How to Stay in a Castle in Ireland

lismore castle Staying in a castle in Ireland might seem like a dream only a few can achieve, but actually there are some affordable ways to stay in a castle and support the upkeep of historic buildings in Ireland. You can stay in a number of large castle hotels, but one of my personal favorite options would be to book a private castle for two, like the miniature castle (pictured below) one of the Irish Landmark Trust's quirky properties. The Irish Landmark Trust is a non-profit organization that works to conserve and restore beautiful and unique old properties around the country. In addition to being able to book a miniature castle in County Cork you could also choose to stay in a gothic-looking tower or a lighthouse along the coast. The properties range from small to large so there are good options for groups of all sizes and they're scattered throughout the country so wherever in Ireland you plan on visiting you should be able to find a Landmark Trust property nearby. All of the Irish Landmark Trust properties are self-catering, which means they come equipped with a kitchen and the basic tools for cooking and usually have a washer and dryer as well. They're perfect for a weekend getaway or any travelers tired of meals out and not being able to do any laundry! And when you end up booking a private tower for the weekend, equipped with open fires, really what more could you need?
If you are keen for a more pampered experience, consider browsing through the options at Ireland's Bluebook. This collection of manor house hotels are stately and full of extras, in fact you can browse their options by activity whether you're interested in walled gardens, cookery classes, or horseback riding. And yes, if you really must stay at a castle there are five options listed on Ireland's Bluebook including one built in the 13th century and another built on an Abbey dating back to medieval times. What I love about so many of Bluebook's properties is how they have so many modern conveniences and might even feature a spa, but they are still decorated in a historic and classic style that keeps with the original design. You get to explore a sprawling estate and get room service! While these properties are not non-profits like those with the Landmark Trust, it's still impressive to be able to stay in a castle that has been in one family for 800 years and to support the upkeep of these beautiful and historic buildings.
One last option to consider is Hidden Ireland. Like the Landmark Trust, Hidden Ireland caters to those looking for a unique stay in a variety of properties all over Ireland; there's an old rectory B&B in County Carlow,  a 17th century castellated house in County Mayo, and a 500 year-old castle you can rent out exclusively. The last option sounds like such a dream for a larger party and it's only a half hour drive from the Wild Atlantic Way coastal route. You can even have meals catered in and hire traditional musicians to play in the Great Hall--making it possible not to only stay in a castle in Ireland, but to feel as if you are truly stepping back in time.
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