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Plan a stay in one of Ireland’s castle hotels
Nicola BradyNicola Brady is a travel writer based in Dublin. She writes regularly for the Irish Independent, The Irish Times and Condé Nast Traveller, and has contributed to books on Dublin and Ireland for DK Eyewitness.
There are more than 30,000 castles in Ireland, from tiny crumbling towers to sprawling country piles. And the best way to experience one of these historic structures is by spending the night. There are plenty of castle hotels across the country, whether you want to sleep in your very own private tower or treat yourself to a lavish break in a five-star property.

Here are some of the best places to stay when you want to feel like royalty.


Ashford Castle Hotel 

When it comes to regal stays in Ireland, Ashford Castle may just take the crown. It ticks all the boxes, with a history going back 800 years, luxurious touches like silk wallpaper and four poster beds in the rooms, and a sprawling country estate where you can try your hand at falconry or archery - as well as cycling, golf and boat trips on Lough Corrib. Inside, it’s easy to feel like royalty, whether you’re lounging on a Chesterfield sofa in the billiards room or dining under crystal chandeliers in the George V restaurant. And come morning, you can meet the castle’s resident Irish wolfhounds to take them on a walk around the grounds.  

Aerial view of Ashford Castle in Mayo
Rest like royalty at Ashford Castle.

Belleek Castle

It’s the eccentricities that make a stay at Belleek Castle stand out. Where else could you try on medieval armoury, or get up close and personal with Jurassic fossils? The in-house collection is the work of Marshall Doran, who bought the castle in 1961 and filled it with his treasures – the bar features remnants of the Spanish Armada shipwreck and Grace O’Malley’s bed is in the basement museum. The 16 bedrooms are more subdued in style, with antique furniture and period finishes, and the courtyard café is a popular spot among locals walking the estate – they do a great steak sandwich, too. 

Exterior image of Belleek Castle in Ballina, Co Mayo
Take a closer look at ancient fossils at Belleek Castle.


Ballynahinch Castle Hotel

The best view of Ballynahinch Castle is from the riverside walk, where the 18th century building rises above the Owenmore and is, on a clear day, perfectly mirrored in the water. In fairness though, the views are pretty good from inside the castle too, particularly if you snag a window table at breakfast, where you can enjoy the Connemara landscape alongside your freshly carved ham. When you’re not lounging by the fires or tucking into food by renowned head chef Danni Barry (formerly of the Michelin-starred Eipic in Belfast), there are acres of grounds to explore – borrow some wellies from the boot room and take a walk along the lakeside trails. 

Ballynahinch Castle in Galway
Immerse yourself in Connemara's landscape at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel.

Abbeyglen Castle Hotel

If you’re partial to a spot of dinner time entertainment, the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel is a great shout. There are often impromptu music sessions in the piano bar, and there’s a pianist tinkling away on a Steinway during dinner. In fact, the ‘singing chef’ Pat Catney may even come out of the kitchen to sing a few ballads between courses. The rooms are cosy and traditional, and some have great views out over the Connemara hills or the various towers and turrets of the 19th century castle. 


Dromoland Castle Hotel

If you’re looking for historical clout, Dromoland Castle has it in spades. This is the ancestral home of the O’Briens of Dromoland, whose lineage dates all the way back to Brian Boru. While the original stronghold was built in 1014, the castle as we see it today dates back to the 16th century when it was rebuilt by Murrough, 57th King of Thomond (after he surrendered his royalty to King Henry VII). There are plenty of country pursuits to keep you occupied on the 500-acre estate, from trout fishing and stand-up paddle boarding on the lake to sessions in the spa. The rooms are light and airy, and some have beautiful views out over the lough.   

Aerial view of Dromoland Castle in Clare
Try stand-up paddle boarding at Dromoland Castle Hotel.


Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort

Despite its gothic towers and limestone gargoyles, Adare Manor isn’t technically a castle. But it sure feels like one when you step inside the entrance hall, with its huge stone archways and glossy wood panelled walls. While the room is impressive, the interiors are just as striking in the Gallery, where guests take afternoon tea beneath a vaulted ceiling inspired by Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, or in the Michelin-starred Oak Room, with arched stone windows and oversized fireplaces. Guestrooms feature the softest linens and the fanciest amenities – it’s hard to imagine that the ancient nobility could ever have slept in more luxurious surroundings. When you need to burn off some steam, you can head to The Padel Club for a game, a swim, or a spin on a Peloton bike. There’s also a world-class 18-hole golf course, which is one of the very best in the country and host of the Ryder Cup in 2027. 

Adare Manor in Limerick
Enjoy a bounty of relaxing activities at Adare Manor.


