Stay Inside An Authentic Medieval Irish Castle

blackcastle-12Did you know there are castles you can stay in when you visit Ireland? There are massive castle hotels and miniature castle B&Bs, but perhaps the most unique and fun experience is to be had by renting your own private castle for a night or two--as you can do at the Black Castle in County Tipperary. The Black Castle is a 500 year old castle tower built by the O'Kennedy clan. When you book a night at the Black Castle you have the entire castle and property to yourself; we had the privilege of staying here back in early December and it was such a memorable experience. Walking through the door and into the tower is like stepping back in time; at night the stars are startling bright and the only noise is that of the nature (birdsong in the morning and wind in the evening). blackcastle-14 blackcastle-21 blackcastle-23 blackcastle-16You aren't completely cut off from the modern world in the Black Castle, although most of the castle has been left without electricity to give you a more authentic experience. There is a kitchen and bathroom on one level that boasts electric lights and a cooker so you can prepare your own meals and spend as much time inside the castle as possible. The other main level at the castle is the Great Hall, a large room with towering curved ceiling, little window nooks, a fireplace big enough to stand inside, and hundreds of candles. Between the candles and ample firewood provided you're not left in the dark in the castle even without electricity in the Great Hall. The flickering candlelight and dancing flames add to the magical atmosphere within the Hall. The owners and renovators, Kevin and Sonja (and Tilly), have done a marvelous job of renovating and decorating the castle to maintain an authentic atmosphere. Every furnishing feels thoughtfully collected and adds to the ambiance of the tower; from the mead left in a pitcher on the table to the antique candle holders and wooden benches.blackcastle-20blackcastle-19-sideblackcastle-10blackcastle-24Despite visiting in Decemeber during one of the coldest weekends (the wind howled the first night we stayed and the ground was hard with frost the next morning) we had the most enchanting stay at Black Castle. It's the sort of place I have been dreaming of visiting for several years and feel so privileged to have experienced it. We cooked little one pot meals in the kitchen and carried our steaming plates of pasta and sourdough bread upstairs to the Great Hall to dine like kings beside the roaring fire. The evenings were marked by blue light streaming through the stained glass windows, candlelight, and books. On our last morning we were even treated to a blanket of fog. As we drove away Thomas looked for a place to take a distant picture of the castle tower, but the fog was so thick that only a short distance away the castle vanished as if the whole weekend had been a dream rather than a rare but striking memory. blackcastle-8

*pictures edited with the Soft preset from my Cozy Pack (on sale!)*

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