Ballynahinch Castle is in Connemara, just over an hour from Galway City. The surrounding area has beautiful views of the 12 Ben Mountain Range, access to the sea and is in close proximity to local villages.
The historic castle dates back to 1546 when it was built by Donal O’Flaherty, the husband of the infamous Irish Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley. Originally only a small castle, the current building was finished in the 18th century as an inn. Since it’s completion, Ballynahinch Castle has been visited by many honored guests like Ranjitsinhji, Former US President Gerald and Betty Ford, and Irish President Higgins & Mrs. Higgins.
Today, the castle is home to luxury guest rooms in the main house, and Lettery Lodge and Owenmore Cottage for those wanting a private home on property. The estate offers ample space for guests to picnic, fish, and walk over 10 miles of river and lake paths.
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Built in 1832 by John d’Arcy of Clifden Castle, Abbeyglen Castle was leased to the local parish priest and then later bought by the Irish Church Mission Society. For many years, the beautiful castle served as a home for orphans and was supported by local donors. In the 1960’s, after years of abandonment, the castle was purchased and restored to its original glory as a working hotel.
Now, Abbeyglen Castle Hotel is one of the most prestigious hotels in the Connemara area, located just a short 2 minute drive from Clifden center.
The luxury property has comfortable and classic styled rooms and suites, a restaurant, a pub and a spa to kick back and relax. The private grounds are spectacular and offer guests unobstructed views of Clifden Bay and the town center.
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Ashford Castle Dr, Leaf Island, Co. Galway, Ireland
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A stay at the 800 year old Ashford Castle makes you feel like a royal who has stepped back in time. The castle is the former home of the Guinness family. Ashford Castle has had many famous guests over the years including King George V and former President Ronald Reagan.
The 350 acre estate is located on the waterfront in County Mayo, just 27 miles from Galway. The hotel offers amazing views and plenty of space for guests to enjoy time outside.
On-site activities range from horseback riding, fishing, archery, and shooting to cycling, kayaking, and golfing. For those wanting to try one of these classic country activities for the first time, there is no need to worry. Guided tours and lessons are available with the hotel’s trained staff.
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Birr Castle Demesne is located in the small town of Birr in County Offaly, just an hour from Kilkenny. Here you will find rich history dating back to medieval times along with gardens, local wildlife and a science center.
Since the 12th century, the castle has been inhabited by a number of powerful families. In the early 1600’s, James I granted the castle to the Parsons family who lived in the area and controlled much of the land until the 18th century. The area now known as Birr was even called Parsonstown because of the family’s influence.
In the 19th century, William Parsons’ building of the Great Telescope turned the castle into a place of science. Now, visitors can explore the castle’s science center to learn about early photography, engineering and astronomy.
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Blarney Castle is easily one of the most famous castles in Ireland, attracting over 200,000 visitors every year. It is located in the quaint little village of Blarney, just under a 15 minute drive from Cork City. The castle itself dates back to 1446 and was in fact built by one of Ireland’s most notable Chieftains.
At the top of the castle lies the Blarney Stone and legend has it gives those who kiss it ‘the gift of the gab’. Locals will tell you that a witch saved from drowning cast this spell on the stone. To kiss the stone one must lie down, lean back while a staff member holds your legs. Not for the faint-hearted! The castle grounds are just as stunning as the castle itself and other attractions within the grounds include the Wishing Steps, The Witch’s Cave, and the Druid’s Circle.
There are several excellent restaurants in Blarney village including The Lemon Tree and The Square Table. Unfortunately, you cannot stay overnight at Blarney Castle but the 5-star Hayfield Manor is just a 15 minute drive away and is one of the most luxurious hotels in Cork.
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Cahir Castle is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Ireland. Located in Tipperary it is a short trip from the Rock of Cashel.
Cahir village is a unique Medieval town with the astoundingly beautiful Cahir Castle situated on a tiny island in the River Suir. It was built in the 1100s and is one of the largest and best-preserved castles in Ireland.
