Listowel Castle

Opening Times

The castle welcomes visitors from 10:00 to 18:00 daily, with the last entry at 17:15. You can visit the castle every day between late May and late September. Prior arrangements can open the castle for tour groups during the off-season. Contact listowelcastle@opw.ie 

Structure of Listowel Castle

Listowel Castle, situated in County Kerry, is a well-known example of Anglo-Norman architecture from the 15th century. Constructed by the Fitzmaurice family (Knights of Kerry), the castle overlooks the River Feale from an elevated position, near a strategic ford.

Entrance to Listowel Castle
Listowel Castle

The current castle, believed to have been built in the 15th century, features two large square towers of 4 storeys each, nearly reaching its original height of 15 metres.

The towers are joined by a wall of the same height and connected by an arch on the north-eastern side.

While only two of the original four square towers and part of the northeast wall remain today, Listowel Castle underwent restoration works in 2005 by the Office of Public Works.

The restoration included cleaning the stonework, repairing the distressed upper section, and providing an external staircase for public access to the upper levels. The site has been designated as a national monument.

History

The Fitzmaurice family constructed the castle overlooking the River Feale on a high point. The earlier castle was built in the 13th century but the current castle likely dates back to the 15th century.

During the First Desmond Rebellion, it served as a key stronghold against Queen Elizabeth I and was the final Geraldine fortress to fall. After a 28-day siege, Sir Charles Wilmot seized the castle on 5 November 1600, leading to the execution of its garrison shortly after.

Subsequently, the castle passed from the Fitzmaurice to the Hare family, who held the title of Earl of Listowel.

Facilities & Restriction

  • Steep winding staircases restrict wheelchair accessibility.
  • Visitors can access the upper castle floors only through guided tours.
  • Prior arrangements can open the castle for tour groups during the off-season.
  • A maximum of 12 visitors is allowed at once; larger groups may need to split into smaller ones.
  • Entrance to the castle is free.
  • You can visit the castle every day between late May and late September.
  • The castle welcomes visitors from 10:00 to 18:00 daily, with the last entry at 17:15.
  • Parking for cars and coaches is available near the castle. (Go to the right of the castle)
  • Situated in Listowel town centre, the castle is easily accessible.
  • Near the castle lies Seanchaí – the Kerry Literary and Cultural Centre – offering a captivating exploration of the castle and regional history.

How do you get there?

Car

To reach Listowel Castle from Tralee by car, you can use the N69 road that links the two towns, covering a distance of approximately 18 km. By following this route, you will arrive directly at Listowel town centre where the castle is situated.

If your journey begins in Ballybunion and you are driving to Listowel, you can opt for the R551 road that connects these locations, spanning roughly 15 km in distance.

When entering the Eircode V31 RD93 into Google Maps, it will accurately guide you to the castle.

Bus

To get to Listowel Castle from Tralee, you can take Bus Éireann Route 272, which runs from Tralee to Listowel daily. The bus departs from Tralee Bus Station and stops at various locations before arriving at Listowel, including Abbeydorney, Lixnaw, and finally Listowel (The Square).

If you are traveling from Ballybunion to Listowel, you can also take Bus Éireann Route 272, which connects Ballybunion to Listowel. Once you arrive in Listowel, you can visit Listowel Castle, which is within the town center and easily accessible from the bus stop.

Check out my web pages on the Ring of Kerry Drive, The Skellig Ring and Slea Head Drive.