20 AMAZING CASTLES IN IRELAND
20 AMAZING CASTLES IN IRELAND, thinking of visiting Ireland? Stay in one of these magnificent castles and experience life as royalty. Irish castles are rich in history, and a vacation in a castle will make you feel regal. So reserve a room at one of these Irish castle hotels and treat yourself like a king or queen.
1- DROMOLAND CASTLE, COUNTY CLARE, IRELAND
An Irish landmark and one of the most luxurious of Irish castles, this 16th-century castle has been a hotel since 1962 and is the ancestral home of the O’Brien clan, a native Gaelic family of royal blood and direct descendants of Ireland’s last High King, Brian Boru.
The ambience is of this Irish castle hotel is a plush private club with stately halls, open fires, family portraits and mahogany.
The spa is a contemporary oasis of calm within the castle walls with six luxury treatment rooms and an outdoor gazebo-covered hydro spa.
It’s one of the best Irish castles to stay in for golfers, with an 18-hole par 72 golf course designed by Irish golfing legend J.B. Carr.
The Dromoland Castle Golf Academy has a nine-bay, floodlit, fully automated driving range, a 500 sqm putting green along with a bunker and chipping green modelled after the famous ‘Road Hole’ bunker on the 17thf at St Andrew’s.
2- ASHFORD CASTLE, COUNTY MAYO, IRELAND
One of the most picturesque Irish castle hotels, surrounded by picture-perfect emerald forests, lush rolling hills and lakes where the movie “The Quiet Man” was filmed, this 13th-century castle sits majestically by scenic Lough Corrib.
Once the estate of the aristocratic Guinness family, known for their expertise in brewing, banking and politics, Ashford Castle opened as a hotel in 1939 and is never short of visiting celebrities.
It’s the perfect choice to treat yourself to an Ireland castle vacation.
Suave Bond actor Pierce Brosnan married Keely Shaye Smith in a traditional Irish reception here in 2001.
Guest rooms are individually and stylishly designed with marble bathrooms, sumptuous fabrics and stately furnishings.
Rooms retain their original features but are equipped with modern conveniences such as broadband connectivity and interactive TV.
Falconry, clay shooting and golf (there’s a nine-hole par 35 parkland course designed by Irish golf architect Eddie Hackett) are among the activities on offer. The spa menu is extensive and specialises in Yon-Ka products used in energy balancing treatments.
3- WATERFORD CASTLE HOTEL, COUNTY WATERFORD
Waterford Castle is a luxury hotel with elegant rooms, amazing views, and 800 years of Irish history.
Set on 310 acres (121 ha) of a private island, this captivating 16th-century East Ireland castle can be accessed only by the resort’s ferry service across the King’s Channel.
Offering an intimate stay with only 19 rooms, the island is known for its privacy and discretion.
Apart from the main castle, the island has 45 self-catering lodges.
It offers impeccable dining options and myriad activities like golfing, croqueting, and nature hiking in the breathtaking surrounding.
Waterford Castle Hotel and Golf Resort is at The Island, Ballinakill, Co. Waterford, X91 Y722, Ireland.
4- BARBERSTOWN CASTLE HOTEL, COUNTY KILDARE
Barberstown Castle is a four-star castle hotel with a history that dates back to the 13th century.
Think chandeliers and antique decor.
Located just 30 minutes away from Dublin, it is one of the first great houses to open its door as a guesthouse in 1971.
Later, between 1979 and 1987, famous rockstar Eric Clapton was its proud owner.
The building is a blend of original medieval structures with Victorian and Elizabethan extensions that were added eventually.
Feel the castle past come alive by plopping up with a book by a log fire or tucking into delicious grub at their dining hall.
5- SKRYNE CASTLE, COUNTY MEATH
Skryne Castle is one of the best castles in Ireland to stay in that has a working stable.
So, if you’re keen on horse riding, this castle is especially worth checking out.
