there. 

  • If travelling from the south, you can get a bus from Dublin to Dundalk. 
  • If travelling from the North, you can get a bus from Belfast to Newry. 

Once in these nearby towns, you can take a local bus, private operators bus, or taxi into Carlingford. 

Carlingford Castle Admission Price 2023

Today, Carlingford Castle is a popular tourist attraction that allows visitors to explore its historic ruins and soak in the rich heritage of the area. Check out the admission prices to the castle below.

Adult: €8.00
Child: €4.00
Family (4): €20

Carlingford Lough Heritage Trust also provides excellent guided tours of this historic Castle from March to October. You can contact them via email in order to schedule a tour: 

Carlingford Castle Tour & Taste Of The Region With Ghan House Price 2023

Ghan House also provides a Carlingford Castle tour experience that ends with a delightful platter of locally sourced foods. The guided tour tells the rich historical past of the 12th-century castle before giving attendees a taste of the region. 

Cost: €20.00 per person 

Tour begins: 12 pm 

Find out more via the link, or contact Ghan House for bookings. It is advisable to book early for this castle tour as places are usually limited. 

Why is Carlingford Castle Called King John’s Castle? 

John reputedly stayed in the castle for a short period when he visited Carlingford in 1210. and so, it became known as King John’s Castle. This name also pays reference to the mediaeval significance and the association of castles with that era.

Castle Architecture 

Carlingford Castle consists of a rectangular keep with thick stone walls and small fortified towers. Its architectural design reflects the military architecture of the time, emphasising defence and security. Although the castle has undergone various changes and renovations over the centuries, it still retains much of its mediaeval charm and character.

Carlingford Castle History

Carlingford Castle has a rich and fascinating history dating back to the mediaeval period. While some aspects of its history are uncertain, the castle still played a significant role in the region during its time.


The castle was constructed during the Anglo-Norman period in the 12th century. It was strategically built on a rocky outcrop overlooking Carlingford Lough, providing a vantage point for controlling trade routes and protecting the area. 

The castle was likely founded by Hugh de Lacy, an Anglo-Norman nobleman who was granted lands in Ireland by King Henry II. De Lacy was instrumental in establishing Norman control over the region, and Carlingford Castle served as a key stronghold in his efforts.

King John’s Castle

In the early 13th century, Carlingford Castle came under the ownership of King John of England, who was also the Lord of Ireland at the time. The castle was further developed and fortified during his reign, which led to it sometimes being referred to as King John’s Castle.

Carlingford Castle’s strategic location made it a target during conflicts and power struggles. It changed hands multiple times over the centuries, with various families and factions gaining control.

16th and 17th Century 

During the 16th and 17th centuries, Carlingford Castle fell into decline and was eventually abandoned. It suffered damage during the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and subsequent conflicts. The castle was left in ruins, gradually succumbing to the passage of time and neglect.

Visit Carlingford Castle

While the castle’s exact history is not fully documented, its significance as a defensive fortress and a symbol of power during the mediaeval period is evident. Carlingford Castle stands as a reminder of the region’s rich heritage and offers visitors a chance to delve into the history and legends associated with this captivating site.


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