5 Fantastic Reasons to Visit Swords, Ireland

Swords, Ireland is a suburban town located about ten kilometers north of Dublin. This town has a rich history dating back to 560 AD and boasts a round tower, some lovely parks, a medieval castle, and a holy well.  And Swords is less than a 10-minute drive from the Dublin Airport. If you are in the Dublin (or Dublin airport) area and are curious about exploring Swords with your family, we have you covered! In this blog post, I will share 5 fantastic reasons you should visit Swords, Ireland.

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A black sign with gold words sits on a patch of green grass between a road and sidewalk. Fáilte go Sord. Welcome to Swords. Swords, Ireland. MPA Project Travels.
Welcome to Swords sign

Our Trip to Swords, Ireland

Sal and I visited Swords on the last day of our two and a half week long Ireland and Scotland summer vacation. After hiking the Isle of Skye’s Fairy Pools then driving six hours to the Edinburgh airport before hopping on a plane and flying into the Dublin airport in the wee hours of the morning the day before, we decided to take it easy and explore Swords.

Originally, we thought we would spend another day in Dublin city centre. But we were exhausted and opted not to go into the city. Rather, we slept in and walked around exploring Swords at our leisure.

Fun Fact!  Swords gets its name from “Sord” the Gaelic word for “pure” which refers to a holy well located near the town. The holy well, associated with St. Colmcille, is said to have healing properties for sore eyes.

Where’s Buddy?

While Sal and I explored Swords, Buddy was with his choir on tour in Wales in the United Kingdom. Although we followed Buddy around the entirety of his Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland legs of his tour, when the choir went south to England and Wales, Sal and I went to the Scottish Highlands. We returned to Ireland two days before Buddy and his choir took a ferry back to Dublin. We all flew back to the States from Dublin.

Unfortunately, this post will not include a teenager’s perspective. However, if you are interested in doing the tour of Stonehenge that Buddy and his choir did, there are some options below.

5 Reasons to Visit Swords, Ireland

1. Swords Castle

Swords Castle is a medieval castle that dates back to the early 13th century. Built near the Ward River, the castle has a rich history story and is a great destination for history buffs and families alike. Swords Castle is located in heart of Swords at Bridge St, Townparks, Swords, Co. Dublin, K67 X439, Ireland. Best of all, admission is free! Unfortunately, there is no parking on site, but street parking is available. Dogs are allowed in the park area and the site offers fee WIFI (very important for the teens!). For the most up-to-date information regarding Swords Castle, visit the website.

Fun Fact: Swords castle’s catchphrase is “800 Years and 2 Miles from the Airport.”

A stone castle with two flag posts on both towers is flanked by walls and battlements. Swords, Ireland. MPA Project Travels.
Swords Castle

We walked to Swords Castle from our hotel near Dublin airport. It was about a mile walk through quiet neighborhoods. And it took us about 30 minutes to get there. We visited around noon on a Tuesday in July but given that it was a weekday, there were not a lot of visitors to the castle. Rather, it was like Kilkenny Castle in that there were more locals than tourists when we visited. Most locals were eating lunch on the picnic tables in the park area. When we visited, there were empty stands set up. It looked like there are fairs or other events that take place at the castle on the weekends.  

I enjoyed exploring the chapel and walking the battlements. Sal enjoyed sitting outside at the picnic tables taking in his last day of temperate summer weather before we returned to the extremely hot and dry Sonoran Desert.

A stone wall and battlement. Swords, Ireland. MPA Project Travels.
The battlements of Swords Castle

2. Swords, Ireland is close to Dublin Airport

There is a reason Swords Castle’s slogan says, “2 miles from the airport.” That is because, indeed, Swords is a less than 10-minute drive to Dublin International Airport and within walking distance from airport hotels. So, if you are staying at an airport hotel before or after a flight into Ireland. Or if you have a long layover at Dublin Airport and you want to take in some sites, Swords is a great place to visit!

We visited Swords because we stayed at an airport hotel at the end of our trip. Too tired to venture into Dublin, but not so tired that we did not want to explore the nearby sites, we spent a day walking around Swords including the parks and the City Centre. It was lovely!

3. Swords, Ireland has great parks

Swords, Ireland is home to Swords Community Park, Swords Town Park, and the Ward River Valley Regional Park. These green spaces with walking paths and playgrounds are a great place for traveling families. This is because at a park you can get some fresh air, stretch their legs, and play. Parks are also a great way for littles to take a break from all the sitting of planes, cars, and trains or from visiting quiet places like museums or restaurants. These parks, all located near Swords Castle, are a great way to get outside and get some fresh air.

