20 Castle Hotels in Ireland Where You Totally Have to Stay
Castles used to be hubs of activity and noise, teeming with lords, knights, servants, troops, and entertainment. Nowadays, castles are real pieces of history, showing that chivalrous adventures didn’t just happen in stories and boasting a dramatic beauty that is hard to describe.
Some people are drawn to castles because of the stories they tell, while others are impressed by their immensity. For some, it is their location. But for most, it’s because they come straight from a fairytale, representing the pinnacle of a couple’s commitment to one another and the ideal of a happily ever after spent in the guise of a magnificent place.
However, many of these romantic fortresses were also the settings for tragic events. Because of their history and architecture, which can be both enchanting and foreboding, the best castles in Europe provoke a mixture of sorrow and awe. Each room has its own heritage, and each stone has its own drama, with hushed secrets from bygone centuries to share.
Nonetheless, to be completely honest, we have no desire to ever live in a castle. Even if we would like to roll down the winding staircase of the Palace of Pena or dance across the ballroom of the Château de Chambord, we have heard a lot about the difficulty of maintaining a castle to want one of our own.
But there is a way we can appreciate the scene without being distracted by thoughts of mending the roof or polishing the candelabras. We can live out our version of “Cinderella” or “Sleeping Beauty” by booking a room at a castle hotel.
In this article we’ll focus only on Ireland, because that’s where you’ll find many impressive strongholds that are home to some of the most unique hotels in the world. While there are many accommodations in Ireland to choose from, the thrill of being in a castle hotel is unparalleled.
Spending even one night in one of these jaw-dropping establishments will call back the time and make you feel like royalty. Every penny will be well spent on the luxurious rooms, elaborate decorations, and first-rate amenities.
And believe us, this is an adventure you won’t soon forget. From the Vikings to the Norman Invasion, Irish history is replete with important events and stormy eras that define the centuries that followed under British control. Therefore, the country is littered with significant relics from the past.
Staying in a castle or manor house is a wonderful way to experience that history while also being pampered in grand style. Not to mention the myriad of conveniences, exceptional service, and Michelin-star cuisine that make these architectural marvels a second-to-none spot for refined tourists.
Are you ready to dine, relax, and sleep like an aristocrat at these 20 castle hotels suitable for ruling monarchs like you? Some are really old, some have a fascinating historical background, while yet others may not be that ancient but are spectacular places to seek refuge for a time.
Experience true fairytale living at one of these Irish fortresses. Unfortunately, Prince Charming is not provided. Neither does Snow White. You’ll have to handle this one alone.
- 20. Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, County Dublin
- 19. Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, County Galway
- 18. Ballyseede Castle Hotel, County Kerry
- 17. Cabra Castle Hotel, County Cavan
- 16. Wilton Castle Hotel, County Wexford
- 15. Clontarf Castle Hotel, County Dublin
- 14. Glenlo Abbey Hotel, County Galway
- 13. Gregans Castle Hotel, County Clare
- 12. Kilkea Castle Hotel, County Kildare
- 11. Lough Rynn Castle Estate & Gardens, County Leitrim
- 10. Lismore Castle Hotel, County Waterford
- 9. Castle Leslie Estate, County Monaghan
- 8. Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, County Galway
- 7. Kilronan Castle Estate & Spa, County Roscommon
- 6. Castlemartyr Resort, County Cork
- 5. Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort, County Waterford
- 4. Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, County Limerick
- 3. Dromoland Castle Hotel, County Clare
- 2. Lough Eske Castle, a Solís Hotel & Spa, County Donegal
- 1. Ashford Castle Hotel, County Mayo
20. Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, County Dublin
If you’re hoping for a castle hotel that’s close to Dublin, look no further than Fitzpatrick Castle. It’s about a 35-minute drive to the city’s downtown and an hour to Dublin Airport, which makes this establishment a must for those who wish to visit Ireland’s capital city while enjoying medieval accommodation.
