Castle Hotels of Ireland – Leinster #1

Next up in my series of Irish Castle Hotels is the beautiful ancient province of Leinster. Located on the East Coast of Ireland, it is not only the home of Dublin, where the famous Guinness Brewery is only 256 years into its 9000 year lease, but also some absolutely stunning landscapes such as “the Garden of Ireland” (an alternative name for County Wicklow) and the fascinating Newgrange Passage Tomb, a megalithic site older than both Stonehenge and even the great Pyramids of Egypt.

However, it is also home to 20 Castle Accommodations, so this section is going to be split once more into Leinster #1 and Leinster #2, in alphabetical order.

The Counties of Leinster #1 are:

  • Carlow (1 Castle)
  • Dublin (2 Castles)
  • Kildare (2 Castles)
  • Kilkenny (1 Castle)
  • Laois (1 Castle)
  • Longford (None)
  • Louth (1 Castle)

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The Counties of Leinster #2 will be:

  • Meath (5 Castles)
  • Offaly (1 Castle)
  • Westmeath (2 Castles)
  • Wexford (1 Castle)
  • Wicklow (2)

Huntington 4

Huntington Castle (Bed & Breakfast) – County Carlow

“Still lived in by descendants of the original builders this fascinating Castle is truly one of Ireland’s hidden treasures.” – Official Website 

History

Huntington Castle, also known as Clonegal Castle, is a castle in Clonegal, County Carlow, Ireland. The structure was originally a “plantation castle”,[1] used for defensive purposes during the plantation of the area in the early 17th century. The original tower house, which served as a garrison, was built in the 1400s as a stronghold for the Caviness family, an old Irish clan. Later Baron Esmonde.[2] Due to the strategic importance of the village of Clonegal during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland because of its location on the road between Dublin and Wexford, the castle was captured by Oliver Cromwell as he marched on Kilkenny[2] in 1650. It is now a private house open to the public for guided tours throughout June, July, August and September. It was the setting for Stanley Kubrick’s film Barry Lyndon. Its basement has been the base of a religion, the Fellowship of Isis, since 1976,[3] The castle hosted the Solas Festival in August 2008.[4] co-founded by Olivia Robertson, her brother Lawrence Durdin-Robertson and his wife Pamela.” – Wikipedia 

Fascinatingly, since this first Castle is still inhabited by it’s owners, it is not a hotel as such, but rather offers a selection of historic guest rooms for B&B usage, granting full access to the gardens and estate. 

As described on their website: ” If you are looking for somewhere to stay with a difference, we can offer some fantastic accommodation packages.  Huntington has a small number of historic guest rooms, all with original period features such as four poster beds and oak panelling.  Most rooms are en suite and each room has its own character and story to tell. We can offer a full or part catering service, where food is cooked to the highest standards, using fresh local produce where possible. We are proud to recommend the award winning Sha Roe Bistro, which won Georgina Campbell’s best chef award in Ireland.  Sha Roe is situated at the bottom of the front avenue, beside Osborne’s, a charming traditional Irish pub.  Both are within a few minutes walk of the Castle, so no taxis required! Guests staying with us have full access to the gardens and estate, and we can also arrange activities or itineraries by prior arrangement. ”

A very unique place to stay indeed.

Clontarf 4

Dublin – Clontarf Castle

Clontarf Castle (Irish: Caisleán Chluain Tarbh) is a much-modernised castle, dating to 1837, in Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland, an area famous as a key location of the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. There has been a castle on the site since 1172. In modern times, it has functioned as a bar, cabaret venue, and hotel.” – Wikipedia 

History

The history of this particular property is very long, so I will just leave the Wikipedia link right here, for anyone who is interested. 😀

Facilites and Features:

“Set in an 11th-century castle the Clontarf Hotel combines ancient architecture with 21st-century facilities. Just 10 minutes from central Dublin, this boutique hotel offers an award-winning restaurant and luxurious bedrooms. Rooms at the Clontarf Castle Hotel feature air-conditioning, LCD satellite TVs and free Wi-Fi. There is a 24-hour room service menu and beds have pillow-top mattresses. The Fahrenheit Grill serves fine cuisine and specializes in local beef and fish dishes. The Knights Bar has ornate ceilings, huge open fireplaces and stained glass windows. The Indigo Lounge, with its stylish sofas and red chandeliers, serves morning coffee, afternoon tea and an excellent selection of wines. There is a bus stop outside of the Castle with regular services to the center of the city. Free parking is available at Clontarf Castle. Hotel Rooms: 111” – Booking.com

Fitzpatrick 1

Fitzpatrick Castle – County Dublin

“Fitzpatrick Castle, is an 18th Century 4 Star Castle Hotel, offering stylish surroundings, friendly personal service and tranquility within breathtaking surroundings overlooking Dublin Bay.” – Official Website

