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15 Of The Most Magical Castle Hotels Ireland Has To Offer

15 Of The Most Magical Castle Hotels Ireland Has To Offer

When it comes to castle hotels Ireland has its fair share.

From luxury stays, like Dromoland, to more pocket-friendly spots, like Waterford Castle, there are castles to stay in Ireland to suit most budgets.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate (very fortunate!) to stay in a good chunk of Irish castle hotels.

Below, you’ll find my favourites.

The best castle hotels in Ireland

best castles to stay in ireland

This guide looks at what I think are the best castle hotels in Ireland – these are places that I have stayed in and loved.

Note: if you book a stay through one of the links below we may make a tiny commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it. 

1. Ballynahinch Castle (Galway)

Ballynahinch Castle

Photos via Ballynahinch Castle on FB

Few castles to stay in Ireland boast a setting as spectacular as Ballynahinch in the Connemara region of Galway.

The hotel is set in a breath-taking 700-acre estate overlooking the salmon fishery and backdropped by the 12 Bens mountain range.

Views, walks and wonderful food are all part of the Ballynahinch experience.

The rooms are spacious, luxurious and decorated to make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time while the communal and dining areas are elegant, comfy and lavish.

Amenities to look forward to

  • 16km of trails on the grounds
  • The Fisherman’s Pub & Ranji Room
  • The Owenmore Restaurant
  • The walled garden
  • Organised picnics

2. Dromoland Castle (Clare)

Dromoland Castle

Photos via Dromoland Castle on FB

The magnificent five-star Dromoland Castle was once the ancestral home of the Dromoland O’Briens, the Kings of Thomand who claimed Brian Boru, the only High King of Ireland, as their ancestor.

Inside the castle you’ll find antique chandeliers, a grand sweeping staircase, ornate fire places and blazing log fires to perch yourself next to.

Enjoy cocktails in the Library Bar and sumptuous food in the Earl of Thomond’s restaurant. You can take a boat out on the lake or try out archery and falconry to experience how people lived here in the centuries gone by.

If you’re looking for the best castle hotels in Ireland to mark a special occasion, you can’t go wrong with the magical Dromoland.

Amenities to look forward to

  • A fitness centre with a pool and gym
  • 450-acres to explore on foot
  • A new spa
  • Luxury dining in the Earl of Thomond
  • An 18-hole 6,824 yards par 72 championship golf course

3. Ashford Castle (Mayo)

Ashford Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Ashford is one of the more famous castle hotels Ireland has to offer. The former home of the Guinness family, Ashford Castle has 83 rooms, suites and the Hideaway Cottage.

Each of the rooms have been extensively refurbished and they beautifully blend the castle’s original features with the latest modern luxuries.

A short walk from Cong Village, you can explore Mayo by day and kick back in a unique and elegant setting by night.

Dine in the George V dining room, named in honour of King George V who visited the castle in 1905. If you’re looking to stay in a castle in Ireland and have a generous budget, Ashford Castle is hard to beat.

Amenities to look forward to

  • Numerous fine dining experiences
  • Several bars
  • A 9-hole, 2996-yard, par 35 parkland course
  • An award-winning spa
  • A range of activities (falconry, fishing, boat rides and more)

4. Lough Eske (Donegal)

Lough Eske Castle

Photos via Lough Eske on FB

Lough Eske Castle Hotel, which was once the seat of the powerful O’Donnell family, is one of the best castle hotels in Ireland for a romantic weekend away.

Built in the mid-19th century, Lough Eske was constructed from stone that was carried to the grounds by Clydesdale horses along specially constructed walkways.

The fairytale experience at Lough Eske begins from the moment you first set eyes upon its impressive facade and, when you step through its doors, it’s easy to see why it is regarded as one of the more authentic Irish castle hotels.

Its awards include castle wedding venue of the year, and the Cedars Restaurant has two AA rosettes for culinary excellence. 

Amenities to look forward to

  • CARA Organic Beauty Spa
  • The cosy Father Browne’s Bar
  • Ancient castle features throughout
  • The twice-awarded AA Rosette Cedars Restaurant

Check prices + see photos

6. Cabra Castle (Cavan)

Cabra Castle

Photos via Cabra Castle on FB

Few castles to stay in Ireland are as overlooked, in our opinion, as Cavan’s Cabra Castle. This is likely due to it being one of several Irish castle hotels that’s arguably better known as a wedding venue.

Set against the backdrop of nearby Dún a Rí Forest Park, Cabra Castle is set on 100 finely manicured acres.

Visitors can expect period features and furnishings, old-world charm and character and top-notch service.

The hotel is another of the more authentic castle hotels Ireland has to offer, and there’s a definite sense of stepping back in time as you wander around it.

