Shares
Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends










Submit

From wars to invasions to famines, Irish history is practically written on the old stonewalls of its magnificent castles. Built centuries ago as invincible forts and royal residences, some of them wore out with time, but others have been transformed into luxury hotels steeped in medieval magic. With the original furniture still gracing their tall hallways and hand-woven tapestries still covering their walls, these castles envelop travelers in old Irish sagas without missing on any modern comforts. Whether you’re enjoying bustling Dublin, exploring Ireland’s ancient east or traveling the country’s west side along the Wild Atlantic Way, you’ll find that Irish history is best explored through its unforgettable castles.

RELATED: Ireland’s top ten sights to see

Castle, Dublin, Ireland

Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel

Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel
Set in a refurbished 18th-century castle, the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel is right next to the DART train to Dublin and a 10-minute walk from the Dalkey Village, where one can easily venture for a good meal or have a pint. Overlooking beautiful Dublin Bay and boasting spectacular scenery, this elegant and charming hotel is a home away from home, offering a relaxing way to explore the lively city of Dublin, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Guinness Storehouse and innumerable museums, churches and art galleries, without sacrificing any comforts and enjoying its elegant luxury.

castle, Dublin, Ireland

Lough Eske Castle

Lough Eske Castle, a Solis Hotel & Spa
The romantic Lough Eske castle hides in thick Irish forests, blending its historic charm with modern day comforts, including 5-star cuisine presented by its award-winning chefs, which boast such rare delicacies as duck pastrami and crème brûlée dumplings. Between the refreshing morning swim in the pool, the afternoon forest walks and nighttime star-gazing, it is a perfect hideout for couples seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of life. The historic Donegal village is only minutes away, and is chock-full of charming stores, olden houses and lively pubs that pour craft beers to irresistible Irish music played by local musicians.

castle, Dublin, Ireland

Waterford Castle

Waterford Castle
Built on an island formed by the River Suir, the Waterford Castle belonged to the Fitzgerald dynasty for over 800 years, and still boasts antique furniture and tapestries. In the 18th century, it was home to Mary Frances Fitzgerald, who was engaged to the Duke of Wellington, famous for defeating Napoleon at Waterloo. The historic town of Kilkenny, known for its medieval mile stretching from St. Canice’s Cathedral to the stunning Anglo-Norman castle, is a short drive away. A charming mix of old and modern, Kilkenny is full of quaint shops, bookstores and lively pubs. It is also home to the Smithwicks Brewery, which rivals Guinness in popularity, and the Highbank Orchards, an organic apple farm that brews and distills apples into every imaginable liquid delicacy—syrups, ciders, brandies, vodkas, liqueurs and gins!

RELATED: The Orbitz Rewards program towers above the rest. Sign up today!

castle, Dublin, Ireland

Duboyne Castle

The Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa
The Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa  is the perfect base to explore the historic sites of Ireland’s Ancient East—Stone Age sites like Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. The original Dunboyne Castle was destroyed during the Cromwellian Wars when England conquered Ireland in the 1650s, but the site and the gardens were rebuilt into a hotel-and-spa duo. Dunboyne’s ancient neighbor, the Trim Castle built by King Henry II in the 12th century to ward off enemies, still remains intact in all its medieval beauty, letting visitors explore its rooms, towers and even its roof, where you can climb up and get a lecture on medieval toilet systems.

castle, hotel, Ireland, Dublin

Ballynahinch Castle Hotel

The Ballynahinch Castle Hotel
Hidden within 700 acres of deep woods, the Ballynahinch Castle has been home to many grand personalities—from Grace O’Malley, fearless seafarer and the so-called pirate queen of Connaught, to the Indian prince Maharaja Jam Sahib, also known as Ranjitsinhji or Ranji Prince of Cricketers. Today Ballynahinch Castle is the perfect overnight stop if you want to visit the Kylemore Abbey or savor the city of Galway, Ireland’s new culinary mecca and famous for it fresh oysters and locally brewed beer named the Galway Hooker (which actually means a type of boat). For a small coastal city, Galway boasts two Michelin star restaurants, Loam and Aniar, which serve modern Irish cuisine and superb wines.

castle, hotel, Ireland, Dublin

Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle
Last but not the least, the grand Ashford Castle takes luxury to another dimension. While its collection of historical paintings and furniture fully preserves its Medieval appeal, the 21st -century amenities make sure a traveler’s needs are fully met—from feathery beds to savory meals to a movie theater. (Psst! Be nice to the hotel staff and they will tell you all the haunted stories, too!) Besides stunning water views and nature walks on its 350-acre estate, Ashford Castle also offers a unique falconry experience to its guests. Unlike the royals who hunted with the birds, guests don’t have to chase and kill the prey to earn their dinner, but they can drop by the falconry school and learn all about this favorite Irish pastime. The two-hour lessons include learning how to fly the birds, during which the falcons take off from your arm, fly away, come back and land on your arm again.

Save

Tagged: Europe, Ireland

Lina Zeldovich

Lina Zeldovich

Lina shimmied with belly dancers in Turkey, took kimono-wearing lessons from geishas in Japan and read poetry with drunken bards at the Russian Woodstock. She’s written about her wanderings for Newsweek, The Boston Globe, Hemispheres, Alaska Airlines, TravelAge West and BBC, among others.
Lina Zeldovich

Latest posts by Lina Zeldovich (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *