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Do as the Royals Do in Ireland

I hope you aren’t tired of hearing about our Ireland vacation just yet, because I still have to tell you about the highlight: how we had our very own Downton Abbey experience by sleeping in a castle in County Clare.

Dromoland Castle, County Clare, Ireland(I’d like to think that my mother is the Dowager Countess of Grantham, I am Lady Mary and my sister is Edith. OK, fine, she can be Lady Sybil.)

Dromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandDromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandThere are so many castles in Scotland and Ireland that I got overwhelmed just thinking about which of them to stay in, so I asked my friend who goes over there multiple times a year, and he gave me his top three: Ashford, Adare and Dromoland. Many of the castles don’t allow you to book online, so I reached out to all three of them for availability (and to see if there were any rooms that accommodated three people, an incessant problem we had while traveling through Europe). Dromoland was the one that got back to me. So go to Dromoland we did.

Dromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandFor as old as the castle is, oddly enough our room was very modern—and huge.

Dromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandDromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandDromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandAnd staff leaves chocolates and a cute note in your room each night. How can you not love that?

Dromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandLuckily, Dromoland was the one place where we had two full days and two nights to just chill out, a nice change from the fast pace of the rest of our trip. (If you travel with me, note that you won’t get a whole lot of downtime! So much to do, see, eat, photograph.)

Dromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandDromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandDromoland was first built in the 15th century and has changed hands a number of times over the past 600 years. In 1962, it was converted from a home to a luxury hotel, while preserving the architecture and history of the property.

Dromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandDromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandIn the 1990s, it was bought by some American investors who wanted to keep the legend alive. Two years ago, it was given a €5 million facelift, so everything throughout the hotel is updated, such as the technology, the wireless Internet, the whole nine yards.

Dromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandWe explored the castle’s every nook and cranny. We also got the general manager to show us into some of the other quarters, which were surprisingly different from our own.

Dromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandAs a travel writer and now a travel adviser, I like to see as many different levels of rooms as possible every time I visit a property. You never know when that kind of insight might come in handy.

Dromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandAnd how cool would it be to get married here? I’m one of those hopeless romantics who would have loved nothing more than having a fairytale castle wedding. (SVV, what do you think to renewing our vows in a few years?!)

Dromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandThere’s even a salon and a spa on site, so you needn’t bring in outside stylists and therapists for your wedding day.

Dromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandWe didn’t indulge in a massage at the spa, but we did engage in a little friendly sister rivalry by way of a chess duel, Harry Potter style.

Dromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandThere were plenty of other activities, some complimentary and others for a fee, such as biking, archery and golf. Overall, my first stay in a castle far exceeded my greatest expectations, and I was glad we were able to make it happen as it was the one thing my mom requested demanded when I was planning our trip. Plus, this is one of those items that has long been on my Life List and which I now finally can check off.

Dromoland Castle, County Clare, IrelandDromoland Castle, County Clare, Ireland

Have you ever stayed in a castle?

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Comments ( 46 )

  1. My husband and I traveled in Ireland before we had kids and stayed in both Ashford Castle and Waterford Castle – both are amazing! I’m currently plotting a return to Ireland – perhaps during our spring break in March. My 9 year old has been pleading to spend St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin so that’s my excuse for having Ireland currently at the top of my list. She was very disappointed yesterday though when I told her that I wasn’t sure that they dyed the river green in Dublin so I had to pull out my trump card – But we could stay in a castle!! She’s now enthusiastically back onside so I just have to convince my husband… I was looking at the Dromoland website last night – it looks beautiful and your photos of it are gorgeous! Do you think a 9 year old girl would enjoy staying there??
    Lisa recently posted..Happy Holidays 2012My Profile

    • I really hope y’all stay there! I do think a nine year old would enjoy Dromoland as much as she would any castle stay.

    • My husband and 10 year old daughter stayed in Dromoland last August. I can tell you for certain, that kids LOVE staying in this castle. Everyone made my daughter feel like a princess. They stocked the room with a robe and slippers that were just her size. She also had cookies with her name on them with a glass of milk waiting in the room after check in. There was also plenty to do on the grounds that kept her very entertained! Staying at Dromoland was definitely a highlight of our tour of Ireland, we loved it.

      • Thanks, Danya – it’s nice to know that someone else has taken kids there and had an enjoyable stay! It sounds exactly like the kind of place my Emma would love – in her mind she is a princess!
        Lisa recently posted..Looking Back at 2012My Profile

  2. Yes, we have stayed in a castle – DROMOLAND!! I can’t believe you stayed there as well. It was absolutely my husband’s favorite place to stay of all the places we have stayed over the years. How can you not like a place with a suit of armor in the lobby?? We spent a lot of time just wandering around the estate, both in a golf cart and on foot and had some great food when we stayed there. We loved the chocolates so much that we asked the maids for more and they gladly brought us several boxes – so nice! Did you see that room that had the huge round tub in a turret? And the suite that had several levels? Maybe next time…
    Jan Ross recently posted..5 Florida Destinations to Help You Escape the SnowMy Profile

    • What? I could have had multiple boxes of chocolates? I’ll remember that next time =)

      I didn’t see any of the suites, as I think they were all full. How cool, though!

