Enchanted castles throughout Ireland provide visitors with a chance to learn about the rich and sordid history of the island. Centuries of culture, famine, war, and peace are perfectly preserved through the various structures that sprinkle the countryside. Whether anthropologists are looking for clues from the past, or newlyweds are seeking the perfect romantic honeymoon destination, Ireland castles offer the best opportunities for everyone. The natural beauty and interesting history of the land simply ooze energy and nostalgia for visitors and local citizens. Savvy entrepreneurs captured the ethnic appeal and cultural pride of historic Irish castles and turned them into luxury resorts without stripping away any of the charm or elegance. These top five luxury castle hotels in Ireland are well worth the trip.
1. Dromoland Castle
The High King of Ireland, Brian Boru, unknowingly instilled a taste for fine architecture and unparalleled recreation in his descendants. The Dromoland Castle was consistently used since the fifth century as a lavish home for the Gaelic Royalty in Ireland. Today, the historic masterpiece represents a five star luxury hotel with an award winning golf course and a host of upscale amenities. Tours of the property offer a chance to relax and take in the history and beauty, which is immaculately mirrored in the pristine lake that adorns the property. Luxurious, romantic, and comfortable, the Dromoland Castle earns every morsel of its favorable reputation. Guests who plan a major event or a quiet weekend will surely enjoy every moment of their visit.
2. Adare Castle
The Adare Manor and Castle provides all the first class service and amenities that any member of a royal family could imagine. The original structure was completed in the early 1800s and served as a home for the Dunraven family for many generations. The sprawling estate still features much of the original stonework, including the elaborate stone bridge, which makes a perfect photo opportunity for guests. Each stateroom is luxuriously designed and furnished with pieces true to the original period. The fine dining, picturesque property, and extravagant amenities make the Adare Castle one of the top picks for golf outings, weddings, holidays, and other special events.
3. Ashford Castle
Founded in 1228, Ashford in Mayo served as a family home that underwent several renovations as it changed hands from one wealthy moniker to the next. From the original smooth to French chateau to the eccentricity of the Guinness family, Ashford Castle naturally adapted to the personalities of its various owners. By 1933, Noel Huggard recognized the potential of the property and established the castle, with all its notable additions, a first class hotel. Soon after, celebrities and wealthy nobles flocked to the palace and a legend was born. Today, the five star resort still features celebrities, but everyone is welcome to tour the property, enjoy a round of golf, hold a wedding reception, and absorb the many spa and dining facilities.
4. Ballynahinch Castle
One of the most notable features about the Ballynahinch Castle is the wilderness setting. Staterooms, courtyards, lobbies, and pubs on the property feature traditional wooden settings and furnishings that are reminiscent of a traditional 15th century Irish country home. Virtually every room has an unforgettable panoramic view and plush amenities. The stylish resort features a host of dining options and is perfect for family activities or romantic getaways. Fishing, sailing, diving, and other water activities are conveniently available on the property for guests who love to commune with nature. Local trails are peaceful and invigorating for hikers and amateur archaeologists. This one of a kind resort has something unique and interesting to offer every visitor.
5. Solis Lough Eske Castle
Located in quaint Donegal, the modernized resort is nestled along the Lough Eske and provides guests with a host of activities for business and pleasure. A state of the art conference center helps guests keep in touch with colleagues and business associates while the many outdoor activities provide a much need breath of fresh air for harried executives and their families. Spacious guestrooms are lavishly designed with comfort in mind. The beautiful property spans nearly 50 acres, and features many different historical landmarks as well as contemporary sculptures. One taste of the food or a moment in the spa will quickly reveal how this gem in the wilderness earned all five starts.
6. Waterford Castle
One of the only deluxe hotels in the South East of Ireland, the magnificent Waterford Castle Hotel sits on a 310 acre private island on the River Suir. The history of the island dates back to between the 6th and 8th centuries when it’s believed to have been home to a Monastic settlement and several artifacts have been found on the island including a carving of a monks head which is now proudly displayed over the main castle entrance. Waterford castle offers no shortage of luxury amenities including a beautiful 18 hole golf course and some of the best dining in Waterford City in the castle’s Munster Room restaurant. Come to Waterford Castle to experience authentic Irish country charm mixed with the luxurious surroundings of the remote private island.