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.
Contact Indagare for assistance planning a trip to an Irish castle property. Our travel specialists can match you to the perfect option and craft a customized itinerary.
The Lavish Grande Dame: Ashford Castle
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
Related: Spotlight: Ashford Castle
The Elegant Family Favorite: Dromoland Castle
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
Related: Top 10: Road Trips
The Remote Retreat: Lough Eske Castle
This 17th-century castle, surrounded by dense forest and manicured gardens, is a luxurious base for exploring County Donegal’s dramatic landscapes, which include plunging sea cliffs, swaths of green hillsides and ancient ruins. The interiors are gracious, with a large oak staircase leading to the castle suites, and the grand common spaces are decorated with brocade furnishings, candelabras and peaked gothic windows.
Vibe: 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
Related: The Top 10: Multigenerational Trips
The Opulent Fairytale: Adare Manor
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
Related: Discovering Ireland’s Majesty
The Exquisite Estate: Ballyfin
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
Related: The Travel Bucket List