Ireland could be considered the official country of castles. The Emerald Isle is home to over 345 of these bastions including the ruins of once majestic medieval palaces, dating back to the 11th century, to magnificent castles which are now luxury hotels, considered among the top resorts in the world.
We have provided you, our valued Shamrock Club member, with our five favorite castles in Ireland to see on your next visit.
Depending on the time of the year, expect to pay around $160 a night. Some also include golf packages, romantic getaways and anniversary offers. Enjoy a taste of ancient Ireland on your next visit to the Emerald Isle.
Well, besides that Blarney one we all know and love.
1. Ashford Castle, County Galway
This five-star luxury resort sits on the shore of Lough Corrib. Brimming with history, Ashford Castle was built in 1228 by the House of Burke.
Ireland’s last high king Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair’s last hours were spent in Ashford’s Augustinian Abbey.
Today, the castle boasts 83 rooms and nine penthouse suites which have hosted a wide range of luminaries from King George V and former United States President Ronald Reagan to the Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison.
Irish playwright and satirist Oscar Wilde grew up on an estate adjacent to the castle.
2. Dunluce Castle, County Antrim
Dunluce was built on a rocky outpost on the shores of the North Antrim coast in 1150 AD during the Anglo Norman period.
So taken by this majestic place was C.S. Lewis that the famed author based Cair Pavel, the famous castle in the “Chronicles of Narnia” series, on Dunluce. The castle is located three miles east of Portrush on the way to Bushmills
3. Birr Castle, County Offaly
The O’Carroll clan ruled from their seat here, from the 14th to 17th century, over the medieval kingdom of Ely O'Carroll, now Northern Munster.
More than just a gorgeous castle, Birr houses a wide array of exotic plants in the walled gardens on its grounds, including 300-year-old box hedges, as well as the world famous telescope, Leviathan, that at one time was the largest of its kind in the world.
4.Trimm Castle, County Meath
Set on the river Boyne, Trimm was Ireland’s largest castle for centuries.
This bastion occupied by the Anglo-Normans was impenetrable and greeted would-be attackers with boiling water, tar, arrows, rocks, and weapons. Cruciform in shape, this edifice was also protected by a moat, ditch, and curtain wall. It was completed in 1206 AD.
The movie “Braveheart” chose Trimm as its shooting location.
5. Abbeyglen Castle, County Galway
Another grand castle turned topnotch resort, Abbeyglen is located in Connemara. Guests have easy access to local attractions such as the Aran Islands, Kylemore Abbey, and the largest fjord in Ireland and Britain, the Connemara Lady.
This 19th century castle has golf, tennis, shopping, and a spa for a special and luxurious stay.