As child I used to dream of being a princess who lived in a castle. As an adult, I’m not so interested in being a princess but my castle dreams have come true thanks to some of the magical castle hotels in Ireland. If you too had princess (or prince!) dreams growing up then I highly recommend planning a stay in an Irish castle hotel during your visit.
Of course, staying at an Irish castle hotel isn’t exactly cheap. Irish castle hotels are luxury experiences often offering top-of-the-line services, gourmet meals, and unique things to do. However, luxury doesn’t doesn’t necessarily mean it comes with an over-the-top price. There are plenty of Irish castle hotels that won’t break the bank. So, if you are ready for a royal Irish experience, then this list is for you.
Here are some of the more affordable castles to stay in Ireland. Ready to find the Irish castle hotel of your dreams? Read on to learn a little more about my favourite Irish castle hotels, their history, and what the perks and amenities they have on offer.
Ballynahinch Castle Hotel
With a rich history dating back to the end of the 18th century, Ballynahinch Castle has been rated as one of the finest luxury castle hotels in Ireland. It was voted the #1 Ireland Luxury hotel by Conde Naste readers and has been awarded the best breakfast in Ireland 2017 by Georgina Campbell. This Irish castle hotel has a rich history and has been inhabited over the years by the pirate queen Grace O’Malley, the famous cricketer Ranji, and author Margaret Atwood. Set in a private estate with over 450 acres of woodland with a backdrop of the Twelve Bens mountain range, Ballynahinch Castle is the perfect spot for visitors looking to experience the beauty of Connemara.
Guests at this stunning Irish castle hotel can take part in clay shooting, fishing, hiking, and cycling. Or just enjoy Ballynahinch’s many amenities including fine dining, a pub, and an afternoon tea service. For those travelling along the Wild Atlantic Way, Ballynahinch offers is a perfect choice for a stay at a castle hotel in Ireland.
Clontarf Castle Hotel
The original Clontarf Castle dates back to 1172. While the building currently occupying the title is significantly more modern (built in 1837), the area has seen a lot of Irish history: from Templar Knights to the Irish Rebellion to the Cromwellian conquest and more, the area surrounding Clontarf Castle has played an important role in Ireland’s past.
This Irish castle hotel opened to the public in 1997. Only 10 minutes away from Dublin, and 25 minutes from Potmarnock championship golf course, Clontarf Castle is one of the most popular castle hotels in Ireland. It manages to combine sophistication with historic charm and is easily accessible year round. Try modern cuisine in the Knight’s Bar, relax with an eclectic afternoon tea service in the lobby, or enjoy a summer BBQ on the Terrace. Without a doubt, Clontarf Castle Hotel is a great choice for those looking to indulge in a stay at a castle hotel in Ireland.
psst: staying in Dublin? Check out my list of the best pubs in Dublin!
Cabra Castle Hotel
Clontarf Castle truly looks like a fairytale, and it is one of the best-known castle hotels in Ireland. This Irish castle hotel is located about 1.5 hours outside of Dublin making it a popular choice for travellers who don’t have plenty of time to spend in the country. The original Cabra Castle ruins, dating back to 1699, can still be seen by the Wishing Well. This Irish castle hotel, as you see it today, dates back to 1808.
Set in the Dun a Ri National Forest Park of Cavan, Cabra Castle Hotel is a storybook Irish castle hotel with 105 bedrooms, each featuring modern 4-star facilities combined with historic old world charm including beautiful four-poster beds. There are also six cottages on the estate as well, perfect for larger groups.
Guests can explore the historic castle, roam around the manicured grounds, or just relax and enjoy the romantic and relaxing atmosphere of this truly stunning castle hotel in Ireland.
Waterford Castle Hotel
Perhaps one of the most fairytale-like castle hotels in Ireland, Waterford Castle Hotel and golf resort is a favourite for all types of travellers including couples looking for a romantic getaway and families looking for a special experience.
Waterford Castle is the only castle hotel located on its private island. This 16th-century castle is surrounded by the river Suir and has been transformed into a luxurious hotel that manages to perfectly combine its elegant past with modern comfort. Rooms are available both in the castle itself, or families can book one of the on-site lodges. There are plenty of activities available as well including golfing, falconry, clay pigeon shooting, picnics, children’s activities, and more.
This castle hotel in Ireland located on a private island is perfect for a little escape from the world and indulging in luxury and beautiful nature.
Planning to visit Waterford? Take a peek at this Waterford guide.
Lough Eske Castle Hotel
Lough Eske Castle is another firm favourite when it comes to castle hotels in Ireland. The castle is actually a lakeside estate, located just outside Donegal town, and has a history dating back to the 1400s which includes being linked to the O’Donnell clan; the founding fathers of Donegal. This Irish castle hotel has been lovingly restored to become an award-winning hotel that embraces both contemporary elegance and country charm.
