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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Kilkea Castle, originally established in 1180, is located one hour south of Dublin in Castledermot in County Kildare. The castle encompasses a rich, magnificent lineage as the former medieval stronghold of the FitzGerald’s, Earls of Kildare. It is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Ireland.
Inside are beautifully appointed bedrooms and suites. This includes the FitzGerald Suite at the very top of the Castle in the Round Tower. Carriage rooms and self-catering lodges are also available for booking.
Kilkea Castle is a golfer’s paradise and is home to an 18-hole golf course, putting range, shop, and an on-site clubhouse with a bistro.
The culinary offerings at the castle include a diverse reflection Irish cuisine with hints of international inspiration. The cuisine at the resort reflect key relationships Kilkea Castle has with the local farmers and suppliers.
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East End Taste
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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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When in Ireland, an essential resort to stay in with the whole family is Sheen Falls Lodge. Set on the Wild Atlantic Way just outside the town of Kenmare, the resort evokes quintessential Irish hospitality and European luxury. Sheen Falls Lodge has everything you would desire for a five-star resort getaway in the picturesque countryside of southern Ireland.
Sheen Falls Lodge is part of the Relais & Chateaux hotel group. It is renowned for its 2AA Rosette restaurant that serves exquisite cuisine you have to taste to believe. Dining at Sheen Falls should be a top priority for every visit.
Set on the Wild Atlantic Way, outside the town of Kenmare, Co Kerry, Sheen Falls Lodge is an unforgettable base for your Irish holiday, providing the ultimate in hospitality.
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