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Cork, Ireland’s, Blackrock Castle is More than Just a Castle

by Aoife O'Riordan

Jan 6, 2023

© Patryk Kosmider | Dreamstime.com

Europe

From the outside, Blackrock Castle in Cork City, Ireland, appears like any other 16th-century castle in Ireland. Towers and turrets and dark stone, all of the elements expected of a castle, adorn Blackrock, but a visit within promises to surprise all family travelers.

 

Hidden within the castle is an award-winning science center and observatory. Here, visitors of all ages can explore a wide variety of topics relating to our world and the greater universe. One of the castle’s permanent exhibitions, Ireland in Space, delves into the history of Ireland from the Stone Age onward. This exhibition also explores how Irish scientists contribute to the world of astronomy and space exploration.

 

One of the coolest aspects of Blackrock Castle is its interactive guided tour through the cosmos. Resident astronomers lead visitors into a tented planetarium dome to reveal positions of stars and planets. Shows last 20 minutes and fully immerse guests into space with specialized software.

 

The castle’s newest exhibition, Alien Worlds, runs through April 2023. Visiting this exhibition entails learning about how scientists discover different planets and celestial bodies, what they have learned about them, and how scientists continue to search for other forms of life in the universe.

 

Guests also interested in the history of Blackrock Castle can embark on a guided castle tour, taking visitors through 400 years of history. The tour covers the castle’s beginnings as a fort to defend Cork harbor against pirates, as well as the castle’s function today as a science center with a modern telescope dome. The tour also brings visitors to the top of the tower for beautiful views of the river Lee and Blackrock area.

 

Blackrock Castle is open Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tickets can be booked online.

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