We drive through Enniscorthy a lot on the way to Granny’s but we never stop, so the kids think that all that’s there is the two bridges and the shops in between them.
I’m determined to see more local attractions this summer so we decided to visit Enniscorthy Castle today. Having driven back from Cork yesterday the short drive was very appealing, and the weather forecast promised showers, which it delivered as soon as we’d parked the car. (We parked in Dunnes, any town centre parking serves there’s no designated parking since the castle is right in the town).
On arrival we were greeted by the very friendly castle staff and given a laminated information sheet to guide us around the castle, and told to let them know if we wanted to go on the roof. I always prefer being able to go at our own pace around attractions with the kids as they can get very bored during guided tours, so this suited us perfectly.
Entry is €10 for a family, but due to construction work going on on the Second Floor until May 10th we were given a reduced rate €5, bargain! There are also combi-tickets that give entry to Enniscorthy Castle and the National 1798 Centre nearby
The ground floor of the castle contains a timeline of the castle’s history, it dates from 1160 and was lived in until 1951, a fact that really surprised me. There’s also a busy corner for kids, for when the adults are reading the information, great planning!
The second room downstairs contains Knights’ costumes and weaponry for you to have a go, and some maps showing the development of the castle in the 13th century.
Then, it’s up the spiral staircase to the first floor which depicts how the Roche family lived in the castle until the 1950’s. There’s a nursery with more toys and old-fashioned school desks, a bedroom and living area which has more costumes that visitors are invited to try on. There are lovely little details, like the washstand and the old telephone in an alcove.
The second floor has a room dedicated to “Brooklyn” the novel by local author Colm Toibín which was recently made into a hit film starring Saoirse Ronan.
The room under construction looks fabulous- it’s a reconstruction of a grocer’s from the 1950’s, complete with glass cabinets, old packaging and shiny manual till.
The final exhibition room is dedicated to the work of locally born designer Eileen Grey who designed iconic furniture like the Bibbendum chair.
Our favourite part of our visit was the roof, where we were brought out to by Rte staff member on duty. She pointed out bullet holes both inside and outside the castle from the Civil War which really grabbed the boys’ attention. The view from the roof across the town, up the river and over to Vinegar Hill are fabulous, and we were surprised to hear that the children of the house used to play on the roof.
Our final port of call on our visit was the small dungeon in the reception area, the idea of going down below ground level had the kids very excited.
Did the kids really enjoy it though?
My almost three year old girl (only a month to go!) was on the lookout for princesses and decided that the princess of the castle owned the dressing table so that pleased her.
My five-year-old asked about two hundred questions and really enjoyed dressing up in the knight’s costume for the battle against his dad and sister. He also was intrigued by the old toys and old telephone etc on the second floor.
My seven-year-old is the hardest to impress and was a reluctant visitor, but on completing the visitor book he gave it 9.9 out of 10! He loved going out on the roof and thought that the bullet holes were really cool.
We went slowly through the castle and spent a little over an hour there. Staff in the castle were incredibly friendly and great at involving the kids and answering their questions.
Disclosure: The above review is my honest opinion, and that of my family. We weren’t asked to review and paid for our own tickets.
You can check out more on Knights and Rebels website.