Ballyseede Castle Hotel

As with all the best castle stays, the drive up to the entrance at Ballyseede Castle Hotel is impressive, with oak trees lining the driveway before you reach the 16th century structure, covered with thick green ivy. Inside, there are 39 bedrooms, some of which have roll-top baths and four poster beds. There’s a strong period feel in the drawing rooms too, where you can play a game of chess by the piano or sip a cocktail in Pappys Bar. It’s the only castle hotel in Kerry, and just a 10-minute drive from Tralee. 

Aerial view of Ballyseede Castle in Kerry

Photo credit: @ballyseedecastle

Retire for the night in one of Ballyseede Castle's luxurious four poster beds.


Annes Grove

What’s better than staying in a castle hotel? Why, staying in your very own castle, of course. Annes Grove is a miniature castle run by the Irish Landmark Trust that sleeps only two people, with a medieval spiral stone staircase, gothic windows and a fireplace to keep things cosy. There’s a full kitchen for whipping up meals and it’s on the grounds of Annes Grove Estate and Gardens, so you can explore the botanical gardens when they’re open during the summer months.  


Waterford Castle Hotel and Golf Resort

As the crow flies, Waterford Castle isn’t too far from the city itself. But as it’s on its own private island, it feels more like a remote fortress. Accessible via a short car ferry ride, the 16th century castle has only 19 bedrooms but 310 acres of woodland to explore, along with a full golf course, tennis courts and clay pigeon shooting range. If you want a bit more space, there are self-catering lodges on the island as well.  

Inside Waterford Castle Hotel in County Waterford
Cosy up in the 16th century drawing rooms of Waterford Castle.


Castle Durrow

The rambling country pile at Castle Durrow is proper ‘Lord of the Manor’ territory. There are 50 acres of beautiful gardens (established three centuries ago by the aptly named Flower family), where they grow much of the produce for Coopers restaurant – walk around in the morning and you may see the head chef selecting his daily ingredients. The botanical theme continues inside, with heritage floral wallpaper in the bedrooms and courtyard rooms set right in the rose gardens, where hundreds of hand-selected varieties grow. Otherwise, the majority of the 46 bedrooms are within the 300-year-old castle.  


Castle Leslie Estate

Who says that all castles should look the same? In Castle Leslie, anything goes – you might find a disco ball in the bathroom, or a toilet that looks like a throne. This is one of the few castles in Ireland still run by its founding family – the Leslie clan has lived on the estate since the 1660s. You can sleep in the lodge or the mews but the 21 rooms in the castle itself have the most character, each decorated in a unique style – some have standalone copper bath tubs, another has a full bathroom hidden in a giant doll’s house.  

Castle Leslie Estate in Monaghan
Explore the home of the historic Leslie clan.


Cabra Castle Hotel

If you want your castle hotel to feel like a fairytale dwelling, then Cabra Castle is the one to opt for. All the storybook elements are in place, from the thick stone fireplaces inside to the arrow slips on the exterior. While the castle rooms have a more traditional style, those in the courtyard have a quirky feel thanks to the exposed wooden beams and low set windows. It’s set on 100 acres of parkland on the doorstep of Dún a Rí Forest Park, so don’t forget your walking boots.  

Exterior view of Cabra Castle in Cavan

Photo credit: @cabracastlehotel

Chill out in the courtyard at Cabra Castle.


Lough Rynn Castle

On a lakeside estate in south Leitrim, Lough Rynn Castle was once home to earls and viscounts, but is now a swish hotel with 44 bedrooms and 300 acres of countryside. Inside, there are plenty of cosy spaces where you can lounge for a while – try the John McGahern Library, named after the Leitrim author, or the grand Baronial Hall, with a giant fireplace and plush velvet sofas. Outside, the walled gardens make for a lovely stroll but also provide much of the produce for the Sandstone Restaurant. 


Kilronan Castle Estate and Spa

While the name comes from ‘Cill Ronain’, the 6th-century Ronan’s Abbey that once occupied this spot, the Kilronan Castle we see today dates back to the early 1800s, when Colonel King-Tenison built a home for him and his bride. After a period of deterioration (the roof was even removed in the 1950s) refurbishment began in 2004, bringing the antique fixtures and paintings back to their former glory. Now, you’ll find an excellent fine-dining restaurant, plush drawing room and an expansive spa, with numerous steam rooms, saunas and hot tubs in an underground, candlelit space.    


Lough Eske Castle

With views of the Bluestack Mountains and woodland trails that lead you round the shores of the lake, Lough Eske Castle is a scenic spot for a Donegal getaway. The castle itself is pretty easy on the eyes, too – carved from sandy coloured local stone, the current building dates back to 1861 and they’ve been entertaining guests ever since. The spa is a particular highlight, set in the Victorian glasshouse so you can enjoy the view over the gardens as you swim in the pool or soak in the hot tub. Try for a room in the original building if you want the more authentic castle feel or book the self-contained Lake Lodge for incredible views over the water. 

Lough Eske Castle Hotel in Donegal
Go on a Donegal getaway to Lough Eske Castle.