Cahir was purchased by the State and became a national monument in 1964. The castle was beautifully restored and houses some lovely pieces of medieval furniture. This is one of the largest and most striking of Ireland’s Castles, with features such as a working portcullis, cannons, and beautiful crenelations. The lower levels of Cahir Castle contain a variety of exhibits from Medieval Women to the 1916 Irish Rebellion.
The castle at Cahir was a Butler castle for six hundred years. Until 1650 when Oliver Cromwell arrived and the Butlers surrendered the castle but 12 years later gained control over it again.
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The five star Dromoland Castle dates back to the 16th century, and was the home of the O’Briens of Dromoland. Their ancestor Brian Boru was one of the last High Kings of Ireland, so the castle really is fit for royalty.
The castle is a 30 minute ride from Limerick center, and is an even shorter drive from Shannon International Airport. The location lends itself to amazing activities both on the 450 acre estate and off.
The whole family can take part in archery lessons, tennis, horse drawn carriage rides, and falconry, all offered right on property. A popular option is booking a round of golf at the hotel’s 18-whole championship golf course which wraps around the estate.
The hotel’s landscape also has many trails where you might be able to catch a glimpse of local wildlife like deer, pheasants or ducks.
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Kilkenny Castle was built in 1195 in Kilkenny in the South of Ireland for defense purposes after the Norman invasion. Initially, it was done out of wood and later on rebuilt in stone. It was owned by Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, and passed to his descendants. In 1391 the Castle was bought by the Butler family and remained in the family until 1967 when they sold it to the Castle Restoration Committee for a symbolic value of £50.
Despite having several misfortunes, being abandoned until becoming completely run down, Kilkenny castle is still one of the most famous landmarks in Ireland. It is restored and made into a museum that is possible to visit with a guided tour. The castle is impressive, decorated in a Victorian style, with a remarkable collection of paintings. Several of its rooms are stunning, like the three reception rooms, the Ante Room, the library, and the drawing-room. It is well worth the visit, plus it is a good opportunity to learn about Ireland’s history.
Kilkenny Castle is about 1h30 from Dublin, thus perfectly located for a nice day trip from the Irish capital. You can easily reach Kilkenny by car or public transportation.
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Lough Eske Castle in Co. Donegal sits on the edge of Lough Eske and near the beautiful Bluestack Mountains. The 5-star hotel is built in the restored ruins of a castle dating back to the 17th century.
It was originally associated with the O’Donnell clan, famous around Donegal, but it has changed hands many times over the years. It operated as a hotel in the early 1900s before a fire in 1939 reduced it to charred remains. In 2007, it reopened as a 5-star hotel and spa.
Lough Eske Castle is just a 10-minute drive from Donegal town center and is just over a 3-hour drive from Dublin. While visitors can enjoy dining in the award-winning Cedars Restaurant in Lough Eske Castle you can also make the short drive to Donegal Town to try the Olde Castle Bar & Red Hugh’s Restaurant or the Blueberry Tea Room and Restaurant.
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If you are looking for one castle to visit in Dublin, it should be Malahide Castle. Imposing and romantic at the same time, it’s tour is a walk through 800 years of history. Throughout nearly all that time the Talbot family called the castle home. Its founder Richard Talbot had been a knight of Henry II, and received the lands in repayment.
A visit to Malahide Castle will take you on a tour throughout the entire castle. Most of the decor is Victorian. Rooms that are particularly stunning are the Great Hall, Oak Room, and Drawing Room. Outside the castle, there are a vast range of walks, and more attractions in the botanical garden and butterfly house.
Malahide Castle is found in north Dublin in the pretty seaside town of Malahide. It is located about 20 minutes from the city center using Dublin’s light rail system, the DART. The town is famous locally for its restaurants and seafood, but the Avoca restaurant in the castle is as far as you’ll need to go for a great lunch.