Lough Eske Castle is a 5-star Irish castle hotel is located in one of the wildest, and prettiest parts of the country, making it an ideal base from which to explore by foot, car, or even horseback riding thanks to the nearby equestrian centre. Rooms are spacious and elegantly decorated with marble bathroom features and there are several dining options available onsite. Plus, Lough Eske Castle has an added bonus of being a renowned spa with a steam room, sauna, and multiple treatment options making it the perfect Irish castle to also indulge and relax.
If you are planning on exploring Donegal, then a stay at this castle hotel in Ireland is a must.
Kinnitty Castle Hotel
Kinnitty Castle Hotel in county Mayo is a gothic revival castle that, like so many of Ireland’s castles, has a turbulent history. The castle has been destroyed and burned down since 1213, though the castle as we see it today was built in 1928. Despite the violent past, Kinnitty Castle is now considered to be one of the most luxurious castle hotels in Ireland.
Set in the stunning Slieve Bloom Mountains, about an hour away from Limerick, this Irish castle hotel offers 4-star luxury at a reasonable price. There are 37 bedrooms all modernly equipped but reminiscent of the castles medieval history. Relax by one of the many open fireplaces, enjoy a meal cooked by Mark Conneely who was voted the best chef in Offaly in 2015, or grab a drink in the Library Bar or play a game at the on-site tennis court.
Without a doubt, Kinnitty Castle is one of the most regal castle hotels in Ireland.
Ballyseede Castle Hotel
Travellers looking for a castle hotel in Ireland near Killarney the Ring of Kerry, look no further than Ballyseede Castle. Set on 30 acres of Irish woodland in Tralee, Ballyseede Castle is a boutique Irish castle hotel with 44 rooms, a resident Irish Wolfhound, and a ghost. Yes, Ballyseede Castle hotel is haunted by the ghost of a woman known as Hilda; but don’t worry, she’s supposed to be quite friendly.
Those brave (or curious) enough to sleep in this haunted castle will be rewarded with four-star luxury. Rooms are spacious and lavishly decorated, the grounds are peaceful and perfect for exploring, and the food is award-winning. Ballyseede Castle Hotel prides itself on being family friendly, but also makes for a perfect romantic getaway as well.
For those looking for a stunning castle hotel in Ireland with a unique twist, Ballyseede Castle hotel is a great choice.
The Lodge at Ashford Castle
If you’ve researched castle hotels in Ireland no doubt you have stumbled across the stunning Ashford Castle; Ireland’s premier luxury castle hotel. While staying in the castle itself may be way over budget, there is an alternative: the Lodge at Ashford Castle.
The Lodge at Ashford Castle is a modern hotel, closer to a manor house rather than a castle. However, it is still located on the grounds which means that you get to explore and have the fairytale experience. If you like, you can book dinner, afternoon tea, or spa treatment which includes in the actual castle itself. Check out my review about my experience at the Ashford Castle Estate.
Tips for Getting the Best Deal on Castle Hotels in Ireland
This list of castle hotels in Ireland was selected based on the most affordable options. However, if you want to stay in an Irish castle hotel, you’ll need to do a bit of advance planning. Many of these castles are small boutique type hotels with only a few rooms and they can book up pretty quickly.
Your best bet to ensure that you get a room and get the best deal on your room is to book in advance. Both booking.com and hotels.com, which I used in the price comparisons above, frequently have deals for those who book early. I also love using these sites because they usually have great cancellation policies. Again though, even if you can’t get an amazing deal it is always better to book early to avoid disappointment if you really have your heart set on staying at a specific castle hotel in Ireland.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Castle Hotels in Ireland
Staying in a castle hotel in Ireland is a dream come true, but before you book you do need to take note that the majority of Irish castle hotels are located in the countryside and, therefore, are only accessible to those who plan on renting a car in Ireland. So please keep this in mind before you book! If you don’t plan on renting a car, but still want to find a castle to stay in Ireland, then your best bet is Clontarf Castle which is just outside the heart of Dublin but accessible by public transit.
Sleeping in an Irish castle hotel is a once in a lifetime experience, and while it still is a splurge, these affordable Irish castle hotels will help you turn your dreams into a reality.
For More on Ireland & Irish Castles
Psst: Looking for more tips for your Ireland travels? Check out my new Ireland-specific blog, Ireland Stole My Heart, for planning guides, advice, and more!
A Note on Travel Insurance in Ireland
Please, do NOT travel without travel insurance! I’ve had to rely on mine multiple times. While the cost may seem annoying and better spent elsewhere, trust me when I say you’ll be sorry if you don’t have it. For just a couple bucks a day, you can save yourself a whole lot of stress and money. I like to recommend SafetyWing for travel medical insurance as they are one of the most affordable options I’ve found, plus, they are who I use and I have had great experiences with them. Learn more about the importance of travel insurance here.