This 12th-century castle is a perfect mix of old-world charm and modern-day living.
Guests can rent out the whole castle, especially when visiting as a family group, as there are only five bedrooms in this three-storey building.
Local sightseeing to Hill of Tara, New Grange, and Battle of the Boyne are easily accessible from this location.
6- LISHEEN CASTLE, COUNTY TIPPERARY
Lisheen Castle is a nine-bedroom castle perfect for a Co Tipperary extended family gathering.
The castle bedrooms are decked out tastefully, with attention to detail and mindful antique additions.
With four-poster oak beds, crystal and brass chandeliers, delicate tapestries, local specialty arts, and fittings, visitors can truly revel in this vintage aura of yesteryear grandeur.
The lush green countryside of Thurles adds to the picturesque castle grounds.
The castle is crammed with interesting spaces like the opulent dining hall, the quaint library, a traditional Irish kitchen, and a drawing-room restored from the castle’s original ceiling support.
Lisheen Castle is at Lisheen, Moyne, Co. Tipperary, E41 DX47, Ireland.
7- LUTTRELLSTOWN CASTLE RESORT, COUNTY DUBLIN
Be one of 24 guests in this boutique castle near Dublin, with its chef and lovely gardens.
This is the castle where David and Victoria Beckham were married, enchanted by the elegant garden and the magnificent 15th-century castle.
Rooms are luxurious, with distinctive features and ornate craftsmanship.
Apart from the championship 18-holes golf course, the 567 acres (239 ha) of spectacular private parkland offers exciting activities like fishing and falconry.
The tradition of Afternoon Tea is a lovely experience and other dining options include on-site restaurants and lounges, bars and private castle dining.
8- KINNITTY CASTLE HOTEL, COUNTY OFFALY
A Gothic castle built in 1209, Kinnity Castle has character, clay pigeon shooting, and a spooky atmosphere.
Snuggling up to the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, the castle consists of 650 acres (263 ha) of parkland, including extensive manicured lawns.
The castle rooms are spacious and have high ceilings with stunning views.
All rooms have ensuites with cast-iron roll-top baths.
The castle experience is enhanced with a drink at the Library Bar or dining at their award-winning Slí Dala Restaurant.
9- BALLYNAHINCH CASTLE, COUNTY GALWAY
The surreal Irish landscape is best savoured on a self-drive through the coastal circuit of Wild Atlantic Way.
This experience can be taken a notch up by putting a royal spin to it with a castle stay at this 700-acre (283 ha) sprawling property from the 16th century.
Ballynahinch Castle has a fascinating past that involves the reign of the famous pirate queen, Grace O’Malley.
With the 12 Bens mountain range providing a picturesque backdrop, the property is surrounded by lush woodlands and a gurgling river.
The rooms overlook the castle owner’s salmon fishery.
Outdoorsy visitors can enjoy various guided activities like hiking, fly fishing, cycling by the coast, or a boat ride to explore the nearby fjords.
Ballynahinch Castle is at Recess, Connemara, Recess, Co. Galway.
10- BALLYSEEDE CASTLE, COUNTY KERRY
Located just outside of Tralee, Ballyseede Castle beckons travellers who are looking for a peaceful palace.
This 23-room 16th century privately owned castle is set amidst secluded woodland with 30 acres (12 ha) of manicured garden.
The setup is cosy and the decor is warm and inviting.
Delicate chandeliers, patterned wallpapers, antique couches, plush carpets lend a classy and romantic appeal to the interior.
It offers four-star amenities with a tonne of freebies like parking, WiFi and tea and cookies throughout the day.
The castle is also family-friendly with large-sized rooms and availability of babysitting services.
The family pooch is adorable, and the property has a few farm animals to keep kids happy.
The nearby nature trails will keep the visitors active and inspired too.
Ballyseede Castle is at Tralee, Ballyseede, Tralee, Co. Kerry.
