Last Updated on: 9th September 2023, 03:51 pm
As a child I often dreamed of living in a castle; wandering the many halls, admiring the vast rooms, finding secret passages, and exploring the beautiful gardens or surrounding forests.
Partly, this fantasy was enhanced by the steady stream of Brothers Grimm stories and other fantasy books I spent my time reading. But mostly it was from memorable childhood holidays spent exploring Europe with my parents. The stories I loved seemed to come alive once I entered the moss-covered forests of Luxembourg or stared up at the many castles that line the Rhine River Valley in Germany.
Luxury Castle Hotels in Ireland
There are literally thousands of castles and manor homes regally placed throughout the lush green countryside of the Emerald Isle. And, if like me, you have a slight obsession with these historical and magnificent buildings, all it takes is one look at the properties in this article to set off daydreams of living like royalty.
Luckily for us, some of these spectacular estates have been well-maintained and converted into magical luxury castle hotels in Ireland. These centuries’ old towers and turrets have been transformed into rentable rooms complete with modern comforts that are fit for a king (or queen). Are you ready to pack your bags for Ireland? If you are ready for some royal treatment, let’s head inside 7 luxury castle hotels in Ireland.
Adare Manor is situated in County Limerick and is undeniably one of the most unique luxury castle hotels in Ireland. Built in the 1860s as a ‘calendar house’, Adare Manor has 365 windows, 52 chimney stacks, seven pillars, and four towers which represent the seasons. The architectural masterpiece has been operating as a five-star hotel for years but underwent massive renovations recently.
With the revamp finished last year, Adare Manor has reopened its doors as one of the best castle hotels in all of Ireland. Upgrades included power lights that automatically switch off at night, automatic dimmer lights in the bathrooms for guests who get up at night, and rooms that can be unlocked with either a card or phone. Another new addition is the world-class Tom Fazio-designed golf course that you drive through along their winding private road to reach the castle.
Upon entering the lobby at Adare Manor, with its roaring fires, plush chairs, and intricate tapestries, you will instantly notice the warm and inviting atmosphere that is missing in many similar luxury properties. Each and every room has an individual design and is decorated with vaulted ceilings and mahogany furniture that looks like antiques. The color scheme consists of soft cream and gold that exudes understated opulence but most of all comfort. Rooms are also equipped with high-tech tablets that are not only used to control lighting and temperature but are also virtual concierge. Within the gorgeous en-suite bathrooms are Victorian slipper baths with views over the gardens and large rainfall showers with space for two.
Breakfast and afternoon tea are served in The Gallery which is an exquisite space with an ornate design, gothic-inspired carvings, and stunning stained glass windows. Whereas, dinner is served in The Oak Room which was the original dining space. Guests will enjoy five-course meals and fine-dining at its best as the talented chefs are hoping to attract a Michelin star. The Tack Room is the place to end an evening with a nightcap or chic cocktail created by their skilled mixologist.
Adare Manor certainly lives up to their slogan, “Beyond Everything” and is truly the ultimate lux fairy-tale location in Ireland.
Ballynahinch Castle may just have the best location of all the castle hotels in Ireland. Situated in County Galway and placed within the magical Connemara Park which can be found along the famous Wild Atlantic Way. The rugged valleys and dramatic scenery that make up this awe-inspiring coastal route are some of the most beautiful parts of the country. Therefore, Ballynahinch Castle has an idyllic setting at the foot of the Twelve Bens Mountains but is also an impressive luxury retreat.
Dating back to the 18th century, Ballynahinch Castle has a rich and colorful history that is part of its charm. The property has been well-maintained and restored over the years with modern facilities to cater to their exclusive guests. Most of its appeal stems from this seamless blend between the old and the new. However, visitors also fall in love with the 700 acres of unspoiled natural beauty. Surrounded by woodland and rivers, Ballynahinch Castle is ideal for travelers who love being outdoors. Activities on this stunning property include fly fishing at the salmon fishery, hiking, boat rides, clay shooting, cycling, and more.
The inside is just as impressive as the breath-taking property with pure luxury at every corner of the building. Roaring log fires, plush cushioned chairs, and cozy reading nooks welcome guests to this unique place while inspiring visitors to slow down and get comfortable. Each luxury room or suite offers unrivaled views of the river or woodland that instantly instills a sense of peaceful relaxation. Every space makes use of natural lighting and the windows are large enough to highlight the beauty outside. Although the four-poster beds, walk-in wardrobes, and spacious bathrooms will tempt most travelers to stay inside, the real treat is most definitely the property.
Dining at Ballynahinch Castle is a wonderful experience, especially the champagne afternoon tea served in the Owenmore Restaurant. Dinner involves a number of courses and a variety of interesting dishes are created by their talented chef who makes good use of the surrounding land. Most of the ingredients are locally sourced and each meal more delicious than the last.
Ballynahinch Castle offers travelers a unique luxury stay in a romantic setting that truly embraces nature.