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Just 20 minutes from Sligo, you will be able to find Markee Castle located right on the Wild Atlantic Way. The 17th century castle was won by the Cooper family in 1662, soon becoming one of the largest landowning families in all of Ireland. The castle was owned by the Copper family until the 1980’s when it was sold and transformed into the Markree Castle hotel.
Markree Castle has become an elegant wedding venue and vacation destination. Filled with charming luxury bedrooms, the castle also offers unique private suites and a cottage called The Potting Shed. On property you will also find a classic dining area serving dinner, and traditional Sunday lunch and afternoon tea.
The 500-acre property has endless space to explore on your own or during hotel activities like Hawk Walks or stand up paddle boarding. Sligo is known as the surfing capital of Ireland, so it is the perfect place to book lessons.
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Inside Killarney National Park on the edge of Lough Leane, you will find the picturesque Ross Castle. It’s believed to have been built in the late 15th century by one of the O’Donoghue Ross chieftains.
According to a local legend, O’Donoghue still sleeps deep under the waters of Lough Leane. Every seven years on the morning of May 1st, he rises from the lough on a white horse. Catch a glimpse of him and you will have good fortune for the rest of your life.
The castle is furnished in the style of the 16th and 17th century and guided tours are available from March to November. While you can’t spend the night at Ross Castle, you can get a luxurious experience at the nearby Killarney Royal Hotel. The hotel has been in the Scaly family for more than three generations.
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Located in the Boyne Valley of County Meath, the Slane Castle has been the Conyngham family home since 1703. The castle is just down the river from the site of the historic battle of Boyne and is rich with its own history. The current generations’ great-great-great-great grandmother, Elizabeth, lived in the castle during her famous romance with King George IV. There is still the King’s Room where he was known to stay when in residence.
An hour outside of Dublin, the castle is the perfect place to stop for a guided castle tour or for a visit to their on-property distillery. Here, you will have the chance to taste test the castle’s signature triple cask blend, Slane Whiskey.
Slane Castle has, in its recent history, become a popular venue for famous bands to perform. Their outdoor space has hosted concerts for artists like Metallica, David Bowie, Queen and the Rolling Stones. U2 has returned to the castle three times to perform.
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Actons Hotel Kinsale is located right in the heart of the town on the banks of its stunning Harbour. A great majority of the many fantastic attractions are situated just a short distance on foot or by car.
Established in 1946, Actons Hotel is the oldest luxury boutique-style hotel in Kinsale. With a complete refurbishment in 2018, Actons is also one of the most modern hotels in town.
This 4-star destination comprises of 77 beautiful guest bedrooms and suites, an extensive leisure club with a large indoor swimming pool, and a bar and garden lounge overlooking Kinsale Harbour. The Harbour also serves as a beautiful backdrop for weddings in Cork.
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Voted No 1 Boutique Hotel in Ireland in two of the last three years, The Blue Haven is a stylish nautical boutique hotel, located in the heart of the famous heritage culinary town of Kinsale.
The gorgeous building, which dates back to the late 1800’s is home to 16 guest rooms and the Blue Haven Suite. On the main floor, guests can find one of Ireland’s top rated seafood spots. Take a seat at the upscale Bar & Bistro, Hamlets Gastro garden or try the new culinary and cocktail experience called Rare, all located onsite.
Dishes at all of the dining locations combine provincial seasonal produce and fresh seafood from local shores. Meals are carefully prepared by a team of amazing international chefs lead by Meeran Manzoor formerly of the Dorchester London.
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A mere 25 minutes from the heart of Kinsale, the 4-star Carrigaline Court Hotel boasts more than 90 guestrooms. Located in Carrigaline, the hotel is just a short drive from Cork City, Cork Airport and Cork Harbour as well.
The recently modernized boutique Irish run property was opened by the Collins family over 21 years ago. At the on property Collins Bar, it is not uncommon to mingle with locals and receive a warm Irish welcome. In addition to their pub style bar, guests can find fine dining at the Bistro and traditional Afternoon Tea in the lobby area.