  3. Swoon. It’d be just like Downton Abbey!.

    xox
    heidikins recently posted..Confessions of a Bookaholic: Books Read in 2012 (Part 4)My Profile

  4. I have slept in a coule of chateaus in France, not royals ones mind you, but still part of the aristocracy and it was a very cool experience.
    Andi recently posted..(Not quite) Wordless Wednesday #179: “Secret” CIA CollectionMy Profile

  5. Does anyone really like Edith? Lovely pics.
    Caroline Eubanks recently posted..My Favorite Eats of 2012My Profile

  6. No castles for me, yet. But I think being treated like a Lady here would make a fairytale come true.
    Gaelyn recently posted..National Park Pass or Wild Card in South AfricaMy Profile

  7. What a dream it would be to stay in a castle. I’m sure I would spend all my budget buying beautiful gowns to flutter about in so that I could match the location. Love the description and now I have a new dream for next time I go to Europe!
    Danielle recently posted..Pho sure!My Profile

  8. You’re making it harder and harder for me to avoid a 2013 trip to Ireland. I just can’t resist after reading all your posts!
    Angie Away recently posted..A Walk in VeniceMy Profile

  9. Oh, I want to go to Ireland so badly! My great-grandpa was from there – my maiden name is Moran. :)
    Angella recently posted..Minor AnnoyancesMy Profile

  10. I’m actually planning on making a trip to Ireland this coming summer — like Angella, that’s where tons of my family comes from but I’ve never actually been!

    Oh, and I love the red/green contrast between the inside and outside of this place. Beautiful pictures.
    Kevin recently posted..Hello world!My Profile

  11. Wow, what stunning pictures! Kristin, you really sold me on the whole castle experience with manicured lawns, impeccably groomed butlers and redder than roses carpeting. All so Downtown Abbey without the Director staring down at you. Love this post!
    Charu recently posted..A Christmas Affair: Affinia Hotels’ American Girl SuiteMy Profile

  12. Looks like an absolutely amazing place! Also, I’m pretty sure we’d definitely make incredible travel buddies because slowing down is not something I tend to do on vacation. It’s generally against my travel religion as there’s just too much to see and do and eat and drink.
    terra recently posted..{5 Points} The 5 Year Anniversary Edition: Random Us ThingsMy Profile

    • I mean, the reasons are just piling up. When are we going on a road trip together then? I envision a lot of singing and jazz hands, maybe a bit of dancing here and there. And obviously, ALL the animals can come with.

  13. No I have not, and strangely I have no desire to. However, I am totally with you on the whip-cracking when it comes to travel. On longer trips I do slow down and chill out, but if I have a week somewhere I will fill every waking moment in order to make the most of it!
    Alex recently posted..Maui’s Famed Road to HanaMy Profile

  14. How fun! I’ve always wanted to stay in a castle. Now I’m even more eager!
    Ferreting Out The Fun recently posted..Wat Pho and the Reclining Buddha of BangkokMy Profile

  15. I lived in Ireland for 6 months when I was studying abroad (University of Limerick) and although I visited many castles, I never got to stay in one that was as beautiful as the one I’m seeing here!

    Not to mention, it was quite dreary when I was there, and you certainly have some beautiful photos that proves otherwise!

    • It was quite dreary the rest of the time other than one brief afternoon at Dromoland (it rained for part of the day) and a few hours while we were driving the Ring of Kerry. The rest of the time was rain and hail and double rainbows!

  16. Chocolates every nights?! I’ll take it!

    I need to get to Ireland.
    Erica recently posted..Coming Home for Baby CMy Profile

  17. Ohhhhhh I love castles!! (Who doesn’t.) My favorite photo is the very last one. You and your sister are so freaking cute!
    Abby recently posted..So colorful: our San Francisco Chinatown tourMy Profile

  18. Wow… what amazing rooms! I stayed in a castle up in the Scottish highlands, it was just a hostel so not as fancy as Dromoland

  19. Your room is ginormous! And I love Downton Abbey, I don’t know why I am so addicted but I love that show.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Where to stay in LondonMy Profile

  20. I have been waiting and waiting for this post! Incredible!!! I want to stay there one day!

  21. Harry Potter chess! The whole place looks beautiful, and it’s interesting that there are so many different styles under one roof. I could definitely enjoy a few days lazing around a castle like this.
    Emily in Chile recently posted..This is ChileMy Profile

  22. I love reading about your experiences, especially this post. I LOVE Dowton Abbey!
    Check out my travel blog!
    http://www.kmosher16.blogspot.com/

  23. Great collection of photo. I really like it. And I think its a good holiday place ever I seen.Thanks for sharing .

  24. There’s something medieval/Renaissance about staying in a castle. At a point, though, at least to me, it doesn’t seem authentic anymore. As lavish as that castle is, the essence is lost to a desire for hotels to be as modern as possible. What do you think?
    Will recently posted..99. The Great Fruitcake TossMy Profile

  25. Eda O Donnell May 14, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    thank you…

  26. We are staying here in a couple weeks with Adventures By Disney and sooo looking forward to it. Loved your pictures and commentary to give us a feel of what we will experience. Thanks for sharing!
    Sean @DisneyDayByDay recently posted..Favorite Food Friday: Nutella and fresh fruit waffle sandwichMy Profile

  27. Can anyone tell me a night cost for a suit?

  28. Can anyone tell me how much it cost for a day in a suit room.

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