Ten castles to rent in Ireland for a fairy tale vacation (PHOTOS)


Forget about hotels or bed and breakfasts. Treat yourself like royalty during your next vacation to Ireland with a stay at one of these historic castles.

Besides their picturesque backdrop and ancient atmosphere, these castles boast hundreds of years of history of battles and sieges.

Here are the top ten to stay at the next time you visit the Emerald Isle with friends and family.

1. Ballyportry Castle, County Clare

For those of you who are “Game of Thrones” obsessed this is the castle for you. This tower house stands 90-feet tall over the mystical rocky landscape of the Burren.

Ballyportry Castle was built by the O’Brien family in the late 15th century and served as the family residence during the 16th and 17th centuries until it fell into disrepair in the following century.

Archaeologists restored the tower house in the late twentieth century. Ballyporty Castle’s six bedrooms can hold up to eight overnight guests.

2. Belle Isle Castle, County Fermanagh

Constructed in the 12th century for the MacManus and the McGuire families, Belle Isle was originally called Ballymacmanus.

Belle Isle changed hands in the early 17th century to soldiers Paul Gore. Since then the castle has had multiple owners who have expanded the castle and added gardens and other features to the estate.

There are three cottages, which house four to six adults that are also available for your stay. The nine bedrooms furnished with antique pine furniture will house up to seventeen of your friends.

3. Cloghan Castle, County Galway

Cloghan Castle was built as a fortress in the 12th century and was inhabited until the 15th century.

The castle’s architecture includes the typical Norman features of arched doorways, circular turrets and battlements. After falling into disrepair, the castle was restored over the course of several years in the late 20th century.

Cloghan Castle has seven bedrooms that can house up to seventeen guests.

4. Fanningstown Castle, County Limerick

Invading Normans built Fanningstown Castle as a defensive outpost in the late 13th century. Dominick Fanning helped lead the resistance against Oliver Cromwell in the middle of the 17th century and he did not survive.

Restoration on the castle began in the middle of the 20th century. Fanningstown Castle’s five bedrooms house up to ten guests.

5. Killahara Castle, County Tipperary

Thomas Butler built Killahara Castle in 1495 as part of a defensive system to protect Butler lands in Tipperary. The castle replaced an earlier timber construction built in 1185.

Restoration begun in the early 21st century has preserved the five stone levels of the castle for future use. The seven bedrooms provide room for up to fourteen guests.

6. Lisheen Castle, County Tipperary

Lisheen Castle first enters the historical record in 1770 when it served as the home of the Lloyd family. The castle was built in the Tudor style with side turrets and a central machicolated turret around the main doorway. During the Famine, John Lloyd served on committees to devise employment and public work projects. Lisheen Castle has nine bedrooms that will house sixteen guests.

7. Turin Castle, County Mayo