An Irish vacation fit for a king in one of Ireland's castles
A look at some of the Emerald Isle's most romanitc destinations
If it didn’t already exist, someone in Hollywood might have tried inventing Ireland as the perfect romantic backdrop to illustrate a thousand tales. Luckily this magic land of castles and majestic scenery already exists and all that’s left for you to do now is experience it.
Ireland has some of the most beautiful castles in Europe. We’re talking fairy tale places that will send your imagination soaring from the moment you arrive. Irish Central has selected a few to visit for their ruined grandeur and a few to stay at that really have it all, history, style, superb service and a grantee you will be treated like royalty from the moment you arrive.
Built in 1228, on the shore of Lough Corrib, this fairytale castle has hosted guests like King George V, Queen Mary, and better yet the young Oscar Wilde (his father, Sir William Wilde, owned an estate next to Ashford where the young author, playwright and poet spent much of his childhood). Other celebrity guests have included Ronald Reagan, Prince Edward, Senator Edward Kennedy, John Wayne, Prince Rainier of Monaco and Princess Grace. To this day it is one of the top places to stay in Ireland, combining modern luxury with old world charm. It’s an unmissable treat.
Bunratty Castle was built in 1425 and it has actually retained the sparkling aura of the era in which it was built. The medieval age in Ireland was a high-spirited affair and all of the fun of that far off time will be recalled during your stay. A vacation at this spellbinding castle will transport you back in time (although you’ll bring along every modern comfort). Try a medieval castle banquet dinner or a traditional Irish music song and dance evening at this romantic castle.
The first castle on the grounds, of which not a trace now remains, was built in 1172 by either Hugh de Lacy, lord of Meath, or by his up and coming tenant Adam de Phepoe. Clontarf is remarkable because it was once held by the Knights Templar and after their suppression in 1308 it passed to the Knights Hospitaller, until they were in turn deprived of it at the Dissolution of the Monasteries. In 1541 it was surrendered to the English Crown. In 1600 Queen Elizabeth I gave the entire estate to Sir Geoffrey Fenton, her secretary of state for Ireland. Through marriage, it passed onto his descendants to the King family. It’s a most evocative and unforgettable castle and now also a first class hotel that you should not miss.