From luxury five-star hotels to affordable Airbnbs, I’ve got 25 castle hotels in Ireland to suit all tastes and budgets.
There is something magical about staying inside a castle. Perhaps its their fairy-tale like appearance, or the feeling that you have stepped back in time. I recall feeling like royalty when I stayed in a room inside a turret in Dromoland Castle. However, I haven’t stayed in many castle hotels in Ireland, so in order to compile this list I needed some help!
Luckily Sarah Dunne from Teas, Trips & Travels came to the rescue! Sarah has a Facebook and Instagram page where she shares her bucket list adventures and holiday activities at home and abroad. Sarah has stayed in 12 castle hotels in Ireland and has shared her thoughts on these below. I have added some more underneath, so this is the complete list of castle hotels in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Five-Star Castle Hotels in Ireland
1. Ashford Castle, Mayo
The 800 year old 5 star Ashford Castle in Mayo is a little piece of heaven. Awarded the accolade as a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, Ashford castle is undoubtedly one of the best hotels in Ireland. I stayed here last December and was very fortunate to see its gorgeous Christmas décor. At check-in, there was mulled wine, soft drinks and mince pies for every guest.
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This hotel oozes old world elegance, but the absolute highlight here is the wonderful welcoming staff – nothing is out of reach. I stayed in a Lake Corrib room – the best value room, which had all the mod cons like underfloor heating, automatic blinds and Egyptian cotton bedding.
What particularly stood out for me was when I came back to my room from attending the in-house movie in the cinema (The Quiet Man movie of course!), the turndown staff had lit candles on my bath, placed my slippers out and left complimentary chocolates on my pillow.
The two resident Irish Wolfhounds – brothers Cronan’ and Garvan trotted along with their handler into the castle every morning where I was able to take photos with them and pet them.
There are many activities to enjoy on site including Boating, Ziplining, Falconry and Cycling, as well as the Cinema – where popcorn is delivered straight to your chair. A stay at Ashford Castle is truly a royal adventure.
2. Dromoland Castle, Clare
Dromoland Castle has been welcoming guests since the 16th century. There is a feeling of being transported back in time here, where you live like a Lord or Lady in your castle. Check-in was seamless and I was upgraded to a Deluxe room as it was a relatively quiet period.
There are lots of activities to enjoy, including walks around the extensive manicured grounds, cycling, golf, tennis, falconry as well as a luxury Spa. You definitely wont be bored here.
Afternoon Tea here in Dromoland Castle is also one of the best I’ve ever had, Ive had it here several times, most recently was with three of my nieces for a birthday. They sang Happy Birthday and gave her a special birthday cake. They really made her feel like a Princess and I appreciated it so much.
The Spa at Dromoland Castle is also well worth booking into. It comprises of six luxurious treatment rooms and one of the best Relaxation rooms I’ve ever been in. For the ultimate indulgence try the Royal Retreat treatment. it is divine.
3. Lough Eske Castle, Donegal
Lough Eske Castle is steeped in history and romance. Dating back to the 15th century and set within 43 acres of native woodland on the shores of Lough Eske, it certainly has the wow factor. It blends its historic past with contemporary luxury beautifully, and has a luxury spa with a swimming pool for the ultimate relaxing break.
I stayed in a fabulous Deluxe Room which was spacious with elegant oak furniture. The hotel offers a complimentary daily history tour from the main reception area.
Activities at the hotel also include complimentary bike hire, fishing and the on-site Spa – CARA Organic Beauty. The castle grounds are great for exploring the lake and surroundings.
There are various dining options with Cedars Restaurant, The Father Browne Bar and the Gallery Bar. The food was absolutely gorgeous and exceeded expectations. Lough Eske Castle is also renowned for a great Afternoon Tea.
Situated at the Castle gates, is a second accommodation that I haven’t stayed in yet but is on my wish list – the Lake Lodge at Lough Eske. It’s a self catering private secluded hideaway. Guests of the cottage can also avail of the swimming pool, gym and bike hire at the Castle.
Want to see more five-star hotels in Ireland?
Four Star Castle Hotels in Ireland
4. Cabra Castle, Cavan
This 17th Century castle hotel is part of the ‘Romantic Castles of Ireland’ Collection. They have four castle hotels in the Collection, all of which I’ve stayed in and are included in this post.
The driveway up to the castle is breathtaking. The hotel features 105 bedrooms, and I stayed in one of the luxurious Courtyard Rooms, which features original stone walls and high beams. Tip: You can park directly outside your room if you stay in the Courtyard (I wasn’t offered this information by the hotel but I noticed everyone else doing so).
I received a warm, friendly welcome from Claddagh, the resident Irish Wolfhound here. This Castle hotel with all its nooks and crannies, is made for exploring.
5. Kilronan Castle, Roscommon
Kilronan Castle is a beautifully restored 18th Century castle. The hotel welcomes its guests through a set of medieval gates that lead to a meandering driveway. My initial warm reception here continued throughout my stay. A welcome platter and personalised greeting card waited for me in my suite on arrival.
