When Did Castles Lose Their Importance

When you mention the phrase “middle ages,” most people would think about castles. After all, most people have dreamt of living in castles and being kings and queens. In fact, even to this day, the still-standing castles are very popular tourist attractions. In this article, we are going to explore when did castles lost their importance and the contributing factors that eventually lead to its decline.

What Made Castles Important?
Before we cover when and why castles lost their importance, it’s best that you have an idea why they were popular in the first place.┬áThe primary reason why a castle is built is because it provided a place to store supply and provided an easily defendable position. During the times in which castles were accessible, raids from neighboring countries or tribes were common.

With castles, it allowed the defenders to have a massive advantage. For one, invading army will need to outnumber the defending troops by a wide margin (given that the invaders had no artillery as a means of destroying the walls). Another reason why castles became popular is it symbolizes status for the kings and queens. Also, castles were also meant to dominate to landscape and intimidate would-be invaders.

For a couple of centuries, castles proved to be very good at achieving their purpose, which is why its popularity grew during the middle ages. However, a certain invention came to existence which made the idea of castles unappealing.

When Did Castles Lose Their Importance?
So what is this invention? It was gunpowder! Gunpowder was invented in China. By the 14th century, it was introduced to Europe. At the time, the application of gunpowder did not yet have a significant impact on castles.

It was only during the 15th century in which gunpowder use evolved to a point in which it became easy for cannons to destroy stone walls.┬áHence, it’s safe to say that the importance of castle started to decline by the end of the 15th century.
Keep in mind that the there were still castles being built up to the 16th century. The newer castles incorporated new designs to minimize the damaging impact of cannons.

However, when you start factoring in the cost of building and maintaining a castle versus how easy it is to produce gunpowder and a cannon, then it’s easy to realize that building a castle is not a very cost-effective way of defending a small territory.

Castles are the hallmarks of the middle ages. It inspired stories about kings, queens, princes, and princesses for the later generations. While it is true that castles were primarily built for non-romanticized reasons, it served a useful purpose until the time in which gunpowder and cannons were introduced, which made castles an inefficient solution to the problem they once solved.

Top 10 Reasons To Visit Castles In Ireland

1. Learn A Fascinating History – Many of the Ireland castles that still stand today, wholly or at least in part, have a fascinating history and story behind them. This history may concern the castle or the family that lived in it, and the country has many historic castles that have thrilling stories involved.

2. Stay in A Real Irish Castle – One of the top reasons to visit the castles in Ireland is that many of them have been turned into resorts or inns, and you can actually get a room or suite. You could spend the night in an honest castle, which is not something everyone can brag about. One of these choices is Kinnity Castle, located in County Offaly.

3. Discover Life in The Past – A common reason why a visit to Ireland castles is planned is to discover what life was like in the past. Exploring the halls and rooms of these castles can allow you a look into the past, and help you imagine just how the people lived in the past.

4. Significant Preservation Efforts and Renovations – Many of the castles in Ireland have had significant preservation and restoration work is done on them, so they are extremely safe and structurally sound. Some castles may have been preserved in the original style and fashion, while others have been remodeled and upgraded to function as five-star resorts or inns.

5. Exquisite Gardens and Landscaping – A number of Ireland castles are very popular to visit because of the fabulous landscaping efforts and the lush gardens. Nestled next to the older buildings, the contrast is original and really stands out. Some of these gardens are quite large and cover a substantial portion of the castle grounds.

6. Self-Guided Tours Allow You to Explore – In Ireland, it is possible to take a self-guided tour of many of the castles. These tours do not include a time limit, and you can explore every area open to visitors at your own pace.

7. Incredible Structures and Architecture – Some of the most intriguing medieval architecture can be found in some of the Ireland castles. Turrets, towers, moats, drawbridges, and many other architectural features and structure types can be seen in Ireland simply by visiting some of the castles.

8. Kiss The Famous Blarney Stone – Blarney Village is home to Blarney Castle, which is where the famous Blarney stone is located. If you want to have the gift of a silver tongue you must go upstairs in the castle, hang upside down, and kiss the stone. This stone is a world recognized symbol of Ireland and a popular reason to visit castles in Ireland.

9. Numerous Choices – One of the top reasons why it is a good idea to visit Ireland castles is the sheer number and variety of the choices available. Ireland is a land with many castles, and each one has attractions which make them individual and unique. There is almost no place in the country which is not close to a castle.

10. Visit A Haunted Castle – With a large number of castles in Ireland, it is no surprise that some are rumored to be haunted. The most famous of these is Leap Castle, but there are many others as well. With the violent history that many of these structures have seen, the haunting rumors may be true.