Castles and Manor Houses

The Irish castle extends the romance and magic of the country into the home. For many, the words Irish castle conjures up images of luxurious evenings spent sipping cordials by a peat fire in a great room while ordering turn down service and chocolates for your room. These activities and many more abound in Ireland. However, it is a good idea to know the unique characteristics of castles and great homes before making a reservation.

Ashford Castle, Ireland

The magnificent Ashford Castle, Co. Mayo. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Rambling Travler.

Four or Five-Star Irish Castle Hotel:

With their defending days behind them, most true Irish castle hotels have been repurposed into hotels only within the last few decades. Owners try their best to keep the castle-like charm inside and out while ensuring twenty-first century necessities like indoor plumping and heat.

A four or five-star Irish castle usually has every luxury you’ve ever dreamed of at your fingertips. The service is usually top-notch making you feel like a Lord or Lady every time you visit. Among the many indulgences include slippers and robes next to four-poster beds with marble bathrooms with claw foot tubs, country stables and horseback riding lessons, and of course extravagant restaurants for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Dromoland Castle

Another castle to call home. Dromoland Castle, Co. Clare. Photo courtesy of Flickr user abmiller99.

 

To name a few:

Ballyseede Castle County Kerry

Adare Manor County Limerick

Dromoland Castle County Clare

Abbey Glen County Galway

Ballynahinch Castle County Galway

Ashford Castle County Mayo

Belleek Castle County Mayo

Lough Eske Castle County Donegal

Lough Rynn Castle County Leitrim

Cabra Castle County Cavan

Kilronan Castle County Roscommon

Kinnitty Castle Count Offaly

Castle Durrow County Laois

Contarf Castle County Dublin

Barberstown Castle County Kildare

Waterford Castle County Waterford

Irish Manor Houses

Cahernane House Exterior

The beauty of manor houses. Cahernane House, Killarney, Co. Kerry

While not as grandiose as a true castle, for many visitors of Ireland, an Irish manor house is the perfect balance of luxury and intimacy. These country estates of the rich and famous are transformed into beautiful boutique hotels. With fewer beds and smaller staff than a castle, the manor house forms relationships with each guest often catering to every possible need.

Delicious breakfasts are made to order. Think freshly squeezed apple juice and crepes with just picked berries from the garden. Some manor houses have full service restaurants, but most will at least offer a picnic lunch for exploring the area or a dinner by request.

Irish manor houses may be most appealing because they are often as lavish but less expensive than their castle counterparts. There are many, many to choose from. Ireland’s Blue Book is a good place to start.

Ireland’s Blue Book

3 Star Castle Hotels & Castle Bed & Breakfasts

Townshend Castle

A castle Bed and Breakfast in Co. Cork. Castle Townshend. Photo Courtesy of Flickr user Amanderson2.

Prices for more rustic castles will likely be much less than the 4 or 5 star property. Before booking be sure to speak with the owner, examine the website, and check reviews to be sure it meets your expectations for that castle experience.

Smarmore Castle County Louth

Ross Castle County Meath

Blackwater Castle County Cork

Castle Townshend County Cork

Dungiven Castle County Derry

Killian Castle County Wexford

Rent a Castle/Castle Self-catering

If you wish, you may rent an entire castle. This is a popular option for those traveling with a large group or even those wishing to celebrate their nuptials in Ireland. It can get expensive, but if you have a large enough group or money isn’t an object, renting a castle is a fantastic way to experience Ireland.

A great website to begin searching is Castle Rentals Ireland, which will let you select a castle, manor house or tower by rental type and location. It is not a booking site, but will let you see the variety of options available and tell you how to book with the owners directly.

See also Irish Landmark Trust  for castles other unique accommodation options like lighthouses, tower houses Georgian houses, etc.

Sitting Room

A castle stay comes complete with a lovely sitting room at the end of a long travel day.

Booking

The best way to book an Ireland castle is to book directly from the owner’s website. Be to check their special offers page to see if you can get a better deal. Of course, feel free to phone the castle to talk to the booking manager in person. They may be willing to beat the online offer if you just simply ask.  As always, the more nights you stay, the more likely you will be able to get a discount.

A credit card will be required for down payment. Some will even charge a small portion of the total room cost for security purposes.

Be sure to check their cancellation policy.  If there is some reason you need to change your plans, it is always best to know in advance what kinds of charges you may be facing. All of the 4 and 5 star castles and most manor houses will accept major credit cards. Smaller establishments might want payment in cash (Euros).

Other Helpful Tips

Some castles in Ireland aren’t really castles at all. It is not to say that they aren’t lovely properties to stay in, but you should be aware that marketing can be deceiving. “Castle”  may be in its name just because an abbey or historic ruin is nearby.  Others built recently are constructed to look like a traditional castles, yet have little or no authentic structures.

A few properties have multiple lodging options, like modern additions, to accommodate more guest rooms, amenities, etc. Be sure to indicate the particular room type you want, especially if you would like to stay in a historic castle area and not in a modern addition or a cottage nearby. By simply paying attention, you can avoid a disappointing arrival.

Take advantage of all the services that your Irish castle provides. Hiking or walking tours, fishing, shooting, or falconry. Led by local experts, these opportunities are well-organized and are exceptional memory makers. They may even be free to you as a paying guest.

Note: Infinite Ireland lists castles and other accommodations as a service to our readers. We recommend reading guest reviewed websites such as Trip Advisor to decide quality and suitability for you.

Photo Credits: Dromoland Castle Ashford Castle Castle Townshend