Enchanting Luxury Getaways
Ireland may only be the size of the state of Indiana, and yet its expansive emerald countryside boasts an abundant collection of castles, mansions and manors, each more magical than the last. While we loved our time in cosmopolitan Dublin, we were equally excited to getaway and experience the best of what the surrounding scenery has to offer. From Kim and Kanye’s honeymoon hotel to the former home of a powerful pirate Queen, we’ve rounded up the most exquisite luxury resorts to inspire your next Irish escape.
Looking to escape into another classic time period in Irish history? Well, step into the 13th century at the splendid and historic Ashford Castle. Dating back to 1288, the Ashford Castle was recently named the number one best resort hotel in Ireland by Travel + Leisure for both its historic roots and its top-notch modern amenities. The castle sits on 350 picturesque emerald acres, offering a host of activities and spa treatments. For a classic and elegant night away from Dublin, look no further than this dreamy fairytale getaway.
The gorgeous Lough Eske Castle invites you to escape into a mystical Celtic forest, while still providing world-class accommodations, fine dining and concierge services. The castle sits on a 43-acre property nestled in the woods between the majestic coast of Lough Eske and the Blue Stack mountains. Blending the historic past with contemporary elegance, the castle’s architecture must be seen to be believed and once you arrive, you’ll understand why the property was named one of the world’s best luxury hotels for five years in a row.
Surrounded by medieval ruins and in the heart of County Limerick, Adare Manor is a five-star Irish
countryside experience. After just a brief drive from Dublin, you and your loved one could be strolling along the ancient stonewall gardens, or ambling through the winding woodland paths in the surrounding forests. It should be mentioned however, that the Manor is under construction for the remainder of 2016 and looking forward to a fabulous revamp.
One of Ireland’s finest and most iconic castle hotels, the Dromoland Castle offers a gorgeous experience that can only be described as “The Royal Treatment,” complete with glittering antique chandeliers and grand staircases. Built in the 16th century, Dromoland was at one time the seat of the Royal O’Brien Clan and is one of the few castle estates that traces its roots all the way back to the native Gaelic Irish families and founders.
If you want a quintessential Irish country manor getaway, look no further than the Castlemartyr Resort. Located just a three hour drive from Dublin in beautiful Cork county, Castlemartyr Resort consists of a stunning 17th century manor home built on the ruins of an 800-year-old castle. But don’t worry: the beautifully-appointed rooms and the state-of-the-art spa (with 10 individual treatment areas) ensure that this resort has one foot in the past, and one foot in the present.
Drive just 90 minutes from the bustling center of Dublin, and you could find yourself in (let’s be honest) paradise. This stunning Irish mansion sits on 614 acres and offers a host of luxurious private activities and amenities. Also, it’s not like us to name drop, but we will say that a certain Kim and Kanye spent their honeymoon here. Luckily, however, Ballyfin offers more than just celebrity and notoriety—the resort and breathtakingly beautiful surroundings stand on their own.
Recently named as one of the top four castle hotels in Ireland, Ballynahinch offers a picturesque escape from the capital and a welcome immersion into the countryside just outside the lovely city of Galway. The castle is centered on a 450-acre estate that’s steeped in legendary Irish lore. In fact, it’s said that the original owner of the castle was the infamous Irish Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley. According to legend, her spirit can be seen in the myriad of walking trails and forests that surround the historic property.
This highly-rated resort and spa is located right on the shores of Lake Leane, in close proximity to the fabled Killarney lake region. Known for its world-class restaurants and spa (which was named top spa of the year by the World Spa and Wellness Awards), the Europe Hotel and Spa is a perfectly indulgent couple’s retreat, with scenery and amenities that rank among the best in Europe.
Lough Cutra is a wonderfully private and intimate country retreat. With just nine bedrooms and a 17 person guest limit, this exclusive family home offers some of the best hospitality in Galway. It also happens to be steeped in Irish history and has hosted many notable figures including Lady Augusta Gregory, Irish President Michael Higgins and famed writers like WB Yeats and James Joyce. With a rich history and a massive Irish art collection, it’s no wonder Lough Cutra is known as an Irish gift to the world.
The Kildare Club may seem close to Ireland’s modern city center, but you’ll be thrilled to discover an escape as enchanting as any just 40 minutes away. Dating back to 1832, The Kildare Hotel was recently named as Ireland’s first Double AA five-star luxury hotel. After setting foot on the surrounding 550 acre grounds and exploring the French chateau property on the banks of the Liffey River, you’ll immediately understand why.
Built along the gorgeous Sheen Falls, this exquisite lodge is a five-star experience well worth the slightly longer drive from Dublin. The Sheen Falls Lodge represents the gold-standard in Irish hospitality (including beautifully appointed rooms, a five-star spa and the atmospheric Cascade restaurant), with an extraordinary location and landscape to match.
The Monart Spa was recently named one of the top three spa retreats in the world by Conde Nast Traveller, and frankly, it shows. A mere two hours from Dublin, this petite and tasteful wellness center is a relaxing way to end any Irish adventure on a healthy note. With 68 luxury bedrooms to choose from and high-quality cuisine to help you detox, Monart Spa lives up to its ranking and name as Ireland’s only destination spa.
The Cliff House is one of the newer entries on this list, but it has quickly established itself as one of Ireland’s go-to countryside destinations. The accommodations are modern and comfortable, but what really sets the hotel apart is renowned chef Martin Kajuiter’s restaurant. Featuring dishes like local smoked-on-the-plate salmon and Linsmore lamb and artichokes, it’s easy to see why the Cliff House was awarded with a Michelin star a mere 18 months after opening.
Ard na Sidhe means “Hill of the Fairies” and after setting foot on this property, you can’t help but feel the magic. This pitch-perfect arts-and-crafts style home is a classic delight dating back to 1913. From the intimate 18-bedroom manor, to the Edwardian gardens and Caragh Lake views, the Country House lives up to its reputation as one of Ireland’s best kept secrets—perhaps the fairies keep it hidden for a reason.
Known as one of the most personable five-star hotels in all of Ireland, the Park Hotel Kenmare is an elegant but classic resort experience, without the fuss. Guests will love to visit the charming nearby village of Kenmare, with its beautiful surrounding bay. The hotel is run by the two lovely Brennan siblings, who bring a special local touch to the experience and make you feel right at home.