There is something magical about sleeping in a castle, surrounded by centuries-old history and royal regalia. In Ireland, the spectacular countryside is graced with brilliantly restored castle properties that fuse sumptuous interiors with 21st-century sophistication. Here, we outline the differences between our four favorite Irish castle hotels—and one very special country estate. These lavish retreats boast five-star amenities, from pampering spas and world-class golf courses to Michelin-starred restaurants and heli-pads, offering a modern-day vision of the royal treatment.
Getting there: Shannon Airport is located on the west coast and receives direct flights from JFK, Newark and Boston Logan. Dublin airport is about 30 minutes outside of Dublin and is accessed by most international hubs.
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This stately fortress, which dates to the 13th century, boasts a fairytale setting on one of Ireland’s largest lakes and extravagant décor of plush red carpets, dark woods and gilded accents. The majestic property offers pampering relaxation as well as a wide range of active pursuits.
Vibe: Opulent, lakefront, old world Best For: Couples, groups of friends or families Rooms to Book: The grand suites overlooking the lake, such as the massive Ronald Reagan suite Amenities: Gourmet restaurant Georges V, Ireland School of Falconry, horseback riding, an 18-hole golf course, a spectacular spa, zip-lining, tennis courts, boating, heli-tours to Cliffs of Moher Location: 1 hr. 45 minutes from Shannon Airport
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Set on the scenic Lake Dromoland, this turreted castle property is a family-friendly favorite with elaborate public spaces and staterooms that embrace a modern aesthetic. While activities abound on property, Ireland’s dramatic coastline—and the iconic Cliffs of Moher—are also within an hour’s drive.
Vibe: Luxurious, traditional, elegant Best for: Families Rooms to Book: The airy and elegant staterooms in the main castle. Amenities: A spa, archery, fishing, clay shooting, canoeing on Lake Dromoland, horseback riding Location: 15 minutes from Shannon Airport
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Historic, secluded, family-friendly Best for: Couples and families Rooms to Book: The four suites in the castle, such as the presidential suite that grants guests private tower access. Amenities: The greenhouse-inspired spa, an indoor pool, the gourmet restaurant, biking, rock-climbing, surfing, kayaking and photography lessons. Location: 1 hour, 20 minutes from Donegal airport
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Boasting a magnificent façade of slender spires, turreted peaks and elegant gothic windows, Adare Manor exudes royal splendor with 800 acres of manicured grounds. Just outside the castle’s gates lies the storybook village of Adare, brimming with quaint shops and pubs.Vibe:
Palatial, luminous, riverside
Best For: Couples, families and experienced golfers Rooms to books: The sophisticated Dunraven staterooms with original gothic windows, lavish marble bathrooms and views over the sprawling estate. Amenities: The La Mer Spa, an indoor pool, the Tom Fazio-designed golf course, a cinema, falconry, archery, proximity to the quaint town of Adare Location: 40 minutes from Shannon Airport
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Though technically not a castle, Ballyfin still conjures visions of palatial opulence—its gold room was inspired by the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. The large country estate offers a range of activities, but the true magic lies in simply relishing the serene natural setting and extravagant interiors.
Vibe: Exquisite, lavish, intimate Best For: Couples Rooms to Book: The gracious suites in the main house that overlook the property’s lake Amenities: The spa and indoor pool, canoeing on the man-made lake, walking or horseback riding around the 600-acre property, falconry lessons Location: 1 hour, 30 minutes from Dublin airport
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We only feature hotels that we can vouch for first-hand. At many of them, Indagare members receive special amenities.Get In Touch