5 Fabulous Castles In Ireland To Add To Your Bucket List - The Gloss Magazine

5 Fabulous Castles In Ireland To Add To Your Bucket List

Impressive settings, picturesque grounds and stylish residents, these are the castles you should visit and stay in …

Huntington Castle & Gardens, Co Carlow

Located in the pretty village of Clonegal, Co Carlow, Huntington Castle is a fascinating Jacobean treasure and family home. Its present owners are Alexander Durdin Robertson, his wife, Clare, and their three sons. Alexander and Clare have opened tea rooms and offer overnight accommodation to guests in addition to castle and garden tours. Given the regal setting and backdrop, Huntington has also served as the location for fashion shoots photographed by Perry Ogden – supermodel Karen Elson was photographed in the grounds, and director Stanley Kubrick shot the house for his cult film Barry Lyndon (1974).

Guests can stay in the house, where rates are from €270 for a gorgeous double room for bed and breakfast, or rent one of two charming 17th-century gate lodges which guard the entrance to historic Huntington Castle. Each cottage sleeps four and prices start from €180 per night. Guests have access to the castle gardens as well as being on the doorstep of an award-winning bistro and traditional pub; www.huntingtoncastle.com.

Luttrellstown Castle, Castleknock, Dublin 15

Since it was built in the early 15th century, Luttrellstown Castle has had various owners, one of the most stylish being Aileen Plunkett, a member of the Guinness family, who was gifted the house when she married Brinsley Plunkett. The story goes that when Aileen was a young girl, she used to explore the grounds of Luttrellstown and wished for the house to be hers one day. While that is quite a result for fans of manifestation, Aileen used her home for glamorous parties during the 1920s and 1930s. She was part of The Mitford Sisters’ set and Luttrellstown was also used as the setting for the 1953 film The Knights of the Round Table starring Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner and Mel Ferrer. Aileen is remembered to this day; the majestic Aileen Plunkett suite, pictured, is a fitting tribute to her elegance. Other distinguished visitors have included Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, President Ronald Reagan, Fred Astaire and Paul Newman. Perhaps it is most famous for hosting David and Victoria Beckham’s 1999 wedding; it is a popular wedding and event venue. Most recently Dior hosted an exclusive event here.

The castle can be rented exclusively for groups and offers twelve bedrooms in addition to versatile reception rooms, lounges, a library, dining and ballrooms. Close to the Castle is the formal walled garden with its special rose display, an apple orchard and an arboretum with over 300 types of exotic trees and plants.  The resort also includes a 20-acre lake ideal for boating and angling. This month the Castle is offering special Easter Afternoon Teas, from €70, for enquiries visit; www.luttrellstowncastle.com.

Dromoland Castle, Co Clare

Dromoland Castle, Co Clare, has done much to keep the altruistic spirit of previous owner Lady Charlotte, the wife of the 4th Baronet Edward O’Brien, alive and also remind guests of the Castle’s connection to beautiful textiles which began 100 years ago. Lady Charlotte set up an embroidery school in Newmarket-on-Fergus and its speciality was whitework, a type of satin stitch using white thread on white fabric. If visiting the hotel, pop into Charlotte & Co, its boutique, where some of the best contemporary Irish designer brands are found including Colin Burke, Deborah Veale, Faye Dinsmore and Debbie Millington.

Currently a “Castle & Couture” is on offer in partnership with Brown Thomas, Limerick. This includes a two-night stay at Dromoland Castle, with breakfast each morning, a ‘sip and shop’ experience at Charlotte & Co., a shopping trip to Brown Thomas with a personal stylist and private chauffeur. Upon return guests will have a Mrs White’s Afternoon Tea served in the surrounds of the Earl of Thomond Restaurant. This package is available from €639 per person until May; www.dromoland.ie.

Ashford Castle, Co Mayo

Oozing opulence, Ashford Castle is the former home of the Guinness family and has welcomed the great and the good, including John Wayne, who filmed The Quiet Man nearby, Brad Pitt, Jack Nicholson and his former girlfriend, Anjelica Huston.

The 350-acre estate excels at outdoorsy activities, fine dining (in its George V restaurant) and wellness. For connoisseurs, The Spa at Ashford is not to be missed, in addition to its new health and fitness centre Éalú (meaning escape) where biophilic design and Natura Bisse treatments are notable features. Also worth a look is The Boutique at Ashford Castle where jewellery from Nigel O’Reilly, leather gloves by Paula Rowan, cashmere by Elaine Madigan Cashmere and silk scarves from Ciara Silke are part of the offering. There is also the Castle’s own range of silk pyjamas, blazers, ties and socks; www.ashfordcastle.com.

Castle Leslie, Co Monaghan

Castle Leslie Estate is one of the last great Irish castle estates still in the hands of its founding family – and its backstory is awash with politics, royalty and war. Perhaps a seminal moment in its recent history was as the setting for Paul McCartney’s wedding to Heather Mill. Since taking over the estate from her father, current owner Sammy Leslie’s ambition is “to enable guest entertainment on a grand scale.” I’d say this mission has been accomplished. The Castle features 21 unique bedrooms – so whether your idea of heaven is a romantic boudoir designed with relaxation and privacy in mind, or a flamboyant maximalist room, there’s a bedroom to suit your tastes. The recently restored West Wing Suite is a two-storey, two-bedroom suite in a private wing of Castle Leslie, with four-poster beds, roll-top baths, pretty balconies and a private spa treatment room – just right for a small group of friends or a couple to enjoy. Currently on offer is a one night break which includes a champagne and canapé reception, and table d’hôte dinner, from €250. Breakfast is served in the castle dining room and dinner in the lodge; www.irelands-blue-book.ie.


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