If you have an interest in luxury, architecture and Irish history, a stay here will be a very memorable one.

Amenities to look forward to

  • 100 acres to explore
  • The elegant Courtroom Restaurant
  • The Derby Bar

7. Kilkea Castle (Kildare)

Kilkea Castle

Photos via Kilkea Castle on FB

Kilkea Castle is one of the more affordable castle hotels Ireland has to offer. However, while it’s cheaper than those mentioned above, it really does pack a punch.

Located in County Kildare, the recently refurbished Kilkea Castle dates back to the 12th century and offers several different accommodation choices for guests – the castle, carriage or the lodge bedrooms.

If you’re after a bit of R&R, you’re in luck – this is one of a handful of castle hotels in Ireland with an on-site spa! 

The castle has 11 uniquely designed bedrooms—the best of which is the Fitzgerlad Suite in the round tower that offers a 360 degree view of the estate, a marble bathroom and a free-standing bath.

Amenities to look forward to

  • Restaurant 1180 (for fine dining)
  • A spa with 5 treatment rooms
  • The Keep (the castle’s bar)
  • An 18-hole golf course
  • The Bistro (located in the clubhouse)

8. Kilronan Castle (Roscommon)

Kilronan Castle

Photos via Kilronan Castle on FB

Built in the 18th century, Kilronan Castle Estate & Spa can be found in County Roscommon.

You’ll feel like royalty from the minute you land at Kilronan, approaching the hotel through its magnificent medieval gates.

Four-poster beds and antique furniture are standard and executive head chef Daniel Willimont, who has maintained one and two star Michelin restaurants, will dish up a meal to remember in the Douglas Hyde restaurant.

This is regarded as one of the more luxurious castles to stay in Ireland for good reason.

Amenities to look forward to

  • A luxury spa experience
  • On-site woodland walks
  • Fine-dining in the Douglas Hyde Restaurant
  • The old world Drawing Room Bar

9. Ballyseede Castle (Kerry)

Ballyseede Castle

Photos via Ballyseede Castle on FB

Ballyseede Castle in Tralee in Kerry is another of the few affordable castle hotels Ireland has to offer.

Here you’ll relax amongst Doric columns, marble fireplaces and old world charm.

The hotel boasts ancient features, elegant rooms, an award-winning restaurant and a plethora of artefacts dotted throughout the property.

Less than a 30-minute spin from Killarney, where you can kick off the Ring of Kerry, and sat right at the start of the Dingle Peninsula, this is one of the best castle hotels in Ireland when it comes to nearby attractions.

Amenities to look forward to

  • 30 acres of private gardens and woodland
  • 2-star AA Rosette O’Connell Restaurant
  • A chilled setting at Pappy’s Bar

10. Castle Leslie Estate (Monaghan)

Castle Leslie Estate

Photos via Castle Leslie Estate on FB

Castle Leslie Estate is another of the swankier castles to stay in Ireland. It’s situated on 1,000 acres of Irish countryside, complete with ancient woodland and glittering lakes.

It is one of the last Irish castle hotels that’s still in the hands of its founding family, the Leslies, who have lived on the estate since the 1660s.

Castle Leslie is where you go to escape from the hustle and bustle – there are no TVs, radios or minibars in the bedrooms (though there is wi-fi).

Throughout the hotel you’ll discover antique furniture, artefacts and heirlooms.

Amenities to look forward to

  • The Victorian Treatment Rooms Spa
  • 1,000 acres to explore on foot
  • Conor’s Bar & Lounge (the social hub of the Estate)
  • The 2 AA Rosette award-winning Snaffles Restaurant

11. Glenlo Abbey Hotel (Galway)

Glenlo Abbey Hotel

Courtesy Glenlo Abbey Hotel and Estate, Galway

OK, so, Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Galway isn’t exactly a castle, but it has a beautiful exterior and an old worlde charm.

There’s a long, sweeping driveway that leads up to the hotel entrance and the place looks and feels like something from another world.

The best thing about the Glenlo?! The Pullman Dining Experience! Sit down to dinner in the dining carriages, one of which was part of the original Orient Express.

That carriage, Leona, was last used in 1965 as part of Winston Churchill’s funeral cortege and it later played a starring role in the 1874 film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.

Amenities to look forward to

  • The GLO Spa & Wellness Centre
  • Extensive grounds to explore
  • The Pullman carriage restaurant
  • The contemporary Palmers Bar
  • The cosy Oak Cellar Bistro
  • A 9-hole golf course

12. Lough Rynn Castle (Leitrim)

Lough Rynn Castle

Photos via Lough Rynn Castle on FB

Lough Rynn Castle Hotel is the ancestral home of the Clements family and Lord Leitrim. 