The hotel’s prime location makes it easily accessible to the start of the Wild Atlantic Way and Irelands Ancient East tourism trails. Guests can also enjoy access to the hotel’s leisure centre complete with 20m pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and gym.
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1 Church Bay Rd, The Orchard, Crosshaven, Co. Cork, P43 YN80, Ireland
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Established in 1759, Crosshaven House is a private and elegant eighteenth century country house set in the picturesque village of Crosshaven. It is where the spaciousness and elegance of the Georgian age is combined with the comforts of modern living. Located on the shores of Cork Harbour, it is within a 30 minute drive of Kinsale and Cork Airport
Crosshaven House is rented on a private hire basis so guests have full exclusivity during their stay. The spacious and elegant reception rooms are complimented by 5 luxurious suites on the upper floors. These suites accommodate upwards of 12 guests. With plenty of spacious guest rooms, Crosshaven House offers the perfect option for family vacations, multi-generational stays or a group of friends having a once in a lifetime trip to Ireland.
Separately available is the bohemian semi basement, 51 Degrees North. Here, three nautical New England style dorms accommodate upwards of 14 guests. Guests can enjoy the private 9 seater cinema and sauna along with the well appointed country style kitchen.
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Situated on the waterfront in picturesque Glengarriff village is Eccles Hotel & Spa, the only 4 star hotel in Glengarriff. Witness stunning panoramic views of Bantry Bay on West Cork’s Wild Atlantic Way. Glengarriff Harbor, with its boats to the famous gardens on Garinish Island, and the village center with quaint craft shops, cafes and pubs are just a two-minute stroll away.
Guests can make the most of their time at Eccles Hotel & Spa in the scenic surroundings of West Cork by sea kayaking in Glengarriff Bay, going for a hike up to Mount Gabriel or even
scuba-diving to discover what’s beneath the surface of Bantry Bay.
The mid-18th century property includes wellness spa and stunning cliff-top outdoor thermal area. Many of the original features are still in place including its iconic Victorian metalwork facade with a sweeping balcony. In addition, the original fireplaces have been beautifully restored, retaining its rich history and unique charm.
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Hayfield Manor was built in the 1920’s and was later transformed into a 5-star hotel in 1996 by the Scally family. Each of the 88 rooms is individually designed and furnished. This individuality ensures guests are able to experience the charm of a grand manor house.
A 30 minute drive north of Kinsale, Hayfield Manor is located within the historic university quarter of Cork. Many attractions including St. Patrick’s Street and the shopping district are within a 15 minute walk from the hotel’s 2 acre property.
Onsite, there are are a great deal of dining options to choose from, including two award winning eateries. Perrotts Garden Bistro is the hotel’s popular casual dining venue with a menu inspired by world food trends and the best local produce. Hayfield Manor’s dramatic and glamorous signature restaurant, Orchids, features the finest in contemporary Irish cuisine. The Manor Bar is the perfect pub style spot to enjoy a pint without having the leave the hotel.
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The Kingsley Hotel & Spa is a luxury 4-star hotel located just a stone’s throw from Cork City, 30 minutes from Kinsale. Set in a stylish and distinctive location, the hotel boasts 131 elegant spacious guest rooms, each of which exude a sense of modernity with a hint of old-world luxury.
Overlooking River Lee, the K Lounge is a great place to enjoy a light lunch or classic Afternoon Tea right in the hotel. For a cozy spot, the Fishers Bar offers a large selection of Irish beers and whiskeys or even more local range of Corkonian brews. Try some of the hotel’s other eateries like The Springboard and Fairbanks Restaurant for more award-winning food.
To read more about the Kingsley Hotel and to find more or the best luxury hotels in Kinsale, head to our website: https://eastendtastemagazine.com/the-best-luxury-hotels-in-kinsale/