Shankill Castle, one of the Irish house castles, is a unique family home often described as a living museum. Shankill Castle was first built as a Butler tower-house near the ruins of a pre-reformation church. In 1708 it was rebuilt and set in a formal landscape, vista to the front and canal to the rear, by Peter Aylward. In the 19th century, it was enlarged and castellated, serpentine bays added to the canal and an unusual polyhedral sundial given pride of place on a sunken lawn. The stable yard and castellated entrance to the demesne are attributed to Daniel Robertson. Nowadays visitors can take a guided tour of the castle and a walk around the gardens. Visit in Spring for snowdrops, daffodils and tulips, Summer for the meadows, art exhibitions and sunshine walks, Autumn for the ScareFest, ghost tours and wand and quill making, Winter for drawing classes and winter workshops.
Shankill Castle is home and studio to artist Elizabeth Cope where they host a retreat for artists and creative professionals.
FACILITIES: Garden walks, castle tours, parking and refreshments on request.
HOW TO FIND US: In the village of Paulstown on the Carlow-Kilkenny border. From Carlow town head 20km south towards Waterford/Kilkenny, taking exit 7 off the M9 motorway.
GPS: 52.686529, -6.7.021772
OPENING TIMES: Every weekend from Easter Sunday to September. Check website for booking details of annual events programme. Group booking available at other times of the year.
ADMISSION: €10 house and gardens, €5 gardens only. Concessions apply.