So, we spent the night in Tubbrid Castle last Friday. And we had the whole place to ourselves. A whole damn castle…
Let me tell you, there’s no better way to come crashing back down to reality than going from sleeping in a castle one night, to spending a night in a tiny bungalow in a housing estate in Dublin the next.
Tubbrid Castle is a little hidden gem on Airbnb.
And although it’s early days for John (the host) who only launched the property on the site in recent months after years of restoration work, it’s only a matter of time before bookings go through the roof.
Welcome to Tubbrid castle in Kilkenny
You’ll find Tubbrid Castle a handy 20-minute drive from Kilkenny City down some quiet country lanes, surrounded by lush green fields and set against the backdrop of rolling mountains.
We whacked the name into Google Maps and could see the castle from afar as we approached, as it’s perched on a hill.
While it’s impressive from a distance, it’s only when you’re stood at the entrance and gazing up that it hits you.
This is an Airbnb… and you have the whole place to yourself.
A fine greeting
I pulled over just before we reached the entrance to the castle.
And these lads legged it over to us to see what we were up to.
Then they started hoppin’ about the place (forgive the dodgy footage below).
It says an awful lot about how secluded and quiet the area is when the only noises that we heard during our stay at Tubbrid Castle came from cows.
Actually, we also heard crows trying to nest in the castles windows now that I come to think of it.
Inside the castle
After we received a warm greeting from John, the host, he took us inside.
And we were blown away.
You climb (and it is a climb) to different floors via these beautiful stone staircases
Which lead to the three bedrooms and the lounge/kitchen area.
Each of the bedrooms are magnificently restored and carefully kitted out
With the pièce de résistance being the HUGE master suite found on one of the castles upper floors.
It was pretty surreal going to sleep and waking up here.
The gorgeous little snug areas that you can see below are found throughout the castle.
Those chunky orange cushions that cover the stone base will make your arse very happy.
A perfect spot for chilling in with a book and a coffee in the morning.
While the castle has been lovingly restored and still feels ‘old-world’, there are many modern features that’ll make your stay nice and comfortable, like:
- Central heating
- Underfloor heating
- Rainforest style showers
- Microwave, fridge and every cooking facility you’ll need
There’s also a high tech cooker that took us about 15 minutes to figure out how to use.
The homemade brown bread and scones was also a nice touch.
Baths, views and a serious aul fire
For me, the view, the fire and the bath were the icing on the cake.
When I flung open the window in the master bedroom, this was what greeted me.
And the view from the very fancy bath on the ground floor, which looked out onto some of the fields that surround the castle, was just as good.
We arrived late on the Friday evening thanks to traffic and a puncture, so by the time we checked in, headed out to the local shop for food and drink, and then settled, it was late enough.
Being able to throw on a real fire, bang off all the lights and just kick-back and chill (without the distraction of a television, noise from neighbours or anything else) was incredibly special.
I could have honestly sat here for a week.
Some of the castles history
In 942 AD, Muircheartach, the King of modern-day Ulster, marched his 1,000-strong army south to avenge his allies, who had been attacked by the King of Cashel.
The journey was recorded by a bard, a professional story teller/oral historian, in a poem called ‘Circuit of Ireland’.
In the poem, the bard praised the beauty of Osraí (now Kilkenny), and the hospitality of the people living there. At the edge of enemy territory and on the cusp of battle, Muircheartach’s army set up camp in Tubbrid, on a plain that a millennium later is still called Bán an Champa (the Field of the Encampment).
According to lengend, the King himself is thought to have slept at the fort where Tubbrid Castle now proudly stands. From the top floor bedroom of Tubbrid Castle you can survey Bán an Champa and enjoy lodgings befitting a king.
How much a stay here will set you back
If you fancy visiting Tubbrid Castle, here’s how much it’ll set you back.
- If 4 of you stayed for a Saturday and Sunday night in May, it’d set you back €185 per person (€742 total).
- For a group of 6 on the same nights, you’ll be paying €170 per person (€1,020 total).
- For a group of 9 on the same nights, you’ll be paying €159 per person (€1,437 total).
I loved Tubbrid Castle.
From the interactions with the host, to the charm of the castle and the immensely unique experience of spending a night here, I’d have 0 reservations about recommending it.
For the best bang for your buck, visit with friends or family.
A lovely base to explore Kilkenny from.