I booked the Tower Suite in the castle tower, which was the largest room I’ve ever stayed in – the Suite spans over two floors. Downstairs has the living area with TV, bookcase and open fire, and the bedroom and bathroom are upstairs. This Suite also has its own dedicated elevator! I felt like Royalty.
The staff were courteous and professional, always aiming to please. From arrival to my departure, Kilronan Castle definitely left a long lasting positive impression on me – a fairy-tale-like stay for sure.
6. Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, Galway
Set in the heart of Connemara, I loved staying in this luxury castle hotel. We received a complimentary (my favourite word), glass of Prosecco, and a history lesson on the hotel after we checked-in. The bedrooms are spacious and full of the character you would expect from this class of hotel.
Abbeyglen Castle hotel even has its own helipad on the grounds, and an actual throne sitting in the doorway entrance! The restaurant serves award winning cuisine, and the hotel has music seven nights a week. There is a pianist playing during dinner in the hotel restaurant, and this music continues to the Castle Bar after dinner.
There are treatment rooms where you can go to relax and unwind, unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to use them myself. The castle is a family run business, with brothers Ronan and Brian providing fabulous service. I have amazing memories from my stay at the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel.
7. Ballyseede Castle, Kerry
The Ballyseede Castle Hotel is also a member of the Romantic castles of Ireland Collection. Ballyseede was actually the first of these four Castle Hotels I stayed in, and because I was so impressed, it was the catalyst for the bookings I made after this to its sister hotels in Louth, Sligo and Cavan.
I felt like I took a step back in time when I checked-in this four-star luxury hotel steeped in history. Ballyseede is a hotel big enough to be luxurious, yet small enough to feel personal. Upon check-in, I was treated with the utmost courtesy and upgraded to the recently upgraded Poets Rooms in the West Wing.
The room as enormous. It contained a huge four poster bed, water, wine, chocolates, chandelier and a beautiful in-room bath. The hotel is situated 0n 30 acres of private gardens and woodland which provides a nice walking path for guests.
You can be guaranteed an unforgettable stay here, and to be made feel like family at Ballyseede Castle Hotel. The Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula are also nearby, so the opportunities for day trips are endless.
8. Lough Rynn Castle, Leitrim
Beautiful Lough Rynn is a restored 19th century castle situated on over 300 acres of land. My bedroom, although small, was one of the prettiest rooms I’ve stayed in, with lovely calming prints. One of the highlights in the castle is the Dungeon Bar downstairs which resembles a cave.
The Sandstone restaurant produced high quality delicious food, and the breakfast was excellent. It was my first time eating Boxty – the Irish potato pancake.
There is a very nice private walled garden and walking trail on the grounds of the hotel, that leads you to the lake with beautiful views. A stay at Lough Rynn is perfect getaway to recharge the batteries.
9. Markree Castle, Sligo
Markree is a 17th Century Castle hotel based on a 500 acre estate in Sligo. I had high expectations as it is a member of the Romantic Castles of Ireland hotels, and once again they were exceeded. Nicholas and Alex really went above and beyond to ensure I had a thoroughly enjoyable stay.
Complimentary Afternoon Tea was included in our stay. This was served in the decadent Gallery Room. It was a full three-tiered afternoon tea of scones, sandwiches and various desserts.
The resident Irish Wolfhound and Queen of the castle, is named Roisin. She is shy, but we were allowed to go for a walk around the grounds accompanied with her handler. She also has her own canine suite in the castle.
I stayed in the bedroom named ‘Terry Wogan’. The bed was huge and very comfortable, and the bathroom contained a beautiful Berkeley sink and Voya toiletries.
Markree is mainly a wedding venue, but they do open for stays midweek throughout the year – I suggest booking early.
A stay here in Markree really does feel like a once in a lifetime experience and offers all the character and atmosphere that one would hope from staying in one of the top castle hotels in Ireland.
10. Belleek Castle, Mayo
If you are looking for a luxury fairytale castle escape, look no further than Belleek Castle. It sits on 200 acres of woods, the largest woodlands in county Mayo. The welcome and attention I received here was all I could hope for.
This hotel is steeped in history and artefacts. There are just 10 bedrooms in the hotel, each individually decorated in opulent romantic style. I had a gorgeous four poster canopy bed in my regal room. The unique Armada bar has woodwork that has been up-cycled from three shipwrecks.
After breakfast the following morning I got a guided tour of the castle and got to see the Marshall Doran Collection in the Belleek Castle museum. Marshall himself was an explorer, sailor and smuggler who restored the castle in the 1960s.
The collection contains some of the finest jurassic fossils, medieval weapons and armour. The tour also takes you through the Tween Deck and the Medieval Banquet Hall which I absolutely fell in love with.