Castle Leslie Estate
Castle Leslie Estate is another fantastic castle hotel situated in County Monaghan which is well worth a visit. Blessed with serene surroundings, the sumptuously luxurious castle hotel is a firm favorite with celebrities. Castle Leslie became famous worldwide when Sir Paul McCartney hosted his elaborate wedding here back in 2002. The property has been owned by the Leslie family for generations starting in the 1650s. There is even a rumor that the castle is haunted by a former owner, Norman Leslie, who dies during the First World War.
Castle Leslie Estate is located within a breath-taking 1000 acre estate in the Irish countryside, which is conveniently only a two-hour drive from Dublin. There is much to explore both within the castle and throughout the property. The castle has been lovingly restored over the years by the Leslie family and a tour of the beautifully renovated rooms is a must. Along the way, make sure to take note of the many historical artifacts and unique antiques’ that have been collected and showcased over time. Guests also have a seemingly endless supply of activities to choose from such as horse riding or horse-drawn carriage rides, fishing, boat rides, clay pigeon shooting, and even falconry.
Castle Leslie Estate has a lot of space and the accommodation options are split between the unique rooms in the castle, the more relaxed setting of the Lodge, and the charming Old Stable Mews or Village Cottages. The Castle Rooms all have unique designs and layouts with a fascinating story or two of previous occupants. Each accommodation option offers guests a different experience depending on what they are looking for. However, visitors can expect elegant luxury regardless of which option they choose. Take in the authentic original interiors and enjoy the experience of old-style hospitality.
Dining choices include afternoon tea served in The Blue Room within the castle itself. Guests are also encouraged to enjoy the fine-dining experience at Snaffles Restaurant at The Lodge. The impressive space is open to guests and the public and doesn’t feel like a hotel dining room. Indulge by selecting the nine-course tasting menu and pair it with wine from their extensive list. Head to Connor’s Bar which is also in The Lodge for whiskey or a nightcap before retiring to the rooms. Truly one of the most special castle hotels in Ireland.
Ashford Castle is truly a special place to stay as it is one of the oldest and most famous castle hotels in Ireland. This luxuriously romantic hotel is over 800 years and situated in County Mayo. Ashford Castle is a luxury destination like no other and a rather popular choice with travelers who want an Irish castle experience. The magnificent castle is set in 350 acres of ancient woodland on the bank of a large river.
With its picture-perfect location and recent refurbishments, Ashford Castle is back to its historic splendor. Guests can expect unrivaled service with warm Irish hospitality and top-class modern amenities. Most appealing to visitors is the opportunity to explore the extensive property (only hotel guests are allowed) as it is quite exclusive. During a stay, guests should participate in one of the many activities such as a round of golf, horseback riding, or an educational falconry experience.
Accommodation within any one of the 82 spectacular rooms or suites offers insights into the rich heritage of the Castle. As the property is so popular it is often fully booked, but guests can still book a room in the Lodge country house or a Hideaway Cottage. The opulent interiors are decorated with antique furniture, fine fabrics, and unique features that add to the authenticity of the experience. Each room and suite is designed individually with elegant style and luxurious comfort. Modern touches have been added to subtly complement the rooms for a memorable stay.
There are various dining options at Ashford Castle such as the George V dining room which was named after the Prince of Wales who visited in 1905. The beautiful setting and contemporary dishes ensure that guests dine like royalty. For a more casual dining affair, guests can enjoy meals in The Dungeon. The Bistro-style menu and historic setting make for an unforgettable meal. Another option is Cullens at the Cottage at Hideaway Cottage with its wonderfully relaxed atmosphere. Guests can also arrange a private wine tasting experience and dinner in The Wine Cellars. Best of all is the state-of-the-art spa and fitness center. The award-winning spa is the ultimate space to luxuriate with personalized spa treatments and world-class facilities.
Dromoland Castle is another one of the most historic castle hotels in Ireland, with a rich history entwined with Irish royalty. Located in County Clare, Dromoland Castle was once the ancestral home of a number of Irish kings. The imposing building with its Gothic façade dates back to 1651 and was home to O’Brien’s of Thomond who were descendants of the last High King of Ireland.
As a result, numerous famous guests have stayed at Dromoland Castle Hotel over the years. A complete revamp of the property has taken place recently to modernize the castle while still retaining its historical significance by preserving the architecture. Dromoland Castle is near the famous Wild Atlantic Way and a great stopover for popular sights like the Cliffs of Moher.
The rooms and suites offer modern comforts with historic grandeur which is evident all throughout the castle. Long corridors are filled with antiques, paintings, and other curiosities. The grand staircases, large chandeliers, and stained glass windows add a special touch to the experience. All the rooms have been decorated with wallpaper, soft furnishings and furniture and most have splendid views of the lake or estate. The spacious and classy en-suite bathrooms include a large rainfall shower and marble sink. The stunning property encourages guests to explore and enjoy the natural surroundings. Meander through the gardens, along the bank of the idyllic lake, and take in the enchanted property that transports guests to a century-long gone.
