One of Ireland’s greatest strengths is its hospitality and this reaches from the local Bn’B to the exclusive castles. I’ve been fortunate to have stayed in quite a few of these Irish ‘castle’ hotels and wanted to share the experience of where to stay when in Ireland, where to visit in Ireland. The following are all hotels that have dated buildings, history and 4-5 star luxury.
Built: 1820 (Hotel 1978)
Marlfield, I put first as it’s a hotel on my mind a lot lately. This hotel is where, 26 years ago, my parents got engaged. I stayed in Marlfield in October 2018. The hotel is country house elegance. My mother has been recently and said the hotel had a wonderful Irish country house atmosphere, excellent food and the house and gardens were in superb condition.
The Park Hotel Kenmare
Built: 1897 (The only one built as a hotel)
The Park Kenmare, holds a special place in my heart, my family and I have drove down to Kenmare annually, sometimes bi-annually for a short stay. The hotel is warm from the people, to the food, to the cosy lounge fire. We love this hotel and I would recommend to anyone seeking the famous Irish hospitality, in a equally inviting small Irish town.
Some restaurants in Kenmare town I recommend are: The Lime Tree, The Boathouse, The Purple Heather (Lunch), PYRO (for a take-away Tiramisu) and a scoop of Kenmare Ice-cream!
Built: 1862 (Hotel 2015)
A new favourite of mine, I appreciate the cosiness of a older property, its history and stages of development over time. Adare Manor is a hotel that has, in recent years, been transformed. The renovations have made the hotel a leader in luxury, with a top quality golf course, clubhouse restaurant and beautiful green estate fields to hop on a complimentary bike and pedal away. For golf lovers, my brother is a huge fan of here.
You can also spot a Irish celebrity or two drinking elaborate cocktails in the Tack Room. A cosy underground bar in the hotel. I would also recommend the Carriage House for dinner over the main restaurant. I’ve ate in both and the Carriage House is full of atmosphere and suits everyone’s food preferences.
Built: 1228 (Hotel 1939)
In full disclousure, this is the only one of the hotels I haven’t stayed in. My mother and I went for afternoon tea here and enjoyed everything from the gardens, to the lounge, to the bathrooms. It’s a magnificent castle and the hotel and grounds are private for guests with a moat bridge when you drive in. The afternoon tea was one of those afternoon tea’s you eat everything, there wasn’t foods too ‘out-there.’ My favourite setting for afternoon tea so far in my search.
Built: 1820s (Hotel in 2011)
Ballyfin is an incredible experience. I’ve been a guest at the hotel only once and it has made a lasting impression. The 20 rooms are thoughtfully decorated and unique, the price is all inclusive so enjoy the mini-bars white chocolate dipped raspberries and the bathrooms handmade soaps. My room was ‘The Morrison’ a single room my sister and I shared. The wallpaper was fabric, we had a direct view of the water feature and it was a very warm, inviting room.
The grounds can be viewed on foot, borrowing some Dubarry boots, or on a complimentary golf buggy. There is a round tower, walled gardens, lake and pathways. It’s grandeur is cosy and welcoming. After buzzing at the gate, your greeted by a row of staff at the door. A true getaway from daily life.