Tubbrid Castle

Standing in the middle of a field in the Kilkenny countryside, the tower of Tubbrid Castle certainly makes an impression. But while the exterior hasn’t changed much since it was built in the 15th century, the interior was artfully restored after decades of lying empty. It’s now available for exclusive hire, with three bedrooms kitted out with custom canopy beds, an oversized bath looking out over the trees and a thick oak table for banquets (AKA dinner). And despite the original exposed stone walls, it’s all kept remarkably cosy, thanks to the underfloor heating.  

A room at Tubbrid Castle Hotel in Kilkenny

Photo credit: @tubbridcastle

Enjoy a peaceful night in one of the carefully restored rooms of Tubbrid Castle.


Clontarf Castle Hotel

It’s barely a 15-minute drive from the middle of Dublin but Clontarf Castle looks like a proper countryside escape. Pull into the grounds and you’ll see the original tower and turrets, which blend seamlessly into the newer build, along with a glass addition that brings a bit of light to the lobby. The medieval vibes continue in the Knights Bar and Fahrenheit Restaurant, with wooden beams, stained glass windows and intricately carved wood. The rooms are more modern in style, but some have heritage nods like canopy beds or ornate gold mirrors.  

The Knight's Bar in Clontarf Castle in County Dublin
Grab a drink in the Knight's Bar in Clontarf Castle.

Fitzpatrick Castle Dublin Hotel

With a prime location on Killiney Hill, Fitzpatrick Castle has a great view of the sea as you make your way up the drive. The Fitzpatrick family have been running things for three generations, though the building was built in 1740 – for a spell in the 1800s it was known as Killiney Castle. There’s an indoor swimming pool and a timetable of workout classes, as well as a new Padel court. There are 113 bedrooms in total, some with balconies overlooking Dublin Bay, and it’s an easy stroll to Killiney Hill for even better views over what’s known as the “Amalfi coast of Ireland”.  


Kilkea Castle Estate and Golf Club

Just outside Castledermot in Kildare, Kilkea Castle was originally built in 1180 by Hugh de Lacy for the Norman knight Walter de Riddlesford, making it the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Ireland. It’s changed a little since the early days – the knights didn’t have a state of the art thermal suite or golf course – but you can still pay homage to the history with a spot of falconry or a horse ride through the grounds. There are 11 rooms in the castle itself, the finest being the FitzGerald Suite with a freestanding bath and panoramic views of the estate.   


Huntington Castle

A grand castle hotel is all well and good, but sometimes you want to stay in a place that feels a bit more intimate. Huntington Castle has been a family home since the 17th century and they have several B&B rooms within the castle, along with a gate lodge, cottage and self-catering apartment in the Esmonde Wing. The bedrooms are all homely and plush, with embroidered quilts on the bed, antique furniture and historical paintings on the wall. Downstairs, there’s a tapestry room with Aubusson French tapestries and a conservatory with grape vines draped across the ceiling. There’s even a temple deep in the dungeons, dedicated to the ‘divine feminine’.

Aerial view of Huntington Castle in Carlow
Explore the impressive grounds of Huntington Castle.


Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa

The Cromwellian invasion wiped out the original castle on the Dunboyne Estate, but the building that replaced it has stood on this spot since 1764. Ownership has passed through many families since then, but it became a hotel in 2006 after a lengthy refurbishment. It’s more modern in style than other castle hotels, so the aesthetics will suit those who prefer a more minimalist look. There’s only one bedroom in the original Georgian House, the Synolda Suite, which occupies the entire top floor and has a four-poster bed and huge bathroom.  


Kinnitty Castle Hotel

The land at Kinnitty Castle has seen many different iterations over the centuries, from the original castle destroyed by Murtagh O’Brien in 1209 to the present building that popped up in in 1630 (but was rebuilt in 1811 and then again in 1927). Things settled down a little when it became a luxury hotel in 1994, unless you happen to bump into the resident ghost in the hallway, that is. The 37 bedrooms inside the castle have exposed stone walls, low ceilings and original floorboards, all of which add to the medieval atmosphere. And when it’s time for a post-dinner tipple, you can sip a glass of the estate’s own Kinnitty Castle Irish Whiskey – for added effect, do a tasting in the dungeon.  

Settle in to Kinnitty Castle.
Settle in to Kinnitty Castle.
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Coastal escapes8 sustainable places to stay in Ireland

Sustainability has never been as important as it is right now. Whether you’re installing solar panels at home or planting bee-friendly flowers in the garden, living responsibly is something that a lot of people are prioritising. But you don’t need to abandon your eco principles when you’re checking into a hotel. All around Ireland, there are properties who’ve embarked on the sustainability journey, utilising green technologies, reducing their emissions and growing their own food – and receiving accreditations from sustainability bodies for their efforts. And while a lot of these actions take place behind the scenes, there are plenty of sustainability drives that make your stay a whole lot more pleasant, like wildflower gardens, free bike hires and even ‘green’ discounts.

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