A brick pilar and back wrought iron fence before green trees. Swords Town Park. Swords, Ireland. 
County Dublin. MPA Project Travels.
Swords Town Park

After exploring Swords Castle, Sal and I walked through Swords Community Park and Swords Town Park. Then we turned around and heading towards Ward River Valley Regional Park. To be fair, we were just exploring and did not intend on visiting these parks. It was a happy accident that we ran into them. We did not explore as much of Swords River Valley Park. I would have liked as it is a larger park. It was lovely to be outdoors and walking on our last day in Ireland.

4. People are friendly

We met some lovely people during our travels in Ireland. From the tour guide at St. Canice’s in Kilkenny who suggested Sal proposed to me (we are married), to the incredible bakers at the Harvest Home Bakery & Café in Trim who made Buddy the best birthday cake he has ever had and delivered it on a day they were closed. The Irish people are kind and friendly.

That was the same experience we had in Swords. Upon entering Swords Castle, we were greeted by a very friendly person from the local tourism board. They offered us brochures and advice on things to see and do in Swords, Dublin, and throughout the country – very friendly.

A stone chapel with a stained glass window and chandelier with wood roof. Chapel Swords Castle. Swords, Ireland. MPA Project Travels.
Swords Castle Chapel

5. It is a good place to practice driving

Practice driving? Yes, you read that right! Swords is a good place to practice driving on the left side of the road if you come from a country where they drive on the right.

I cannot take credit for this tip. I learned this tip from my favorite family travel YouTuber, Wolters World. According to Mark from Wolter’s World, Swords is a great place for international drivers to practice driving on the left side of the road before heading into Dublin or off on an Irish road trip. This is because Swords is close to the airport and a small enough town that the traffic is manageable as drivers get the hang of things being reversed.

An arch over a one way road to a town mall. Swords Town Centre. Swords, Ireland. MPA Project Travels.
Swords Town Centre

Before, and after, we rented our car, I mentioned this to Sal who drove the entirety of our Irish road trip. I wanted him to have the option to practice if he thought it was necessary. He did not. Sal decided that he did not need practice and ventured off into Dublin driving manual transmission (that he had not driven in years) on the left side of the road! There were some close calls that first day, but we made it! In retrospect, I think he should have practiced in Swords.

A tall round tower fenced off surrounded by large trees and a house. Swords, Ireland. MPA Project Travels.
Swords Round Tower

Is Swords, Ireland worth visiting?

In our opinion, yes! In our experience, Swords is a quiet suburb with not a lot of tourists and friendly locals. The town’s castle and green spaces are delightful to explore on a quiet leisurely day of site sightseeing. I would go back.

And we did not film a Movement Postcard in Swords. Maybe next time!

Swords, Ireland, is a great town to visit. Whether you’re a traveler with a quick layover or a family looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of sightseeing, Swords, Ireland, is the ideal destination. Plan your visit today and enjoy all that this cute town has to offer.

Are you planning a trip to Ireland? If so, let us know in the comments below!

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Hello! We are Yvonne & Buddy and we create family travel blogs based on firsthand knowledge and experiences of a destination. Our goal is to inspire teens, parents, and families to share time together engaging in new experiences whether the destination is near or far from home. Come join us on our travels!

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9 thoughts on “5 Fantastic Reasons to Visit Swords, Ireland

  1. You had me at 10 minutes from Dublin airport. i would love to explore the castle whenever we go for an Ireland road trip (the last planned one got cancelled in 2020 due to covid!)

  2. Great post. I love everything about Ireland, the stunning landscape and scenery, the history, the food and the kindness of locals. Thanks for sharing a lovely little town, not to far from the capital.

  3. I live in Swords and yes, it’s a great place! I suppose we Irish take our historical monuments & castles for granted with there being so many – we are spoilt! So happy you enjoyed your visit. Next time try some of our bars/restaurants – The Old Schoolhouse do outstanding pub grub as does K67 and The Arch. We also have a great shopping centre – the Pavilions which is also home to a multiplex cinema and many more eateries..Swords is served directly by buses to Dublin airport as well. ☺️

    • Buddy and I were just staying that we need to go back to Ireland soon. Thanks for the restaurant tips! We will definitely check those out on our next visit. As well as the Pavilions. Sending some Arizona sunshine your way!

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