In 2017 over 10 million tourists visited Ireland – about twice the country’s own population. It’s not hard to see why, fewer travel destinations can offer the depth of history and natural beauty as those in Europe – Ireland in particular. But you aren’t here because you settled on a simple trip. This vacation season, you intend to live like royalty. There’s no shortage of castles in Ireland, but not all of them have been converted into hotels. So which ones are the best castles you can stay in in Ireland? With that in mind, please allow my humble personage to introduce His or Her Majesty to the best castle hotels in Ireland. After all, you deserve a little luxury.
The Best Castle Hotels in Ireland
This is a list of castles in Ireland which you can stay in overnight, have incredible meals and enjoy the luxury of royalty during your trip. From Dublin to Limerick, across to Mayo and beyond, we’ve put together a list of the most stunning and exclusive castle hotels that we believe will be the perfect fit for any fairytale Ireland castle vacation. So, lords and ladies, let’s get to the good stuff.
Adare Manor – Limerick
Who doesn’t want to stay in a castle?! Particularly when visiting Ireland, a country shrouded in myths and legends. The beautiful estates of Adare Manor are truly something out of a dream. Living up to its signature tagline “Beyond Everything”, this castle hotel not only meets, but exceeds 5-star quality. Boasting a rich history tracing back to the Earls of Dunraven as early as 1832, the Manor’s extensive record of hosting ancient royalty extends even to the modern day – classic rooms, signature suites, and even Dunraven Staterooms all stand refurbished with the latest in modern luxuries to ensure a stay that combines 18th century charm with 21st century leisure.
Located in the Limerick countryside, the extensive manor estates sit in the perfect sweet spot – boasting gorgeous country views and a short 20-minute drive to the city. Nonetheless, Adare Manor’s self-sustaining slice of paradise allows you to enjoy the entirety of your stay within the estate grounds, and rest assured, there’s no shortage of activities for kings and queens, princes and princesses, of all ages. Whether your interest lies in the adventurous, such as fishing and falconry – or in the leisurely, perhaps a round of golf and spot of afternoon tea – you can certainly count on exceptional service and that signature Irish hospitality. However, do beware of a singularly common complaint among guests: You won’t want to leave.
- Experiences range from a decadently luxurious multi-night stay to a simple reservation for afternoon tea; something to suit all budgets.
- Atmospheric country estate giving you “Downton Abbey” vibes and a truly royal experience.
- Extensive Manor grounds allow for a variety of indoor and outdoor activities.
- Professional and attentive staff intent on making you feel like Lord or Lady of the Manor.
**You can book your stay at Adare Manor HERE.**
Clontarf Castle – Dublin
Fancy yourself more swashbuckler than scholar? Fret not, my adventurous friend, for we have just the place for you! Found just 10 minutes from the heart of Dublin near the coast of the Irish Sea, the deluxe medieval Clontarf Castle hotel Dublin serves as the ideal launching pad for your modern Irish escapades. A popular choice among overseas visitors, Clontarf Castle’s most obvious draw (besides the notion of sleeping in a bloody *castle*) is its proximity to Dublin, the implications of which are quite apparent. That said, the castle-hotel’s own accommodations should not be underestimated, with the Knight’s Bar, Indigo Lounge, and Fahrenheit Restaurant bearing honorable mention for culinary excellence and top-quality service. And drinks, of course, plenty of drinks.
While certainly a more modern experience among Irish castle hotels, this villa’s relaxing lounges, seaside golf courses, and newly remodeled King Suites elevates it to a class all of its own. So whether you’re an overseas traveler or local veteran, consider a stay at Clontarf Castle for a guaranteed memorable experience. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful castles near Dublin.
- Excellent location – 8 km (5 miles) from Dublin Airport, 10 minutes from Dublin City Centre. Easy access to public transportation (taxi recommended).
- Modern, exciting atmosphere blended with the historical authenticity of a 12th-century style Norman castle.
- Variety of high-quality dining and pub options, both inside and outside the castle walls.
**Book your stay at Clontarf Castle HERE**
Ashford Castle – Mayo
Amongst the innumerable castles you can stay in in Ireland, Ashford Castle is arguably number one. Located in County Mayo adjacent to the lovely little village of Cong, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to call Ashford the country getaway destination of the century. It’s also a very easy, scenic 1 hour drive to Galway city, Ireland’s legendary party town where Ed Sheeran and Saoirse Ronan filmed the music video to “Galway Girl”. Between the breathtaking surroundings and royal treatment from the staff in this 700-year-old Irish castle hotel, it most assuredly lives up to its numerous accolades – including no. 3 ranked hotel in Ireland during 2018.
