Ireland is a country full of significant historical evidence. Vikings and the Norman Invasion are just two of the major events and stormy periods in its history. The latter helped define the centuries that followed under English and then British control. The country has at least 30,000 castles, ranging from Medieval homes to late 19th-century mansions, all of which are as fascinating. While some of its castles are in private possession or have been transformed into opulent 5-star hotels, others are accessible to the public after having fallen into dilapidated states. The castle hotels listed below are the best travelers can stay in.
10 Kilkea Castle
The Kilkea Castle, which dates back to the 12th century, is located on a 180-acre estate, an hour from Dublin, with its 18-hole golf course, gardens, and forests. The hotel offers a variety of on-site activities, and visitors can partake in a wellness experience that has been specially crafted with a special menu and personal trainers before relaxing in Kilkea's sizable, opulent spa that carries the ELEMIS brand. There are many lodging options, including rooms, a coach house, lodges, and the complete 11-bedroom castle, which is offered for rent.
- Location: Castledermot, County Kildare, Ireland
- Activities: Archery, Shooting, Water sports, Adventures, A falconry program
- Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, Free Parking
- Rates: from $229
9 Lismore Castle
Lismore Castle is situated on the banks of the River Blackwater in County Waterford and is owned by the family of the Duke of Devonshire. Despite having a long history that dates back to 1170, it was recently refurbished and boasts modern amenities. The castle can accommodate up to 27 guests and is perfect for family get-togethers and intimate weddings. Private staff, under the direction of the butler, who's worked there for over 35 years, attends to guests. The castle also has a theater area, Pugin Banqueting Hall, and a gallery for modern art.
- Location: Lismore, Co. Waterford, Lismore, Co. Waterford, Ireland
- Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, Free Parking, Accommodations with ensuite bathrooms and refined furnishings, Gardens
- Rates: Available on an exclusive basis for private lettings
8 Ballynahinch Castle Hotel
This palatial riverfront manor from the 18th century is an hour from Galway and is situated on a 450-acre property at the base of the stunning Twelve Bens Mountain range. At The Owenmore, which overlooks the river and the estate grounds, visitors can take part in a variety of activities and have a traditional Irish supper. 48 individually designed country-style guest rooms with canopy beds, fireplaces, and river views are available at the castle hotel.
- Location: Recess, Connemara, Recess, Co. Galway, Ireland
- Activities: Salmon fishing, hiking, biking, tennis
- Rates: from $280
7 Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort
A small private island in southeast Ireland off the River Suir is home to a 16th-century Gothic-style castle that can be accessed via a short ferry trip. The castle includes 19 exquisite rooms and suites with claw-foot tubs in the bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, and views of the gardens. It has an 18-hole championship golf course and a restaurant with a Michelin star referred to as The Munster Room.
- Location: The Island, Ballinakill, Co. Waterford, X91 Y722, Ireland
- Activities: Golfing, Clay pigeon shooting, Falconry, Picnics
- Amenities: Free Parking, Free Wi-Fi, Bar/Lounge, Restaurant
- Rates: from $382 per night
6 Kilronan Castle Estate & Spa
Built during the 18th century, these 40 acres of magnificent castle grounds are situated in County Roscommon in the west of Ireland. The hotel offers opulent accommodations with stunning vistas, a sumptuous spa, and superb cuisine at its restaurant. It is the ideal location for weddings, and visitors can select between large, modern amenities-equipped rooms or suites, as well as cottages with living areas and kitchenettes for families and large groups. The Kilronan Mountain Bog national historic site is only a short drive from the castle accommodation.
- Location: Castletenison Demesne, Ballyfarnon, Co. Roscommon, F52 R867, Ireland
- Amenities: Gym, Indoor pool, Conference room, On-site restaurant, Free Parking, Free Wi-Fi
- Rates: from $197
5 Castlemartyr Resort
Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, constructed this manor house in the 17th century. It is situated apart from the remnants of a fortress constructed in 1210 by the Knights Templar. There are staterooms in the renovated manor house and more contemporary rooms with flat-screen TVs, marble baths, rainfall showers, and mini-fridges in the new wing. Living rooms and bedrooms are separated in suites, and some even feature balconies. Visitors can enjoy Italian cuisine at Franchini's and the Bell Tower, as well as afternoon tea while admiring the formal gardens.
- Location: Castlemartyr, Co. Cork, P25 X300, Ireland
- Amenities: Spa, Fitness center, Restaurants, Bar/Lounge, Golf course, Free parking, Free Wi-Fi
- Rates: from $415
4 Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort
This Neo-Gothic hotel and Golf Resort, situated on 840 acres in County Limerick, has 104 recently renovated rooms. A full kitchen is provided in the townhouses and villas on the property, making them family-friendly. Claw-foot tubs, four-poster beds, antique furnishings, and fireplaces are available in the rooms. Additionally, it contains formal gardens, a library, and bike rentals so visitors can explore the local area. It hosts The Oak Room, Limerick's first Michelin-starred restaurant, which offers a fresh menu and stunning grounds from which to savor one's meal.
- Location: Adare, Co. Limerick, V94 W8WR, Ireland
- Amenities: Spa, Indoor pool, Golf course, Library, restaurant, Free Parking, Free Wi-Fi
- Rates: $1,070
3 Lough Eske Castle, a Solís Hotel & Spa
The tranquil Lough Eske and the Blue Stack and Tawnawully Mountains surround the Lough Eske Castle, which dates back to the fourteenth century. With polished rooms decorated with oil paintings and dark wood furnishings, it offers a contemporary edge. The hotel's 96 suites and rooms are all spacious and equipped with soaking tubs, flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and four-poster beds. The hotel features seasonal specials and its accommodations are often more reasonably priced than those at neighboring castle hotels.
- Location: Lough Eske, Donegal, F94 HX59, Ireland
- Amenities: Restaurant, Spa and Fitness center, Indoor pool, Bar/Lounge, Free Parking, Free Wi-Fi
- Rates: from $317
2 Dromoland Castle Hotel
The Dromoland Castle Hotel is located in a magnificent rural setting inside a palace built in the 16th century by the Dromoland O'Briens, the Kings of Thomond. It has an upscale restaurant providing Irish delicacies, exquisite indoor rooms with antique chandeliers and grand staircases, and is located an hour from the famous Cliffs of Moher. Its suites offer four-poster beds and separate sitting rooms, while the hotel's rooms overlook the loch and have traditional furniture, smart TVs, and Wi-Fi. The distance to Shannon International Airport from the hotel is not that far.
- Location: Newmarket on Fergus, Co. Clare, V95 ATD3, Ireland
- Activities: Archery, Falconry, Fishing, Golfing
- Amenities: Spa, Restaurant, Bar/Lounge, Pool, Free Parking, Free Wi-Fi
- Rates: from $870
1 Ashford Castle
The de Burgo family built the Ashford Castle, an impressive building with ramparts, turrets, and watchtowers constructed in the 13th century. This 83-room five-star hotel is one of the top castle hotels in the UK and is situated on 350 acres of woods in County Mayo on Ireland's western coast. Antique rosewood furniture, plush canopy beds, hand-made carpets, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi are all included in the rooms. The Gothic Cong Abbey is about 10 minutes on foot from the castle hotel.
- Location: Ashford Castle Estate, Cong, Co. Mayo, F31 CA48, Ireland
- Activities: Golfing, Boating, Falconry, Ziplining, Clay-shooting, Tennis, Billards
- Amenities: Indoor pool, 9-hole golf course, Tennis courts, Fitness center, Bar/Lounge, Free Parking, Free Wi-Fi
- Rates: from $818