This castle, originally built in the 18th century, has been restored and modernized to include 113 en-suite bedrooms, two restaurants, and meeting spaces for business travelers. The facility also boasts an avant-garde fitness center with an indoor pool, whirlpool spa, and steam room.
19. Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, County Galway
The Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, established in 1832, is situated on Sky Road, a well-known tourist route through the core of Connemara. The upscale restaurant at this four-star retreat features fresh seafood and other regional specialties from Ireland.
On the other hand, if you’re in the mood for a lively evening, you won’t pass drinks at the piano bar, where you can listen to traditional Irish tales and songs while you sip a glass of wine. Keep in mind that Abbeyglen Castle is more accurately described as a manor home. Even so, we can’t help but feel like we’re seeing real-life magic.
18. Ballyseede Castle Hotel, County Kerry
Ballyseede Castle is the sole medieval hotel in Kerry, yet it is one of the best in all of Ireland. Lying just off the famous Ring of Kerry path, it is a four-star establishment that successfully blends traditional Irish hospitality with a sophisticated air.
Explore a mesmerizing part of the Wild Atlantic Way and the Ring of Kerry while you surf on the county’s beaches and play golf at one of the area’s many courses. Despite its popularity as a driving route, the mountains within the Ring of Kerry are a great place to escape the ordinary and encounter a more authentic side of Ireland.
The rooms here have a classic old European feel, and the on-site restaurant, O’Connell, has been recognized for its excellent cuisine, ambiance, and wine. Furthermore, this is among the most affordable Irish castles on this list. Thus, it is the ultimate base from which to venture out and see the sights.
17. Cabra Castle Hotel, County Cavan
Cabra Castle is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s finest castle-style accommodations. The history here begins in 1699, but the remains of the ancient castle are still visible today. It was eventually transformed into a stunning four-star hotel surrounded by a one-of-a-kind park with picture-perfect gardens.
Local legend has it that in the 1780s, the young lord of the castle became infatuated with a servant girl named Sarah and that his horrified family killed her, while pregnant, by hanging her from a nearby bridge.
Rumors are claiming that if you listen closely, you may hear the sobbing and lonely screams of a baby somewhere inside the castle walls. Well, life would be quite boring without a little adventure, right?
16. Wilton Castle Hotel, County Wexford
The Wilton Castle Hotel is the place to stay if your fantasy Irish retreat has verdant grounds, imposing towers, and comfortable guest rooms. While it’s not your standard establishment, this castle certainly stands apart from the competition.
There are just four suites available on the property, but they may all be rented independently, making your stay here feel more like a home away from home while still fulfilling your dreams of an Irish fairytale.
The imposing structure has been around since at least 1247 and was once the residence of William de Dene. Over the next 400 years, several families dubbed Wilton home, after whom each of the suites in the castle is named, before it was ultimately purchased by the Alcocks.
15. Clontarf Castle Hotel, County Dublin
Did you know that an ivy-covered Irish castle with majestic towers is nestled just 10 minutes from Dublin’s fashionable downtown area? Clontarf Castle is a captivating, sophisticated, luxury hotel, unmatched in its category and whereabouts.
Therefore, if you wish to visit some of the capital’s most popular sights, such as the Guinness Storehouse and Trinity College, this estate is conveniently located. Or simply explore the charming village of Clontarf. A mesmerizing home with a vibrant crimson door is located a short distance from the hotel and is the place where Bram Stoker, the author of “Dracula,” was born.
Several castles have arisen on this particular spot since 1172. However, the existing Clontarf Castle dates back to 1837 and opened as a four-star establishment in 1997. Exquisite cuisine awaits in the elegant Fahrenheit Restaurant, which is housed within the 12th-century historical walls of the castle.
14. Glenlo Abbey Hotel, County Galway
Passing through the grand cast-iron gates, the Glenlo Abbey Hotel’s outstanding backdrop will immediately fascinate you. The opulent retreat, which rises spectacularly from the placid waters of Lough Corrib, is a place where 18th-century old-world grace and contemporary refinement come together.
