Castles are one of the best things about Ireland, and when it comes to planning a dream Irish vacation, the idea of sleeping in an Irish for a night or two is on many people’s must-do list. While the idea may be dreamy, staying at a castle hotel in Ireland is definitely a bit of a splurge. But, it doesn’t have to leave a hole in your wallet. Here are nine affordable castle hotels in Ireland where you can live out your Irish fairytale dreams without breaking the bank.
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Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara
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, 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, Dublin
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, 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.
Cabra Castle Hotel, Cavan
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. 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, Waterford
Perhaps one of the most fairytale-like castle hotels in Ireland, Waterford Castle Hotel 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 located on its own 310-acre private island. It’s a 16th-century castle that 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 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.
Lough Eske Castle Hotel, Donegal
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.
This 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. Plus, Lough Eske Castle has an added bonus of being a renowned spa as well, making it the perfect Irish castle to also indulge and relax. Rooms are spacious and elegantly decorated and there are several dining options available onsite.
If you are planning on exploring Donegal, then a stay at this castle hotel in Ireland is a must.
Kinnitty Castle Hotel, Kinnitty
Kinnitty Castle Hotel 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, just outside of Kinnitty, 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.
Without a doubt, Kinnitty Castle is one of the most regal castle hotels in Ireland.
Ballyseede Castle Hotel, Tralee
Travellers looking for a castle hotel in Ireland near the Ring of Kerry, look no further than Ballyseede Castle. Set on 30 acres of Irish woodland, 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.
Lough Inagh Lodge, Connemara
Ok, so Lough Inagh Lodge isn’t exactly an Irish castle, but this beautiful lake-side manor set in the wild landscape of Connemara offered just as much a fairytale experience as staying in a proper castle. Located on the shores of Lough Inagh overlooking the mountains, it’s a stunning and tranquil getaway. The building dates back to 1880 when it was used as a fishing lodge. It has since been updated in a luxurious manor house that hints at old world charm and elegance.
Rooms here are elegant and hint at old world charm while also being reasonably spacious given the historic building. Guests are invited to partake in a multitude of activities including fishing, hiking, and even painting and dining here is an elegant affair with seasonal choices cooked to perfection.
Lough Inagh lodge may not officially qualify as a castle hotel in Ireland, however, it is a beautiful and romantic property with plenty to offer.
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. It’s a beautiful hotel, though definitely modern. However, you get to explore the castle ground and still have that fairytale experience. Check out my review about my experience at the Ashford Castle Estate.
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 twice before (once for damaged luggage, once because I developed a lung infection while traveling). 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. With prices starting at $37 for 4 weeks, they are one of the most affordable options I’ve found. Learn more about the importance of travel insurance here.