If you’re in search of the most magical castle hotels Ireland has to offer, you’ve landed in the right place!
In a land well-known for myths, legends and a history full of twists and turns, where better to rest your head than in a fairytale-like castle hotel?!
Luckily, there’s a magical mix of castles to stay in Ireland, ranging from pocket-friendly accommodation to very fancy 5-star-stays.
In the guide below, you’ll find everywhere from the stunning Ballynahinch to the recently refurbished Kilkea. Dive on in!
Castles to stay in Ireland: Some quick need-to-knows before you book
So, I want to start this guide with some quick nuggets of info that are worth reading before you book into any castle hotels in Ireland.
1. Warning: Be very careful when booking
Websites (ourselves included) will use the most appealing photos when showing off Irish castle hotels. However, you won’t necessarily be staying in the exact room you see in guides online – many have several room types. If you book through Booking.com, for example, scroll down to the section that shows you the exact style room you’re booking to avoid disappointment.
2. They don’t have to break the bank
Yes, you can pay an arm and a leg to stay in a castle in Ireland, but you don’t have to. There are many reasonably priced Irish castle hotels that charge a standard rate. Find them in the second section below.
3. Two types of castle stays
You can rent a room in a hotel or you can rent out an entire castle. We go through the former in this guide. For the latter, see our guide to castle Airbnbs in Ireland.
What we think are the best castle hotels Ireland has to offer
The first section of our guide looks at what we think are the best castle hotels in Ireland – these are places that one of our team 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
Ballynahinch Castle Hotel is one of Ireland’s finest luxury castle hotels and it was voted the sixth Best Resort Hotel in in the UK and Ireland by Travel & Leisure and the third in Ireland, according to readers of Conde Nast magazine.
Located in Galway, Ballynahinch is set in a breath-taking private 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.
2. Dromoland Castle
The magnificent five-star Dromoland Castle is tucked away in County Clare where it sits proudly on a lake. It 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 snuggle up 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.
3. Kilkea Castle
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.
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.
This is one of a handful of castle hotels in Ireland with an on-site spa! For dining, there’s Restaurant 1180 (for fine dining), The Keep (the castle’s bar), The Bistro (located in the clubhouse) and Hermione’s Restaurant (also in the clubhouse).
4. Waterford Castle Hotel
Waterford Castle is one of then more unique hotels in this guide – 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 properties.
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.
5. Kilronan Castle
Built in the 18th century, Kilronan Castle Estate & Spa can be found in County Roscommon, a secluded part of the west of Ireland. Right from the start, you’ll feel like royalty, 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 serve you up a dinner to remember in the Douglas Hyde restaurant that uses only local produce and home grown ingredients in the mouth-watering dishes that come out of its kitchen.
The leisure centre has weights, treadmills and a gym studio, as well as the spa where you can indulge in a massage to up the luxury quotient of your stay. This is regarded as one of the more luxurious castles to stay in Ireland for good reason.
6. Ballyseede Castle
Take a proper step back in time at Ballyseede Castle—Doric columns, marble fireplaces and spacious bedrooms await. Room choices vary from superior castle rooms to family rooms and cosy doubles, making a castle hotel stay affordable to all.
Situated in Tralee, County Kerry, breakfast is served in the beautiful Stone Room—eggs, bacon, Irish cheeses, pastries and meats, freshly baked bread, fruit and juice all included in the bumper meal that will set you up for a day’s exploring.
There are numerous accommodation options here, from the castle double to the swanky junior castle suite.
Luxury castles to stay in Ireland where you’ll live like royalty for a night
The second section of our guide to the best castle hotels in Ireland looks at the more luxurious castle stays on offer.
You’ll recognise many of these from our guide to the fanciest 5 star hotels in Ireland. Dive on in!
1. Ashford Castle
Ashford Castle is Ireland’s only Forbes Five Star Hotel and its size, the views, the surrounding estate and the beds big enough to get lost in reflect the luxury on offer.
The former home of the Guinness family, Ashford Castle has 83 rooms, suites and the Hideaway Cottage, all of which have been extensively refurbished, combining the castle’s original features with the latest modern luxuries.
Unique works of art, custom designed carpet and bespoke beds are what to expect when you book a room here. Dine in the George V dining room, named in honour of King George V who visited the castle in 1905. Ashford Castle is regarded as one of the most extravagant castle hotels Ireland has to offer for good reason.