11- LISMORE CASTLE, COUNTY WATERFORD
Presently serving as the private home to Duke of Devonshire, Lismore Castle is on the bank of River Blackwater.
This 12th-century castle is available on an exclusive hire basis as a whole unit for guests up to 27.
The castle has hosted the likes of Sir Walter Raleigh, Cecil Beaton and JFK.
The structure might be ancient, but all contemporary conveniences are available within its walls.
Guests are cared for by an experienced team led by the family’s trusted private staff.
Guests can explore the surrounding area on foot, on horseback or by boat.
World-class paintings, Pugin Banqueting Hall, and walls marked with Cromwellian cannonballs are the castle highlights.
Lismore Castle is at Lismore Castle, Lismore, Co. Waterford.
12- CABRA CASTLE, COUNTY CAVAN
Ivy-covered stone walls, ornate fountains laced with green hedges, elegant period furnishings, and the magnificent backdrop of the Dun Ri Forest Park make Cabra Castle, the former seat of the Pratts family, one of the most coveted castles to stay in Ireland.
Accommodation is available as luxury rooms in the main castle, 105 courtyard rooms, and six charming cottages.
An authentic old-world appeal is woven artfully through the historic property.
The kitchen sources local produce to rustle up traditional Irish meals.
Guests can gorge on a scrumptious spread at the Courtroom Restaurant, which has gorgeous views of the parkland and garden.
Cabra Castle is at Carrickmacross Rd, Mullantra, Kingscourt, Co. Cavan.
13- KILKEA CASTLE HOTEL & GOLF RESORT, COUNTY KILDARE
Travellers looking for a castle stay near Dublin can find one just an hour’s drive away.
A majestic 12th-century castle converted into a 140-rooms boutique hotel sits within 180 acres (73 ha) of woodlands in Castledermot and is an absolute time capsule.
Hugh de Lacy built this castle in 1180 and has been a medieval stronghold of the Fitzgeralds, Earls of Kildare.
Kilkea Castle offers warm Irish hospitality along with a world-class golf course and lush gardens to walk around.
It rents out four sections of the castle for history enthusiasts to call home for a night – a castle bedroom, carriage bedroom, self-catering lodge, and a lodge bedroom.
Guests can also rent the whole 11-bedroom castle exclusively for a larger group or corporate retreats.
Kilkea Castle is at Castle View, Kilkea Demesne, Castledermot, Co. Kildare.
14- WILTON CASTLE, COUNTY WEXFORD
Unlike other castle stays that are either owned privately or operated by branded hospitality managements, Wilton Castle is a monument to a local’s love for his area.
The castle has been restored by a local farmer, Sean Windsor, who practically pulled this 13th-century castle from its ruins and prepared it for another glorious inning.
Located on the banks of the River Boro, this picturesque castle is divided into four apartments, each with its own style.
For instance, the bridal suite has a curved staircase leading to a bathroom in one of the castle’s round towers.
All apartments have a separate living area, kitchenette, and stunning views of the surrounding parkland and gardens.
Wilton Castle is at Wilton Castle, Wilton, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford.
15- MARKREE CASTLE, COUNTY SLIGO
Markree Castle is another 17th-century gothic masterpiece along the famous Wild Atlantic Way that offers an authentic castle stay.
As you drive through the imposing Gate House, you are welcomed by a splendid sight.
Meticulously renovated with fine attention to detail, this picture-perfect 500-acre (202 ha) castle is beautiful both inside and out.
Interlinked dining rooms, period features, stained-glass windows charting the Cooper family history, a blazing fire at the Grand Hall, the quaint boathouse nooks and crannies of this castle implores guests to explore it all at their leisure.
Markree Castle is also perfect for a fairytale wedding and has a chapel.
The castle ground has old trees and River Unshin flowing through it.
Markree Castle is at Clooneenroe, Collooney, Co. Sligo.
