The Best Resorts in Ireland for Every Traveller

Adare Manor Hotel sits in the beautiful Irish countryside of Co Limerick
Adare Manor Hotel sits in the beautiful Irish countryside of Co Limerick | © Silvester Kalcik / Getty Images
Photo of David Gordon
9 January 2021

Ireland is renowned for its castles and country estates. The great thing is that, in many cases, you can stay in them – total luxury and quintessential Irish hospitality, included. On the Emerald Isle, fairytale castles and country estates come with spas, bars and Michelin stars. From Kerry to Kildare, here are some of our turret-topped favourites.

Great Southern Killarney, Co Kerry

Great Southern Killarney, Co Kerry

A retreat for over 160 years, Great Southern has the famous Irish welcome down to a tee. The resort is a place where time seems to slow down as guests enjoy the 6 acres (2ha) of grounds, a spa and an indoor pool. Rooms are decorated in warm, restful colours, reflecting the resort’s heritage, and each one offers luxuries, such as White Company toiletries. Meals include fresh local ingredients, served in the Victorian-era Garden Room restaurant, which showcases Kerry’s countryside.

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Parknasilla Resort and Spa, Co Kerry

Parknasilla Resort and Spa, Co Kerry

Surrounded by mountains, yet on the seashore, the 500-acre (202ha) Parknasilla Resort has been revered as a retreat for over 100 years. Nostalgia, romance and a certain charm permeate every part of the resort, particularly the guest rooms, which come with wedge-thick pillows, antique furniture, fresh-cut flowers and more. One of the suites is named after Grace Kelly, who visited in the summer of 61. The spa is enriched by the natural beauty of Kenmare Bay’s inlets, islands and beaches, with terraces and a thermal suite poised to take in the view.

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Kilkea Castle, Co Kildare

Kilkea Castle, Co Kildare

Dating back to 1180, Kilkea is one of the oldest inhabited castles in Ireland, surrounded by 180 acres (73ha) of woodland and gardens. The resort offers rooms in the castle itself, Carriage rooms in the courtyard and self-catering lodges, too. The spa has a state-of-the-art thermal suite, traditional treatments and Elemis Biotec facials, plus personal training, too. Dining is a royal experience, particularly in the castle’s Restaurant 1180, feathered with sweeping peacock-blue curtains set around mullioned windows and tables fanning out around a sturdy stone fire, all overlooking the rose garden.

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The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens, Co Kerry

The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens, Co Kerry

This 64-acre (26ha) estate at the scenic Gap of Dunloe mountain pass blends a tranquil setting with upscale sophistication. Many rooms offer balconies or terraces overlooking the gardens and sloping emerald-green scenery. Guests can use the resort’s pool and leisure facilities or set off for country pursuits such as pony trekking and fishing.

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Mount Juliet Estate Manor House, Co Kilkenny

Mount Juliet Estate Manor House, Co Kilkenny

Each room of this historic manor house is individually designed and named after a famous figure connected with the estate, which dates back to the 1700s. Guests can enjoy the walking, running and biking trails around the 500-acre (202ha) swathe of greenery, which also takes in the River Nore and the paddocks of the Ballylinch Stud, before relaxing in the swimming pool, sauna or steam rooms or indulging with a spa treatment. The resort’s Michelin-starred restaurant Lady Helen offers classic Irish dishes served with a creative flair.

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Lough Eske Castle, Co Donegal

Lough Eske Castle, Co Donegal

Set in 43 acres (17ha) at the foot of mountains in idyllic Co Donegal, Lough Eske Castle offers rooms with oak furniture, marble bathrooms and spectacular garden views. Cedars Restaurant features traditional dishes such as pan-roasted scallops and quail’s breast. Afterwards, guests can relax in the ornate living rooms beside open fires. The spa offers a steam room, sauna and pool as well as treatments.

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  • Dromoland Castle, Co Clare

    Dromoland Castle, Co Clare

    The imposing Dromoland Castle has been welcoming guests since the 16th century, but its roots date all the way back to 1014, when the O’Brien clan ruled from this roost. Today, the 450-acre (182ha) estate has a host of outdoor activities, such as horse riding, falconry and fishing, to lure you out from view-toting rooms, bedecked in sumptuous furniture and relaxing colour schemes. Elsewhere, creative cuisine and impeccable service are at the heart of the dining experience. The O’Briens would approve.

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    Adare Manor, Co Limerick

    Adare Manor, Co Limerick

    The Gothic splendour and world-class service of Adare Manor entice guests to return, time after time. Rooms are individually designed, beautifully furnished and have stunning views. Guests can dine by candlelight in the Michelin-starred Oak Room restaurant and enjoy artisan Irish ingredients paired with fine wines. Days at the manor are filled with discovery, with many outdoor and indoor activities available.

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    Powerscourt Hotel, Co Wicklow

    Powerscourt Hotel, Co Wicklow

    The Palladian-style architecture of Powerscourt Hotel is the first impression guests receive of the resort, set in a historic estate. Each exquisite guest room has a marble bathroom and luxury feather bedding. Sika Restaurant serves quintessential Irish fare against an elegant backdrop, and the spa features a 20m (66ft) Swarovski crystal-lit swimming pool. The Powerscourt Estate also has a distillery and waterfall to discover, too.

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    Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, Co Galway

    Resort, Luxury
    Map View
    Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, Co Galway
    Courtesy of Ballynahinch Castle Hotel / Booking.com

    Set in 700 acres (283ha) of woodland, rivers and walks in Connemara, Ballynahinch Castle overlooks its salmon fishery and the Twelve Bens mountain range. The Classic Rooms, set in the main castle, are finished with soft furnishings and accented with views of the grounds. The Owenmore Restaurant and Fisherman’s Pub offer a taste of Connemara’s seasonal larder. The hotel offers a host of activities on the grounds and beyond, including fishing, horse riding and hiking.

    These recommendations were updated on January 9, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.