2. Lough Eske
Travel to Donegal Town for a night away with a difference at the beautiful Lough Eske Castle Hotel, which was once the seat of the powerful O’Donnell family. Built in the mid-19th century, Lough Eske’s local stones were carried to the location by Clydesdale horses along specially constructed walkways.
Its awards include castle wedding venue of the year, and the Cedars Restaurant has two AA rosettes for culinary excellence. Should you be inclined, there’s a history tour carried out every day and you can explore the grounds using the complementary bikes provided.
There’s also a spa, beautifully furnished bedrooms and lots of cosy communal areas to kick-back with a book. If you’re looking for the best castle hotels in Ireland for a romantic weekend away, it’s well worth checking out the stunning Lough Eske.
3. Castle Leslie Estate
Castle Leslie Estate in County Monaghan 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 from a proper escape from the hustle and bustle as there are no TVs, radios or minibars in the bedrooms (though there is wi-fi). Admire the beautiful, antique furniture, antiques and heirlooms and the unique bathrooms, some with fabulously large baths where two people can take a bubble-rich soak.
4. Glenlo Abbey Hotel
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.
What’s 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, starring Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall and Sean Connery.
5. Lough Rynn Castle
You’ll find Lough Rynn Castle Hotel in County Leitrim—the ancestral home of the Clements family and Lord Leitrim.
Set in 300 acres of idyllic land, 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.
Pocket-friendly Irish castle hotels
The final section of our guide to the best castle hotels in Ireland looks at the more affordable castle stays on offer.
These are places that offer a magical stay at a much more affordable price than some of the Irish castle hotels above.
1. Abbeyglen Castle
Built in 1832, the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel is in Clifden in Galway and allows the visitor full immersion in the stunning countryside of Connemara. Book in and you will be treated to complimentary bubbles and canapes in the bar before dinner, while the staff entertain and educate you with stories about the hotel’s history.
The restaurant’s “Table D’Hôte” Menu changes daily and Tuesday night is a well-known favourite, Irish night, where you will get to taste the very best of local cuisine.
If you’re looking for the best castle hotels in Ireland that won’t break the bank, Abbeyglen Castle is well worth considering.
2. Clontarf Castle Hotel
While the modernised castle was built in 1837, the area was where the Battle of Clontarf took place in 1014, when Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland fought the Viking and Leinster armies and successfully routed them. There’s been a castle on site since 1172.
The Knights Bar with its polished wooden floors, leather banquettes, upholstered booths and ornate ceiling offers diners the finest in contemporary Irish cuisine.
3. Ballygally Castle
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 and the Game of Thrones coach tour that will take you to the places recognisable from the hugely popular TV series.
Although the exterior of this Irish castle hotel feels medieval, the interior is modern in places, although each corner of the hotel have subtle features revealing the castles past.
4. Wilton Castle
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 fabulous pictures.
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.
5. Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel
Fitzpatrick Castle is one of the more popular castle hotels in Ireland, due to it’s proximity to the historic village of Dalkey, the coastal town of Dun Laoghaire and plenty of other South Dublin attractions. The 18th century four star luxury castle hotel is family owned and run.
There are three restaurants—Pj’s, the pick for a quiet, candle-lit dinner matched perfectly with excellent wines, the Mapas restaurant that specialises in the very best of Irish produce while the Library Cocktail Bar where you go for a delicious afternoon tea.
6. Cabra Castle
And last but by no means least in our guide to the best castle hotels in Ireland is Cabra Castle in Kingscourt in County Cavan. The 17th century Colonel Thomas Cooch was the first owner of the Cabra Estate.
Here, you will find all you might expect from a castle—stone turrets, ivy-clad walls and a staircase to the hotel’s doors that has ‘great wedding pictures’ written all over it. At night, the lights at the front make it a spectacular sight.
Dine in the Court Room on the first floor, where you will receive a commanding view of the gardens and local parkland.
Castles to stay in Ireland: Which ones have we missed?
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 a memorable stay that won’t break the bank.
What are the most luxurious Irish castle hotels?
Dromoland Castle, Ashford Castle and Ballynahinch Castle are hard to beat 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, while Castle Leslie is like something from a Disney movie.
Emma Baird is a lifestyle editor and novelist. She has worked in the communications industry for more than 25 years, and loves animals, the countryside and lingering in a great pub for the food and the craic.