Take a journey through the Irish countryside and you'll be sure to come across a castle. Ireland is littered with castles, although many of them are now in ruins. The castles of Ireland are often smaller and less ostentatious than those of our British neighbors.
One reason for this may be that unlike England or Scotland, ancient Ireland never had a royal family; rather, warring chieftains ruled various segments of the island. These chieftains used their castles for intimidation, defense, and as sites for conducting business. Most of Ireland’s castles are medieval and date from the 11th–15th centuries, and if you travel to Ireland it is a treat to stay in a castle from this time period. If your budget doesn't stretch that far, try visiting one and being a chieftain for a day.