At some point in your life, you probably dreamed about being a princess or a knight; living in a castle surrounded by a beautiful lake, forest, or maybe even mountains. It’s a pretty daydream, and maybe one you still secretly harbor inside (no judgement here, trust me). Even if you have grown out of those daydreams, you have to admit; it would be pretty cool to stay in a castle. Well, in Ireland you can! There are dozens of beautifully restored castles that today serve as hotels across the country. These are ten of the most magical castle hotels in Ireland.
Ashford Castle (County Mayo)
Ashford Castle is probably the best known luxury Castle in Ireland. Located on a stunning 350-acre estate on the west coast of Ireland, not too far from Galway. Fine dining, a spa, sporting activities, and more make it the perfect destination for couples and families. Dozens of famous and notable guests have stayed here over the years including Oscar Wilde, The Beatles, Brad Pitt, and various royalty. If you are looking for the ultimate Irish Castle stay, then Ashford Castle is the perfect choice.
Of course, being Ireland’s most prestigious castle comes with a price tag that isn’t always in everyone’s budget. If the cost for a room in the castle doesn’t fit your wallet, consider staying in the Ashford Castle Lodge. While you aren’t staying in the castle itself, the lodge is still a beautiful luxury property located on the vast estate.
Ballynahinch Castle (County Galway)
Located in the beautiful and wild region of Connemara, Ballynahinch is a stunning castle hotel on a 450-acre estate. It’s a smaller Irish castle hotel, with a total of 48 elegant rooms, and is a popular pick for outdoor enthusiasts who are interested in exploring the surrounding area. Walking trails, fly fishing, and cycling.
Fun fact: The castle was once home to the notorious Irish pirate queen, Grace O’Malley.
Lough Eske Castle (Donegal Country)
Lough Eske Castle looks like it came straight from the pages of your favourite fairytale storybook. Located just outside Donegal town, this historic estate sites serenely on the shores of a lake, offering stunning views. Lough Eske Castle is the only 5-star castle hotel in Donegal County and has received several awards including luxury hotel of the year 2017. Whether you are interested in taking advantage of Country Donegal’s adventure activities, or looking for a quiet a relaxing break, Lough Eske is a perfect fairytale castle hotel.
Dromoland Castle (County Clare)
Another storybook castle hostel, Dromoland Castle as you see it today dates back to 1835. The estate is 400-acres and includes a luxurious spa, fine dining options, and plenty of recreational activities including golf, horseback riding, archery, and cycling. Plus, it’s close to two of Irelands most popular natural attractions; the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher, making it a great place to base yourself for a night or two.
Waterford Castle (County Waterford)
Located on an island outside of Waterford City, Waterford Castle hotel is absolutely enchanting year round. This Irish castle hotel is steeped in centuries of history, but recent refurbishments have ensured that this luxury castle hotel meets the highest of standards. Escape the city and spend a night or two here enjoying fine dining, afternoon tea, and the beauty of the surrounding nature.
Ballyseede Castle (County Kerry)
Ballyseede Castle is county Kerry’s only castle hotel, but just because it doesn’t have any competition doesn’t mean it’s lacking. Ballyseede Castle hotel is one of the top 4-star luxury castle hotels in Ireland. Award-winning food, a relaxing and elegant atmosphere, and a high service level make it a great choice for families or couples looking to experience a stay in an elegant Irish castle.
Cabra Castle (County Cavan)
Cabra Castle is one of the best known castle hotels in Ireland. It’s history dates back to 1699, and you can still find the ruins of the original castle on the property. Today, Cabra Castle is a gorgeous four-star hotel set in a picturesque parkland with beautiful gardens. There are 12 main rooms in the castle itself, with additional accommodation options in the courtyard area, gate lodge, and in six charming cottages on the property.
Kilkea Castle (Country Kildare)
Dating back to the 12th Century, Kilkea Castle hotel is one of the oldest castle hotels in Ireland. It recently went through major renovations, re-opening in March of 2017 to claim its place as one of the most elegant luxury castle hotels in Ireland. Like many other hotels on this list, Kilkea Castle offers a variety of activities such as horseback riding and falconry. An additional fun perk is the castle’s lazy river which guests are encouraged to enjoy with a glass of wine in hand. Fun, elegant, and relaxing, Kilkea Castle makes a perfect Irish castle hotel stay.
Clontarf Castle (County Dublin)
Located just outside of Dublin City Centre, Clontarf Castle is probably the most easily accessible castle on this list and perfect for travellers who would like to stay in an Irish castle hotel but don’t want to rent a car. This castle hotel near Dublin is ranked as one of the top ten hotels according to Conde Nast Reader’s choice and offers guest a luxurious royal experience close the the city.
Ballygally Castle (Country Antrim)
Overlooking the sea, Ballygally Castle is located along one of the most beautiful routes on the island; the Causeway Coastal Route. The main building dates back to the 17th century, and while it has been restored and modernized, it still maintains historic charm; along with some ghosts. In fact, this Irish castle hotel is rumored to be one of the most haunted places in Northern Ireland with at least two spirits who have a penchant for knocking on doors. Are you brave enough to spend the night?
Being able to stay in a castle hotel is a dream for many, and while it may not be the cheapest accommodation option, it can be affordable. While some of the castles on this list are definitely high end luxury, they don’t all have a massive price tag meaning you can live out your fairytale fantasy in a magical Irish castle hotel.
Which of these castle hotels in Ireland tops your list?
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