16- BALLYGALLY CASTLE, COUNTY ANTRIM
For fans of Game of Thrones who fancy rounding off a GOT tour in Northern Ireland with a castle stay, Ballygally Castle awaits on the northernmost tip of the Causeway Coastal Route.
Overlooking the Irish Sea and beaches of Ballygally Bay, this 17th-century castle is an enchanting escape into the fantasy world.
With its restored period rooms and panoramic views, delicious traditional Irish breakfasts and famous afternoon tea, this grand castle meets all expectations of a castle stay.
Ballygally Castle scores high not only for its scenic location but also for its proximity to many popular activities on the north coast.
Ballygally Castle is at Coast Rd, Ballygalley, Larne, Northern Ireland.
17- CROM CASTLE, COUNTY FERMANAGH
Another gem from North Ireland, Crom Estate, is a charming and romantic visual break from a dramatic castle backdrop.
It sits surrounded by over 150 wooded tranquil islands and hundreds of square miles of pristine waters of Lough Erne.
Spread out over 1900 acres, Crom Estate boasts of two castles – a plantation castle ruin by the lake and the 350-year-old Irish home of Lord Erne’s son, Viscount Crichton, the present castle that is available to rent.
This majestic neo-Tudor castle offers all the feels of a private residence with top-class five-star luxury amenities.
The estate is an important nature conservation area and houses many native species of flora and fauna.
Crom Castle is at Newtownbutler, Near Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
18- CASTLE LESLIE ESTATE, COUNTY MONAGHAN
It is a rare find in Ireland to come across a castle that is still under the care of its founding family.
Accessible from both Dublin and Belfast on a short drive is this mammoth 1000 acres property of Leslie Estate.
The estate is a page from a fairytale book with undulating Irish countryside, sparkling lakes and ancient woodlands.
In the middle of all this, the 17th-century castle looks like a glittering gem on a crown.
Visualise opulent rooms, each with their own fascinating family stories, decorated in unique colours and designs.
Old-world charm is captured here with all modern-day amenities to please even a picky guest.
The estate offers lodgings of different values like the castle rooms in the west wing of the main castle or the lodge rooms and the old stable mews that are not part of the main castle.
Their equestrian activities are unparalleled here, and a horseback ride through the estate is a fabulous experience.
Castle Leslie is at Glaslough, Co. Monaghan, Ireland.
HISTORIC CASTLES TO VISIT IN IRELAND
19- ROCK OF CASHEL, COUNTY TIPPERARY
Perched atop a limestone outcrop, this ancient site is not only the seat of Irish political power but visiting it is also a religious experience.
Preserved with care, the Rock of Cashel is a historically significant archeological site of Ireland.
The fort complex presents structures from many different centuries.
Legend has it that St Peters himself blessed one of the earliest Munster Kings at this castle and converted King Aenghus to Christianity.
What started as a fascinating stone fortress was later handed over to the Catholic Church in 1101.
This cluster of medieval buildings has many attractions like the oldest building structure, the 12th-century round tower, and Ireland’s only remaining Romanesque fresco.
A visit here is perfect for a time travel to the Emerald Isle’s glorious past!
Rock of Cashel is at Moor, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland.
20- BLARNEY CASTLE
What makes a medieval castle all the more alluring and mysterious?
Well, myths, of course.
Blarney Castle can shower visitors with a rare gift by just kissing a stone.
The Blarney Stone has prompted legendary figures from all over the world to make this castle their pilgrimage.
Although the stone attracts most visitors, they are lured to stay longer to explore the structure.
This medieval stronghold had a humble beginning as a fortified wooden structure in the 10th century and was renovated in 1446.
As the seat of the chieftain Cormac McCarthy, exploring its hallways, conjures images of Irish battles.
The steep stairwells and tunnels make the castle interior a live stone maze.
Its enormous ground has tranquil gardens, arboretums, avenues, and waterways.
Blarney Castle is at Monacnapa, Blarney, Co. Cork, Ireland.