There is no more remarkable dining experience than at the on-site Pullman Restaurant, which is housed in two authentic, vintage Orient Express carriages, each with its rich background and unique design. In addition to the exclusive Abbey Movie Theatre, guests can unwind in any of the hotel’s plush reception areas.
Golf, fishing, falconry, and archery are just some of the many outdoor pursuits that may be enjoyed here to make your time in Ireland unforgettable.
13. Gregans Castle Hotel, County Clare
With outstanding views of Galway Bay and an excellent spot atop the distinctive Burren countryside, Gregans Castle is the pinnacle of a luxurious, gourmet, and sustainable getaway in the West of Ireland.
This sanctuary of solace is managed by Simon and Freddie Haden, who, along with their team, offer real Irish hospitality, first-rate inventive cuisine, and attractive rooms free from the interference of TVs. The hotel’s original structure is an 18th-century manor, and its fusion of antique furnishings and contemporary art is simply mind-blowing.
Despite these longstanding accolades, however, the atmosphere here is relaxed and casual without ever sacrificing the highest standards of elegance. Gregans Castle is best described as leisurely and contemplative, with nice furniture, ample space, turf fireplaces, and a cozy vibe. This pleasant ambiance is enhanced by Lady the cat. You will adore it!
12. Kilkea Castle Hotel, County Kildare
Visit Kilkea Castle if you’re in search of a hotel that successfully blends medieval charm with modern amenities. Although it dates back to the 12th century, the estate’s sophisticated luxuries will make you feel like a pampered king or queen the moment you check-in.
Therefore, it is no exaggeration to say that this is one of the finest castle hotels in Ireland, which also features awe-inspiring gardens and a splendid terrace. Golf, archery, horseback riding, falconry, and tennis courts may all be found on the premises, as can one-off activities like 4×4 tours, whiskey and chocolate tasting, or scenic walks.
Guests are also urged to take advantage of the castle’s lazy river while sipping a glass of wine. When the weather permits, you can dine alfresco, and at the weekends you might enjoy afternoon tea in Hermione’s Restaurant. Exciting, sophisticated, and tranquil, Kilkea Castle comes straight from a blockbuster movie.
11. Lough Rynn Castle Estate & Gardens, County Leitrim
Lough Rynn Castle is one of the top hotels in Ireland thanks to its postcard-worthy, slightly isolated setting. This magnificent 4-star venue sits on the bank of Lough Rynn amidst almost 300 acres of fairytale-like old woodlands and scenery.
Despite being equipped with all the latest facilities, it still manages to keep plenty of its original traits and charm. Old open fireplaces, wood-paneled fused glass, beautiful brickwork, and medieval decorations enrich the castle with heritage. The estate is also renowned for its exquisite walled gardens and award-winning cuisine.
You’ll feel like you’ve traveled backward in history, but the high-quality Wi-Fi and comfortable rooms will quickly bring you back into the present. Lough Rynn Castle’s ancient stables and even a pheasantry have been converted into deluxe guest rooms while retaining much of the building’s dream-like character.
10. Lismore Castle Hotel, County Waterford
Before its transformation into a fortress in the 16th century, Lismore Castle served as an abbey. It was renovated in the 1700s into a stronghold in the Gothic style, and it is now the cream of the crop among luxury hotels in southwest Ireland. You can count on a large hall that’s good for banquets, a helpful staff, and an atmosphere that makes you think of a distinguished past.
The estate is nestled in the center of Lismore hamlet, one of those traditionally picturesque Irish communities. In fact, Waterford and the southwest region as a whole provide great value for money, where you can enjoy top-notch hospitality without the humdrum of Ireland’s busier areas, in a place that is fairly unexplored and has some of the country’s finest weather.
