A Guide to Ireland‘s Five-Star Castle Hotels 2019
- Dromoland Castle
- Luttrellstown Castle Resort
- Ashford Castle
- Lough Eske Castle Hotel
- The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens
- Castlemartyr Resort
A Fairytale in County Clare
Location: Newmarket-On-Fergus, County Clare.
Dromoland Castle has ancient roots that date back over a thousand years. It was home to the O’Briens. They are the direct descendants of Brian Boru the High King of Ireland for over 900 years. It survived the Irish War of Independence, at a time when numerous castles and manor houses were destroyed. And today it stands, in the perfect position to explore the Wild Atlantic Way, as one of Ireland’s most luxurious five-star castle hotels.
Only a 20-minute drive from Shannon Airport and with awards that range from ‘Irish Restaurant of the Year’ to ‘Parkland Golf Course of the Year’, Dromoland Castle is also a fairytale destination. Nestled on a 450 acre estate, the castle hotel also offers guests lakeside views, canopied beds and luxurious furnishings. And if you’re looking to get active, then there are a host of activities available, from hiking to horse riding.
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Majesty in Ireland’s Capital
Location: Castleknock, Dublin 15.
Five-star Luttrellstown Castle Resort is very much deserved of its place as one of Ireland’s most luxurious castle hotels. Standing over 600 years old, with Gothic, Baroque and Georgian architectural and design features, this 15th-century castle is also home to a championship golf course. And with its 567 acres of private parkland you’ll be hard-pressed to believe it’s only 20 minutes from Dublin Airport and 30 minutes from Dublin City Centre. It really is an oasis of calm and peacefulness.
From fishing to falconry, there are a number of activities on the resort to keep you entertained. If it’s history knowledge you’re interested in, then there’s the option of a historical tour. And if it’s pop culture that catches your attention, then I’m sure you’ll be interested to know that Princess Grace of Monaco, Fred Astaire and Paul Newman have all stayed in the hotel. And David and Victoria Beckham married there in 1999!
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Leading the Castle Hotels in County Mayo
Location: Cong, County Mayo.
When you visit Ashford Castle you will understand why it is a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. Qualities such as the protection of its surroundings come into play as it lies on the banks of Lake Corrib. Its history stretches from its use as an Anglo-Norman stronghold, through to it becoming the home of the Guinness Family. And, since, becoming one of the most luxurious castle hotels in the world.
At 800 years old, the castle that has been in existence as a hotel since the early 1940s, has been restored, expanded. Extra features, such as the state of the art spa and wine tasting tunnels, have also been added in recent years. It is home to the first School of Falconry in Ireland, the Ashford Equestrian Centre for horse riding and The Lodge for fishing. And it even offers guests the opportunity to an ‘off-road’ experience through its beautiful Connemara landscape!
Fun fact – Director John Ford’s world-renowned ‘The Quiet Man’ was filmed in the village of Cong. And during its production a number of the films stars stayed at Ashford Castle.
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A Woodland Wonder in County Donegal
Location: Donegal Town, County Donegal.
With awards that include ‘Luxury Castle Hotel & Spa of the Year’ and ‘Ulster Wedding Venue of the Year’, Lough Eske Castle Hotel is truly one of Ireland’s most luxurious castle hotels. Originally built in 1474, Lough Eske Castle Hotel is a woodland wonder that stands majestically amongst the beautiful and rugged Donegal landscape. And its history, that could be considered as rugged as the local landscape and perhaps as wild as the nearby Atlantic, includes ownership by the O’Donnell Family, direct descendants of the O’Donnell Clan that founded the town of Donegal.
Whether you’re visiting for a gourmet getaway, a pampering retreat or to discover the beauty of Donegal, you will not be disappointed by the sumptuous surroundings of the hotel and its accommodation. Making the decision between a castle or garden suite might prove the most difficult decision.
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A Historic Getaway in County Kerry
Location: Beaufort, Killarney, County Kerry.
Only a 25-minute drive from Kerry Airport, with a backdrop of the MacGuillicuddy Reeks mountain range, The Dunloe Hotel and Gardens is set on a 64-acre estate that lies on the banks of the River Luane. The 13th-century Dunloe Castle was originally built by the Norman Fitzgeralds in 1215 as a stronghold for Killarney and as a means to control the near by ‘Gap of Dunloe’. Occupied up until the early twentieth century, the castle later fell into disrepair. However, with the help of a Fáilte Ireland conservation grant, the castle was repaired. Nowadays guests and visitors can explore the castle and climb the constructed metal staircases to some amazing battlement views.
Unlike the five-star castle hotels mentioned above, Dunloe Hotel and Gardens leads to Dunloe Castle on the estate, and is not within the castle. However with awards that include ‘Gold Award of Excellence’ and ‘Best Family Friendly Hotel’, this elegant five-star hotel firmly deserves a place on this list of the most luxurious castle hotels in Ireland. Now the decision to make is a room with a balcony or a terrace!
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An Ancient Treasure in County Cork
Location: Castlemartyr, County Cork.
Castlemartyr Castle lies on the grounds of the luxurious five-star Castlemartyr Resort. Its history dates back to 1210 when it was first built by the famous Knights Templar. This was under the leadership of Richard Earl de Clare, better known as Strongbow.
In the following centuries it led a colourful life. It was a seat for the local Seneschal, a gift to Sir Walter Raleigh, and a home for Sir Richard Boyle, the first Earl of Cork. The castle witnessed the Irish Confederates War and the War of Independence. It was still standing when the building of the 17th-century manor house that lies adjacent to it took place. And as the castle lies in picturesque ruins, the beautifully restored and extended manor house is today the main feature of Castlemartyr Resort.
Only a 35-minute drive from Cork Airport and with awards that include ‘Best Golf Restaurant in Muster’ and ‘Resort Hotel of the Year’, Castlemartyr Resort is certainly home to ancient treasures. And although its 103 luxurious five-star rooms might not lie within the castle walls on the estate, it certainly deserves a place on this list of Ireland’s most luxurious castle hotels.