Open log fires, suites of armour and huge chandeliers provide for a dramatic backdrop. Belleek Castle is a wonderful place to treat yourself for a night.
11. Bellingham Castle, Louth
Bellingham is the final castle hotel in the Romantic castles of Ireland Collection that I have stayed in. Bellingham pulled on my heart strings in a major way. They staff are superb here and the service is second to none.
Not one, but two porters helped bring in my luggage to my room, where a personalised plate of chocolates waited for me. During both check-in and check-out, you can avail of complimentary teas, coffees, biscuits and cakes in the Drawing Room.
The walk around the castle grounds is delightful, with a river, waterfall and cute bridges, and romantic seating areas are plentiful. The exclusivity begins when you press the buzzer and give your name at the entrance gates in order for them to open.
A three-course meal was included in my stay and it was delicious. Our stay at Bellingham was flawless. The hotel oozes glamour in a non-pretentious way.
12. Kinnitty Castle Hotel, Offaly
This 4-star hotel hosts 37 distinctively styled ensuite bedrooms. Activities onsite include horse riding, walking paths, archery and tennis courts. I fell under the spell of Kinnitty’s haunting beauty. The food served in the Dungeon Bar was very good and the dim lighting made for a lovely atmosphere.
I stayed here recently and unfortunately the hotel was a little short-staffed in the bar department. They were unable to make cocktails so I had to settle for a different tipple, however, it didn’t tarnish what was an enjoyable stay.
I hope you enjoyed my reviews on some of my favourite castle hotels in Ireland. There are many more castle hotels below that I haven’t stayed in yet, but The Travel Expert has listed them all for you below.
Teas, Trips, Travels
13. Castle Leslie, Monaghan
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Castle Leslie may feel less grand than Ashford or Dromoland Castle, but its relaxed, home-from-home atmosphere is extremely inviting. Castle Leslie is one of the few great Irish castle hotels that still remains in the hands of the founding family, and the hotel is closed over Christmas while the family gather together over the holidays.
If you are fortunate to get married here, (like Sir Paul McCartney and many other celebrities), you take over the whole castle – only you and your guests are allowed to stay. Castle Leslie is often referred to as ‘Europe’s most romantic hotel’ – I can see why.
The lack of a swimming pool could well be the reason it is only given a four-star rating, but for me Castle Leslie is five-star in every other way.
14. Waterford Castle
Although just ten-minutes from Waterford City, Waterford Castle is set on a private island, detached from the mainland. You have to take a two-minute ferry crossing to get on to Waterford Castle’s private 310 acre island resort – so it seems like worlds apart.
The castle boasts elegant rooms and suites but it is also one of the few castle hotels in Ireland that has self-catering lodges on site. I loved the contrast between the old castle and the contemporary lodges. Designed by Paul Costello, the three-bedroom luxury lodges are spacious and are very well equipped.
We had a superb meal in the hotel restaurant but bar food is also available. There is an 18 hole Championship Golf Course, tennis courts and clay Pigeon Shooting on site.
15. Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, Dublin
Overlooking Dublin Bay, I love the location of this hotel. I enjoy walking the family friendly Killiney Hill Walk regularly, and nearby Dalkey’s Vico Baths is a popular bathing spot for sunrise swimming.
Of course you can also take a short Dart ride to Dublin city, or simply relax and enjoy the leisure centre or choice of dining options – this Dublin hotel has it all covered.
16. Kilkea Castle, Kildare
Kilkea Castle is one of the oldest inhabited Castles in Ireland. Whether you chose to stay in one of the Castle bedrooms or one of the self-catering lodges on the grounds, you will have full access to the hotel’s facilities, including the boutique spa with thermal suite, and swimming pool with swim resistant area.
17. Ballynahinch Castle
Ballynahinch Castle has been on my wish list for some time. Its idyllic location in the heart of Connemara, along with the fact that it is one of the finest luxury castle hotels in Ireland, has made me long to stay there.
It is set in a 700 acre estate of woodlands, rivers and gardens and has been welcoming visitors for over 250 years. Some of its long list of awards include: Top 5 Hotels in Ireland by Condé Nast Readers in 2019 and Top 10 Resort Hotels in the UK & Ireland by Travel & Leisure 2019 & 2018.
If you like activity breaks in Ireland, then you will be spoilt for choice here. You can go hiking, fly-fishing or clay shooting all on the grounds of the estate, and with Kylemore Abbey and the Connemara Coast on your doorstep, the possibilities for day trips are endless.
18. Clontarf Castle
Set in an 11th-century castle, this Dublin Hotel is located close to the sea and just 10 minutes from Dublin city centre. It has an award-winning restaurant on-site as well as the popular Knights Bar and Indigo Lounge.
19. Wilton Castle, Wexford
Wilton Castle is beautifully situated on the banks of the river Boro, at the foot of the Blackstairs Mountains. This stunning 13th castle has four self-catering apartments which can be booked separately, or the entire castle can be booked for up to 14 guests.