9. Castle Leslie Estate, County Monaghan
At Castle Leslie you can anticipate originality because here no two rooms are alike, and each chamber has its own intriguing backstory. One of the few major Irish homes still in the ownership of its founders, the Leslie family, who have lived in the castle since the 1660s, is rumored to connect its ancestry to Attila the Hun.
Set right on the Northern Ireland border, Castle Leslie is a good starting point for touring Westeros or the Mourne Mountains, Lough Neagh, and the Marble Arch Caves, all of which have been included in the filming of “Game of Thrones”. Furthermore, the complex is only a 60-minute drive from Belfast and only 80 minutes from Dublin.
It is one of the best options for a castle hotel in Ireland, thanks to its quirky décor, enchanting grounds, and warm Irish friendliness. Explore the Victorian Treatment Rooms for a revitalizing and relaxing experience, discover one of Europe’s greatest equestrian arenas, indulge in an afternoon tea, or go kayaking; the choice is yours.
8. Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, County Galway
This charming hotel in western Ireland is only 250 years old, which is quite recent for a castle, and it depicts an era when ramparts and stringent security were no longer a must. Therefore, it resembles more of a conventional manor house than a medieval wonder.
One of its best attributes is, without a doubt, its environment, which is set near a salmon-rich river, surrounded by 450 acres of untamed Connemara scenery, and at the feet of the 12 Bens mountain range. Having said that, to fully appreciate your stay at this top hotel in Ireland, you must venture forth into the breathtaking landscape that surrounds the venue.
The hotel provides a myriad of activities that will make your experience here exceptional and unforgettable. In contrast to other establishments, which emphasize traditional activities such as archery and falconry, Ballynahinch uses the power of its location by offering lobster fishing, cycling, game bird hunting, pony riding, and trekking.
7. Kilronan Castle Estate & Spa, County Roscommon
Kilronan Castle, hidden away in Ireland’s traditional countryside, is a charming and undiscovered gem where you might get off the beaten path and find some much-needed peace.
As soon as you set foot inside, the building’s stunning aesthetic will whisk you to a magical land straight out of an Irish legend. We know you’ll want to spend the entire day taking pictures, but you shouldn’t ignore the estate’s many other attractions.
You will find it impossible to spend enough time in the indoor swimming pool, spa, or dining room, all of which are exquisitely designed and furnished to the highest standards. Thus, the Kilronan Castle is the ultimate blend of contemporary conveniences, breathtaking scenery, and gorgeous historical architecture, perfect for your mystical vacation.
6. Castlemartyr Resort, County Cork
If you want to feel like you’re in an Irish “once upon a time” atmosphere while enjoying more of a contemporary high-end retreat, Castlemartyr Resort is a fantastic option. The castle on the premises was constructed in the 13th century by the Knights Templar under the command of Strongbow, also known as Richard Fitz Gilbert.
However, the manor house, which goes back to the 18th century, is a five-star oasis with old-world elegance, which opened its doors to the public in 2008. Since then, it has expanded to include 108 hotel rooms and suites, as well as 36 luxury condominiums.
Even though most of the attractions here are geared toward families, the 220 acres of land are perfect for romantic getaways too. If you don’t believe us, ask Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who spent their honeymoon in Castlemartyr in 2015.
5. Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort, County Waterford
A quick ferry ride from the continent brings you to a secluded private island in the southeast of Ireland, where you may explore one of the country’s lesser-known castles. Since the 16th century, Waterford Castle has existed as a feudal tower residence, previously inhabited by the strong Fitzgerald family.
The present castle, built in the late 1800s, encompasses remnants of the old medieval tower house as well as other subsequent features. The island’s 18-hole, world-class golf course, established by Des Smyth, and the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Munster Room, make it a top attraction for golfers and foodies, respectively.
Spend at least two nights here to experience gourmet meals, afternoon tea, and the scenic wonders of the surrounding area.
4. Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, County Limerick
Set in the picturesque hamlet of Adare, this one-of-a-kind hotel is a grand and opulent estate with a touch of magic. Adare Manor has recently reopened following a lengthy restoration and is now at the same level as Ashford Castle, meaning it has become a strong contender for the title of the best castle hotel in Ireland, if not all of Europe.
