10 Irish Castles To Spend The Night: Top O’ the MorningBy Diana Cook
March is here, and with it comes thoughts of how to best celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Perhaps you plan on knocking back a few Shamrock Shakes before heading to your local pub to commemorate the day. If you really wanted to get elaborate, you should think about bedding down in a real Irish Castle – in Ireland. We’ve found ten castle hotels on the Emerald Isle that will let you do just that.
The history of this castle dates back to 11oo’s but today, the moss covered stone walls conceal very modern appointments. After a €10 million makeover, the interior of this Dublin castle promises to be more “Manhattan or Miami” than Gothic revival. [Clontarf Castle]
Dromoland Castle was the ancestral home of the O’Briens, Barons of Inchiquin, who are one of the few native Gaelic families of royal blood and direct descendants of Brian Boroimhe (Boru) High King of Ireland in the eleventh century. Today it is a five star hotel with health spa and indoor heated pool.
Castle Ballyseede boasts the ‘ghost of landlords past’ as guests you may encounter during your visit. If you dig this kind of thing, make sure your stay is scheduled sometime over the 24th of March. According to castle documents, each year on that date a ghost is known to make its presence felt.
Turin Castle is located in Kilmaine, a small village in County Mayo, Ireland. This tiny castle has 5 bedrooms, sleeping up to a maximum of 12 adults across 5 floors.
Belle Isle Castle
The 17th-century castle, once home to generations of nobles now accommodates intimate groups of up to 14 people. Interiors designed by David Hicks include English and Irish antique furnishings, rattan furniture from the spice island of Cebu, and works by Russian, Irish, and English painters.
Dating back to 1228 and once the estate of the Guinness family, Ashford Castle isn’t for lazy layabouts. The luxurious 5 Star venue first opened as a hotel in 1939 and offers a range of activities including Equestrian, Hunting, Clay Target Shooting, Archery, Lake Fishing, River Fishing and Falconry.
Lough Cutra Castle
The castle itself was built during the Gothic revival period of the 1800s and is situated overlooking the estate’s 1000 acre lake. Originally home to the Viscount Gort, the entertainment at the castle was legendary and past regular visitors included author WB Yeats and Lady Gregory from nearby Coole Park.
Kilkea Castle was built in 1180 and is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Ireland. The immediate builder and the first occupier was one Sir Walter de Riddlesford, a young knight who had accompanied the first invasion party of Anglo/Normans in 1170. Thanks to the recent financial crisis, the castle hotel is now closed down. However, it is and up for lease, sale or rent. According to Irish media reports the asking price for Kilkea Castle and its 145-acre estate is €16 million.
Located in the County of North Clare, Ballynagowan Castle takes its name from beal-atha-an-ghobhan, the mouth of the smith’s ford. Over the years it accommodated many famous characters of Irish history including legendary Irish rebel “Red” Hugh O’Donnell and Maire Rua O’Brien (“The Red Mary”), named after her long red hair, one of the best known characters in Irish tradition.
Ballyportry Castle is a 15th Century Gaelic Tower House. Built by the O’Briens of Lemeneagh Castle, Ballyportry remained occupied through the 16th and 17th centuries before falling into ruin. Acquired in the 1960s by New York architect, Robert Owen Brown, today the Gaelic Tower House of Ballyportry contains six bedrooms and two bathrooms with showers as well as a guest bathroom at the ground floor entrance.