History

“The original house, Mount Mapas was built in 1740 by Col. John Mapas, although records show that a building or buildings stood here at a much earlier date. By 1755 it was acquired by a Captain Maunsell who was succeeded by a Colonel Loftus in 1770. The Colonel’s stay was a short one; in 1772 he advertised the castle and its 150 acres for sale despite his short tenure. During his time in residence however, Colonel Loftus and his nephew converted the barren stoney soil to meadow and pasture and cut a road around the hill, his successor was Lord Clonmel who in 1790 improved the estate further spending £ 3,000 in the process, a handsome sum of money in the early19th century.” – Official Website 

Facilites and Features:

“The Fitzpatrick Castle Dublin Hotel overlooks Dublin Bay and is a 20-minute drive from Dublin. It offers rooms with free Wi-Fi, a pool and 2 award winning restaurants. The rooms at the Fitzpatrick Castle Dublin Hotel feature private bathrooms and satellite TVs. They also include hairdryers, telephones and tea/coffee making facilities. The AA Rosette PJ’s Restaurant serves fine food. The Dungeon Bar & Grill features fresh local produce and has a Gold Medal Award. The spa center has a whirlpool spa, a Scandinavian wood sauna and a steam room. There is also a fully equipped gym. There is a DART station 10 minutes away which services Dublin. The James Joyce Museum and Dalkey Castle are both within one mile and free parking is available at the Fitzpatrick. Hotel Rooms: 113” – Booking.com

Kilkea 1

Kilkea Castle (for Private Hire) – County Kildare

“In our modern world privacy is a priceless commodity, here at Kilkea Castle we guarantee privacy, discretion and style. Throw a party, arrange a corporate team meeting with a difference or host a family gathering. This 12th Century Castle will be exclusively yours including all 35 bedrooms, private bars and a restaurant for you and your guests only. Guests have access to our site leisure facilities including swimming pool, saunas, Jacuzzi, steam room and fully equipped gymnasium. Kilkea Castle can now offer this private castle for your exclusive use, share your special moments, occasions and memories within this magical historical ambience.” – Official Website

Here we have another example of a castle that is not functioning as a hotel as such, but can still be stayed in. If you’re looking to hire and entire castle for your special event or family holiday; then maybe this is the place. 

The castle has a long history which I will link here; however there is not much known about its facilities. For more information prospective customers are asked to use the contact on their website. http://www.kilkeacastle.ie/ 

Barberstown 1

Barberstown Castle & Country House – County Kildare

“Barberstown Castle is a structure originally built in 1288[1] in Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland, 25 km (15 miles) west of Dublin. It has been operating as a hotel since 1971 and is surrounded by 20 acres (81,000 m2) of gardens. Renovations in 1996 revealed a previously undiscovered tunnel that links the castle to the nearby church in Straffan and is thought to have been used during penal times.” – Wikipedia

History

“The castle was built by Nicholas Barby c.1288 on land originally owned by the Fitzgerald family. In 1630 William Sutton of one of the foremost families in the area owned the property. In 1689 it was confiscated from Lord Kingston by the Earl of Tyrconnell after the accession of King James 11 of England. It then became the property of the Commissioners of the Revenue who leased it to Roger Kelly in the late 1600s. At the end of that century it passed through a number of hands, including Bartholomew Vanhomrigh who bought it for £1,033 in 1703, together with 335 acres (135 hectares) of land. Vanhomrigh had been Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1697 and was the father of Vanessa, lover of Dean Swift. He sold it to the Henrys who forced by financial circumstances to sell it on to Hugh Barton of the wine family Barton and Guestier. He built the last wing of the house in the 1830s. (He also built Straffan House, known today at the K Club). In the 1900s it was sold by the Huddlestons to Mrs. Norah Devlin who converted it into a hotel in 1971. Eric Clapton purchased the property in 1979 and in 1987 sold it to the current owner, Ken Healy, who lives in the property. Healy has renovated it from a 10 bedroom guesthouse with three bathrooms to a 59 bedroom Failte Ireland approved 4 Star Hotel.” – Wikipedia

Facilities & Features:

“Built in the 13th century, this elegant 4-star castle boasts individually decorated rooms and 20 acres of beautiful grounds. The restaurant offers award-winning fine dining, and Central Dublin and the Airport are both a 30-minute drive away. With classic decor and free Wi-Fi, each spacious room features elegant touches such as chandeliers and antique furniture. Rooms all include a private bathroom with hairdryer, and guests can relax with a TV in the room. Barberstown Castle’s restaurant serves French-influenced country house dining recommended by the AA and Michelin guides. Weekend live entertainment is also provided. The Edwardian tea rooms provide a place for guests to relax, offering cozy couches, afternoon teas, and freshly baked scones. Free parking is available, and Kildare and its Japanese Gardens are a 30-minute drive away. Nearby buses provide access to Dublin, and Powerscourt House and Estate is 40 minutes away by car. Hotel Rooms: 55” – Booking.com