The hotel’s vicinity to Connemara National Park as well as historical Kylemore Abbey offers even more options to consider when planning your holiday – if you can manage to break away from the hypnotic air of luxury and decadence that has become something of an Ashford trademark. Speaking of decadence – be sure to visit the castle’s signature Spa, voted World’s Best Hotel Spa 2016 and Ireland’s Best Hotel Spa 2017, for an especially relaxing time. Overall, if you wish to really treat yourself or that special someone to a true fairytale escape, to stay overnight in a castle, Ashford Castle is the place to go.
- Expansive 350-acre estate grounds (exclusive to hotel guests) that offer horse-riding, fishing, falconry, shooting, kayaking, and more.
- Four world-class dining options featuring only the finest in Irish cuisine.
- Leisurely indoor options with a focus on 100% luxurious relaxation. Spoil yourself with your choice of the Billiards Room, Cinema, and Spa areas.
- Stunning natural scenery, overlooking Lough Corrib lake and captivating green acreage that seems never-ending.
- Less than an hour drive to legendary Galway city, the city of tribes and a great city for a pint and some live Irish music.
**Book the Ashford Castle Lodge HERE**
**Book a room in Ashford Castle HERE**
Castle Leslie Estate – Monaghan
Vintage, Victorian, and steeped in family history spanning centuries, Castle Leslie is one of the few remaining Irish castle hotels held by its original, founding family. Nestled deep within 1,000 acres of County Monaghan’s countryside, its lack of accessibility is more than made up for by a truly authentic cultural experience. The estate’s tagline, “Life, the way it’s supposed to be,” well reflects the time period it intends to capture – devoid of modern distractions such as television and radio. While perhaps off-putting to some, the throwback to simpler times is a refreshing contrast to the increasingly chaotic white noise* of the modern age (don’t worry, you still get free Wi-Fi.) The result is a sanctuary – a secret haven with a certain magic that just can’t quite be put into words.
With a veritable wealth of history (the Leslies are related to Winston Churchill by marriage, for instance) history buffs will no doubt appreciate the castle tour, while gastronomes will love the 5-course dinner offered in the Country Getaway package. Yes, whether seeking historical experiences or romantic ones, have no doubt you will find both in equal measure at Castle Leslie. Be sure to book well in advance of your trip, as reservations sell out quickly.
- A staggering 1,000 acres of estate, boasting streams, forested parkland, as well as 3 glittering lakes.
- Accommodations aside from the titular castle Leslie include the former Hunting Lodge, the refitted Stable Mews, and holiday cottages located in Glaslough (a beautiful little town that looks like something from a child’s storybook).
- Popular wedding venue, famous for the 2002 marriage of Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills.
Lough Eske Castle – Donegal
This stunning five-star, multi award-winning, Donegal castle hotel is incredibly popular, and no wonder with its perfect lakeside location near the Blue Stack Mountains. Donegal is a wild and spectacularly beautiful county unlike any other. If you’re into adventure there are plenty of activities for you to indulge in such as horse-riding, surfing, hiking and biking. If you want a more leisurely visit, rent a car and explore the rugged Wild Atlantic Way.
Lough Eske Castle has an indoor swimming pool so you don’t need to rely on the Irish weather to enjoy it. If it’s R&R you’re after then the spa is where you’ll want to be. Lough Eske Castle offers several spa packages with signature treatments, including a 6 hour Total Wellbeing treatment. If you want the full Irish castle hotel experience then make sure to book a castle room or suite complete with four-poster bed and luxurious design features.
- A jaw-dropping lakeside location at the foot of the mountains.
- Luxurious rooms with fluffy robes and slippers, rainforest showers and scenic views across the castle gardens.
- Convenient location, just a 10 minute drive from Donegal.
- Cedars Grill restaurant serving locally caught seafood as well as The Oak Bar which hosts traditional Irish music performances/events.
**You can book Loough Eske Castle HERE**
Have you stayed in a castle hotel before? Which one of these castles most appeals to you? No doubt there are many more castles in Ireland to stay in – but from our research and experiences, these are among the cream of the crop, the very best castles in Ireland. Best wishes to all you lords and ladies out there this holiday season!
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