During the dreadful famine that ravaged Ireland in the middle of the 1800s, its construction supplied employment for all the nearby villages. Today, situated on an 840-acre estate, it is home to gardens that can easily top the cake as one of the greatest in Europe.
Experience haute cuisine, traditional English afternoon tea, the ultimate in pampering and spa treatments, and horseback riding in a traditional English saddle. The main street of the nearby village of Adare is lined with marvelous restaurants and high-end boutiques, making it a very charming place to visit.
3. Dromoland Castle Hotel, County Clare
Western Ireland is home to some of the world’s finest five-star hotels. One of the best is this 16th-century palace once owned by the Dromoland O’Briens, one of the few royal Gaelic families. Discover the property’s 4,000 acres, practice your archery like in “Game of Thrones”, ride your bike through the slopes or work on your swing at the on-site 18-hole golf course.
Since its reconstruction in the Gothic Revival style, which married opulence with coziness, the castle has seldom changed. Get dressed to impress for an exquisite Irish meal at the Earl of Thomond restaurant (we suggest the tasting menu) and don’t miss out on a late-night snack at the cocktail bar. Tea is also served daily between 1-4 pm.
Dromoland Castle Hotel is one of the top establishments in Ireland, giving its guests a taste of what it must be like to be served like a wealthy noble. You can unwind in elegant, old-style rooms in front of refined fireplaces while gazing up at glittering chandeliers.
2. Lough Eske Castle, a Solís Hotel & Spa, County Donegal
This castle dates back to the late 15th century and is perched on the banks of Lough Eske in the far northwest of Ireland. Nevertheless, the structure that remains today is a combination of the revival made in 1860 and the 2007 reconstruction following a fire.
Although you may never want to escape your room, Lough Eske Castle has many more great amenities. The Oak Bar features a pool table and frequently hosts enjoyable events with fine Irish music. We guarantee you’ll appreciate the Cedars Grill for its lovely terrace and tasty, authentic seafood dishes sourced from the neighboring port of Killybegs.
In addition to the restaurant, there is also a spa with a steam room, a sauna, massage treatments, a cutting-edge fitness center, and a beautiful swimming pool housed in a glass atrium, overlooking the mesmerizing castle grounds.
That being said, Lough Eske Castle is a luxurious paradise, whether you’re searching for an action-packed vacation in beautiful County Donegal or a restful retreat.
1. Ashford Castle Hotel, County Mayo
It’s almost certain that you’ve seen pictures of an amazing old castle set in the lush greenery of an expansive Irish environment at some point in your existence. If so, that place was probably Ashford Castle, nestled in western Ireland and dating back to the peak of the Norman conquest of Ireland during the High Middle Ages, around 1228.
Ashford Castle is widely considered to be one of the finest hotels in the country as it is the very definition of opulence, pampering, and hospitality. Outside, a levee, spires, high watchtowers, and winding gardens establish the mood, while inside, a big dining area, a lakeside drawing room, a library, canopy beds, and Victorian furnishings take things to an even grander level.
After extensive renovation, the former home of the Guinness family is now a high-end place to visit for everyone, but especially for people who like Irish culture, antiques, and castles. During your stay here, you will be greeted, indulged, and treated like an aristocrat in true Downton Abbey fashion. Rest assured, there are a wide variety of activities available for your enjoyment.
If you’re interested in staying at one of these exclusive Irish castle hotels, it’s best to make your reservation as far in advance as possible to ensure availability for your preferred dates. Bear in mind that many of these establishments are used as reception halls and meeting centers.
Many people aspire to sleep in a castle, and though such hotels may not be the most budget-friendly options, they are still within reach of most. Some of the castles on our list are quite extravagant, but others are more reasonable, so you might enjoy a night or two in a genuine Irish fortress and live out your own fantasy.