Visitors can relax and sample the various delicacies during Mrs. White’s Afternoon Tea which is served in the Gallery Lounge and Cocktail Bar. Dinner then takes place in the historic Earl of Thomond Restaurant which is a grand dining room made for fine dining. For a more casual dinner, guests can try the Fig Tree Restaurant located in the Country Club. Kids will love the archery lessons and go-kart track, whereas adults will enjoy the Golf Academy or falconry experience. Finally, the on-site spa is the perfect way to relax and unwind in the beautiful Irish countryside. There truly is something for everyone at Dromoland Castle.
Solis Lough Eske Castle
Solis Lough Eske Castle is a wonderfully luxurious estate situated on the banks of a lake close to the Blue Stack Mountains. Solis Lough Eske Castle has a long rich history that is intricately connected to the story of County Donegal. The castle dates back to the 1400s and is linked to the famous O’Donnell family that founded the town of Donegal. Originally built in 1474, the castle fell into disrepair and a new one was constructed in the 1860s. This version, however, was destroyed by a fire in 1939 but has since been rebuilt and renovated.
The beautifully wild region of Donegal has dramatic landscapes, a rugged coastline, and vast seascapes. Solis Lough Eske Castle is nestled in the majestic scenery and is an integral part of the local community. Restoration allowed for the addition of modern amenities, which makes the castle hotel a place of glamour, style, and elegance. The opulent outpost on the northern tip of the Emerald Isle has fairy-tale written all over it.
The property features a unique sculpture garden with intricate pieces that catch the eye. Smaller pieces are scattered throughout the inside but the larger more sensational sculptures captivate guests exploring the gardens. The 43-acre property teems with forests and trails that wind alongside the peaceful lake. There is a wooden boardwalk that guides guests along the trails and the experience is the ultimate relaxation activity.
Inside, the 96 guest rooms provide a comfortable stay in a luxurious setting. Rooms feature warm but neutral tones with classic furniture and large windows for a glimpse of the tranquil green spaces outside. Some rooms even have unforgettable four-poster beds for guests who want a truly spectacular stay. Large bathrooms come complete with marble tiling, two sinks, a bath, and a separate shower.
Solis Lough Eske Castle sports one restaurant and two bars right on the property, so there is no need to leave the property. The restaurant, Cedar’s Grill is a contemporary space serving expertly prepared dishes created by their talented chef. After a delicious dinner, guests can enjoy a cocktail at either Gallery Bar or the Oak Bar. There are also several exquisite common spaces for guests to relax by a fire, play a game of billiards, or head to the spa. Something that makes castle hotels in Ireland a sought-after experience.
Ballygally Castle Hotel
Ballygally Castle Hotel is situated on the northern Irish coastline near the top of the Giants Causeway Route. The dramatic castle hotel is located within the dramatic and rugged county, Antrim. Built in the 17th century by Lord James Shaw, the castle is rumored to be haunted by his wife Lady Isobella. Guests can learn more about the various stories about what happened to the occupants of Ballygally Castle by heading up the tower with the Ghost Room. A stay at Ballygally Castle Hotel is a wonderful experience, regardless of interest in historical mysteries.
The gorgeous coastline, endless views over the ocean combined with the old-world charm of the building and estate results in an unforgettable experience. Recent refurbishments and modern additions have made a stay at Ballygally Castle Hotel even more comfortable and enjoyable. Although it is one of the most haunted accommodations in Ireland the warmth and hospitality of the staff make up for any reservations guests may have. Since the castle is close to numerous tourist attractions, it is a great spot to stay for a while as it is the perfect base. There is a myriad of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy within the region.
The 54 rooms and suites are ultra-luxurious spaces and a number of them even have spectacular sea views. The interiors consist of a fusion of different designs to blend the modern amenities with the historical buildings – the results are phenomenal. Each room is furnished in a unique way but with relaxation and comfort in mind at all times. There are a limited number of tower rooms also available for guests who want a more authentic castle experience. All rooms are tastefully decorated with the original beamed ceilings and offer views of the ocean, castle gardens, and surrounding mountains. Each en-suite bathroom is remarkably spacious and includes both a bathtub and shower.
Many people visit this part of Ireland for the famous Game of Thrones tour, as parts of the award-winning show were filmed in this beautiful region. Ballygally Castle Hotel makes it even more special for travelers by offering Game of Thrones-themed afternoon tea for guests and the general public. Breakfast and dinner are served at the Garden Restaurant where the chefs create culinary delights from the best locally sourced produce. For lighter meals, finger foods, or snacks guests from the Ballygally Castle lounge as well. Definitely one of the best northern castle hotels in Ireland.
Which of these 7 luxury castle hotels in Ireland would you most like to visit?
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