Castle Hotels - hidden treasures !
Castle hotels are unique in Ireland being more often than not, the 'real thing' or Victorian castellated versions of the 'real thing', which is possibly why they appeal to the Americans and Australians so much not having a long enough history to have some of their own. We have a huge amount of castles in Ireland, many of which are open to the public, with some 350 still standing not counting the 100’s of ruined ones. Many have been converted into luxury hotels like Dromoland Castle in County Clare and Ashford Castle in County Galway. Both are true fairy tale castles and very fine 5 star hotels (offering excellent packages at the moment) so you can live like a king without paying the equivalent ransom!
But, for an even more authentic castle experience choose somewhere like Ballinahinch Castle, in Galway (above) which once belonged to an Indian Maharajah who used to travel there by private train. Or the or the delightful family run Ballinalacken Castle in Doolin, the view from the dining room there ranks as one of the best in the world...
Others such as Castle Leslie and Mount Falcon were castellated in Victorian times but still ooze character and charm, as do their owners. Put it another way, a stay in any of the Top 10 listed in my eBook will be a once in a lifetime experience in luxury or eccentricity and most likely a bit both! Solis Lough Eske Castle at the foot of the Blue Stacks mountains in County Donegal didn't even have a roof a couple of years back but has since been transformed into one of the best small hotels of the world and one of my favourite places to stay in Ireland. However
Ballynahinch Castle which is closer to home is my current favourite and just one of the Top 10 Cool Castles to Stay In no doubt you have guessed the other one recommended in my eBook 'Where to Eat, Sleep & Play in Ireland 2014