Get inspired and plan your next holiday with these 13 great Irish castles.
The impressive Huntington Castle is an historic gem in County Carlow. With turrets, flags, and sweeping lawns and bedrooms complete with four poster beds and oak panelling, this really is a picture-perfect place.
Stay in the castle itself or in one of the beautiful self-catering properties that adorn the estate. A stroll through the gardens, featuring formal plantings, lakes and champion trees, makes for a truly delightful mid-afternoon stroll.
Lorum Old Rectory
Sitting beneath Mount Leinster in the peaceful valley of the River Barrow, Lorum Old Rectory was built from locally-cut Carlow granite. Renowned for delicious home cooking and beautiful furnishings, Lorum, in Bagnelstown has beautiful gardens for relaxing in nature or a game of family croquet on the immaculate lawn.
It's also home to Celtic Cycling, which runs bespoke cycling tours for couples and small groups throughout the South East. Medieval Kilkenny and picturesque New Ross are within easy reach for action-packed day trips.
The magnificent Roundwood House in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, the oldest mountain range in Europe, is a landmark country house dating back to the 18th century. Fine food, crackling log fires and antique furniture create a cosy atmosphere, and you'll feel like a character in a Jane Austen novel as you select a book from the overflowing shelves in the library. There's cycling, walking, golfing and fishing available for some outdoor adventures.
The five star Ballyfin Demesne, at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains, is a luxury country house hotel. Step into the past with rooms designed to mirror the magical style of the original house. Relax in your own marble bathroom, enjoy indulgent treatments in Ballyfin’s spa, or even take a family boating trip on the lake.
The demesne’s mile-long landscaped driveway and enormous porticoed entrance create a sense of Downton Abbey-style drama, the perfect start to a very special weekend stay.
Just outside the picturesque village of Kinnitty in Offaly lies Kinnitty Castle Hotel. With original features and heritage colours, the regal atmosphere is unforgettable. Recline in your luxurious room and experience the history of the castle brought to life through the high ceilings, opulent fabrics and period furniture.
With 650 acres of parkland and rolling lawns, there's no shortage of activities at this 13th century estate. Enjoy live music, horse-riding, a walk in the grounds or just relax in regal style beside one of the majestic open fires.
Built as a family home in 1734, today you can enjoy a stately break with authentic country house food in Monaghan's Hilton Park. Experience antique four-poster beds and claw-footed, free-standing or look out over the garden for sweeping views of the estate. With 600 acres of woodlands, gardens and lakes you can play croquet, go fishing and even swim in a lake.
Still in the hands of its founding family, the 1,000-acre estate at Castle Leslie in Monaghan is one of the finest castle hotels in Ireland. Each of its heritage bedrooms are decorated with antiques and heirlooms and the drawing rooms in the Castle are full of reminders and stories of the estate’s colourful past.
With its sprawling woodlands, vast lakes, Victorian Treatment Rooms and outdoor hot tub, this luxury hotel is a magical setting for a family holiday or romantic retreat.
The 17th century Viewmount House in Longford is an oasis of atmospheric wood fires, antique furniture and books on Irish literature. The manor retains a stately, historic charm that seamlessly combines with modern design, making it a great destination for a relaxing getaway.
Enjoy touches of luxury like fresh flowers and handmade Irish toiletries or venture outside the estate for coarse and game fishing, and even the chance to fly light aircraft at nearby Abbeyshrule.
Hidden in a tranquil corner of Westmeath, historic Mornington House is surrounded by a charming landscape of rolling hills, ancient forests and scenic waterways. There has been a manor house at Mornington since the 17th century, and today the historic estate welcomes guests with home cooking and charming bedrooms that showcase its glamourous past.
Discover ancient churches, castles and abbeys on the estate or pre-book a round of golf or a boating trip nearby.
West of Enniscorthy, Woodbrook House lies at the base of the Blackstairs Mountains. Recline in the period drawing room, admire the spectacular flying staircase and enjoy delicious, seasonal meals. Dating from the 1770s, Woodbrook House is a favourite base for attendees of Wexford Festival Opera.
Built in 1794, Kilmokea House in Wexford was originally a late Georgian Church of Ireland rectory. Musical guests can enjoy the magnificent grand piano or relax with a range of rejuvenating aromatherapy treatments in the spa.
Get competitive on the croquet lawn or visit the famous bird sanctuary on nearby Great Saltee Island. Kilmokea is at the meeting point of the Three Sister Rivers (the Suir, Nore and Barrow) and boasts an unusual collection of plants from all around the world.
Steeped in history, Collon House in Louth is the perfect destination for some regal relaxation. Antiques and paintings are everywhere, and it's easy to feel you’ve stepped back in time to Georgian Ireland.
Stunning rooms like the Oriel Suite are built for luxury, featuring brocades and embroidery rich enough for royalty. Enjoy home-cooked meals in the opulent dining room after an outing to the nearby Brú na Bóinne prehistoric megalithic sites of Newgrange.
Ballyvolane House in Castlelyons in the historic region of the Munster Blackwater Valley in East Cork, was originally a classical Georgian home, built in 1728 for Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, Sir Richard Pyne. Stay overnight in one of the six large and luxurious bedrooms, complete with views of the gardens and trout lakes, or choose an adventurous 'glamping' experience in charming bell tents from May to September. Ballyvolane has an estate of idyllic landscaped gardens and magnificent parkland.
Live a life of grandeur, if only for a weekend, in one of these incredible castles and country homes. Head over to our Things to do page for even more great ideas for your next weekend getaway.