Set in 300 acres of idyllic grounds, you can take in the authentic Irish castle experience in the Baronial Hall, stroll the walled garden and enjoy drinks in the John McGahern library.

Outdoor activities on offer nearby include golf, fishing, water sports, cycling, horse riding and more.

Like many of the best castle hotels in Ireland, Lough Rynn is a popular wedding venue—and it’s easy to see why. And unforgettable experience awaits.

Amenities to look forward to

  • The unique Dungeon Bar
  • Fine-dining at the Sandstone Restaurant
  • Countless on-site activities

13. Ballygally Castle (Antrim)

Ballygally Castle

Photos via Ballygally Castle on FB

Few castle hotels in Northern Ireland can go toe-to-toe with the brilliant Ballygally Castle.

Perched on the Causeway Coastal Route, Ballygally Castle is a 17th century castle that overlooks the golden sands of Ballygally Bay and offers visitors views across the Irish Sea.

It is the perfect location for exploring the best of what Northern Ireland has to offer – from the Bushmills Distillery to the Carrickfergus Castle to the countless areas of natural beauty along the Antrim Coast.

Although the exterior of this Irish castle hotel feels medieval, the interior is modern in places. However, each corner of the hotel have subtle features revealing the castles past.

Amenities to look forward to

  • The Garden Restaurant set inside the 17th Century Castle
  • Private dining and themed Afternoon Teas
  • A beautiful seaside setting

14. Waterford Castle Hotel (Waterford)

Waterford Castle Hotel

Photos via Waterford Castle on FB

Waterford Castle is one of then more unique castle hotels in Ireland – it’s set on a private island and it’s accessible via a short crossing on the resort’s private car ferry.

Located in Ireland’s Ancient East, the historic 16th century castle has just 19 bedrooms, which gives the accommodation a more intimate feel in comparison to some larger Irish castle hotels.

There is also an 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course on the island for keen golfers and three and four bedroom self-catering lodges.

There are standard, deluxe and deluxe suits on offer here along with several dining options, like their award-winning fine dining experience in the Munster Room and the castle’s famous afternoon tea.

Amenities to look forward to

  • An 18-hole par 72 golf course
  • Fine-dining at the 2-AA Rosette Munster Room Restaurant
  • On-site activities

15. Wilton Castle (Wexford)

Wilton Castle

Photos via Wilton Castle on FB

You’ll find Wilton Castle on the banks of the Boro River, in County Wexford. The first fortified tower was built on the land in 1247 and the castle’s soaring chimney stacks and turreted towers make for a fabulous setting. 

Expect luxury bedrooms, beautiful, printed wallpaper, high sheen wooden floors, elegant armchairs and dressing tables.

This is one of the better castle hotels in Ireland for groups, as there are deluxe apartments on-site that sleep six.

Amenities to look forward to

  • A fairytale experience
  • Large, well appointed rooms
  • A unique experience if you rent the entire place

Castles to stay in Ireland: Which ones have we missed?

best castle hotels ireland

I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant castles to stay in Ireland from the guide above.

If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!

FAQs about the best castle stays Ireland has to offer

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What is the most unique castle hotel Ireland has to offer?’ to ‘What Irish castle hotels are the fanciest?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What are the best affordable castles to stay in Ireland?

Kilkea Castle, Abbeyglen Castle and Waterford Castle are three great options if you’re looking for affordable castle stays in Ireland that won’t break the bank.

What are the most luxurious Irish castle hotels?

Dromoland Castle, Ashford Castle and Ballynahinch Castle are three of the best castle hotels in Ireland when it comes to luxury.

What is the most unique castle accommodation in Ireland?

This will depend on what you define as ‘unique’. Waterford Castle is located on an island, for example, making it one of the most unique castle hotels Ireland has to offer location-wise.

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Rosanne Fullam

Sunday 2nd of October 2022

As a follow up, I have stayed at Cabra Castle and Glendora Abbey and both are wonderful. We also stayed at Roscommon and while it is luxurious, once you leave the reception area you could be in any fancy hotel. Also found staff there less than welcoming.

Rosanne Fullam

Sunday 2nd of October 2022

Kinitty Castle is wonderful! Have stayed there twice. Also considered to be haunted it is very charming and reasonably priced. In the Slieve Bloom mountain area in Offaly County, I would go back in a second!


Saturday 9th of April 2022

Which castle would have more of a castle feel to it rather than a posh hotel?


Sunday 5th of December 2021

Smithstown Castle (Ballynagowan Castle) in County Clare! :D It's super homely with an authentic/rustique style, most epic huge fireplace I've ever seen. You have the Castle to yourself, sleeps up to 8...and it's the cheapest out there by far...


Sunday 16th of February 2020

What about Belle Isle Castle in Co Fermanagh. Fabulous 17th century castle on a private island.

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