Ballybur 1

Ballybur Castle (Self Catering) – County Kilkenny

Ballybur 2“Ballybur Castle is now a luxury self-catering holiday home where you can have an unforgettable stay. Available for long or short term lettings, modern comforts have been incorporated without detracting from the charm and simple grandeur of this ancient dewlling. All beds in Ballybur Castle have orthopedia matresses, electric blankets, duvets with covers and feathered cushions, bedrooms also have victorian cast iron radiators installed. The castle comfortably sleeps eight people. The kitchen is fitted with a sink, oven grill, microwave and of course crockery, cutlery, glasses, etc. Full cleaning and catering services can be arranged.” – Original Website

HistoryBallybur 3

The History of this remarkable little castle is very beautifully described on their website, which you can find here: http://www.ballyburcastle.com/ballybur-castle-about.html

Here we are with another unique example of castle accommodation, with a small but elegant self catering castle. Unlike other “for hire” castles, this one only sleeps eight people and is equally affordable. 

Durrow 1

Castle Durrow (Country House) – County Laois

“One of Ireland’s most luxurious Country House Hotels located on the N8 old Dublin – Cork Road (one hour from Dublin), in the midlands of Ireland, adjoining the quaint village of Durrow,Co Laois.” – Official Website

History

“The house was built between 1712-1716 by Colonel William Flower (lfrom 1733 Baron Castle Durrow) as a family home. In 1751 William’s son Henry was created first Viscount Ashbrook, also in the Irish peerage, and the title is still extant, being held by his direct heir, Michael Flower, eleventh Viscount Ashbrook (b. 1935). The Flower family retained ownership of the estate until 1922, when they were forced to sell up and return to England. It was bought by a Mr. Maher of Freshford, Co Kilkenny who was primarily interested in the estate’s timber reserves. Eventually the Land Commission took over the arable portion of the property and the Forestry Department took over the woodland. After standing empty for some years the house itself was transformed in 1929 into a school (St Fintan’s College and Convent) and in 1998 was purchased by Peter and Shelley Stokes and redeveloped as the luxury Castle Hotel.” – Wikipedia

Facilities and Features:

Regrettably there is no Booking.com page for this property, and their website seems a little rusty, not offering any great insight into what they might offer; but there does seem to be an excellent restaurant along with a very luxurious beauty salon. I can’t find the number of rooms. Sorry about that.

Bellingham 1

Bellingham Castle – County Louth (Private Hire and B&B)

Bellingham 2Now here’s one that needs a little explaining; this magnificent property offers both B&B services, allowing private room hire from Sunday to Thursday, but also offers full private hire of the entire castle, especially for special events. 

“Located in the heart of the medieval village of Castlebellingham in Co Louth and approached via a private, tree-flanked driveway, Bellingham Castle is the centrepiece of a 17 acre estate. Set on the banks of the River Glyde, our estate includes a weir and man-made river island with footbridges, mature trees and formal lawns and gardens.” – Official Website

HistoryBellingham 3

As with some of the others, the history here is very long and beautifully detailed on their website: http://www.bellinghamcastlehotel.com/castle-history 

Facilities & Features:

“Available exclusively to you and your guests, Bellingham Castle is also the ideal venue for corporate meetings, team building events, family reunions, private parties. Bellingham Castle is the perfect location for your wedding or civil partnership and is a luxury wedding venue in Co Louth.  A Castle wedding venue will make your special day just perfect and create memories that will last forever. Stunning surroundings, beautiful furniture, luxury bridal suitesand bedrooms, intimate and private, what could be more special ….A truly stunning wedding venue in Ireland. […]

  • Bellingham Castle offers B & B accommodation from Sunday through Thursday, (from March 15th – Nov 1st)
  • Our B&B guests can relax with complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits in The Napper Tandy Rooms or The Library. We also offer a full bar service.
  • Our luxury castle bedrooms are the perfect place to unwind after a busy day at work or seeing the numerous nearby sights of Louth and Meath.
  • Breakfast can be enjoyed in the Dining Room, overlooking our gardens.
  • Bellingham Castle is also the perfect place to overnight between Dublin and Belfast.
  • We can recommend numerous nearby restaurants for our B&B guests for lunch and dinner.
  • For further information on B&B accommodation, including availability and rates, please contact us.” – Official Website 

Bellingham 4

That’s it for Part 1 of the Leinster Castles. Are there any particular ones that you would like to stay in most? I think I have my eye on Clontarf Castle… hmmm

Take care, and as always, thanks for reading! xoxo

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