The general reaction if you mention to somebody about the concept of staying in an Irish castle for a holiday or vacation is to the order of a deep intake of breath and a query about whether there will be ghosts present. Or will they need to bring thermal underwear because of the awful cold and damp.
We cannot speak personally speak here for the presence or otherwise of ghosts, but we can definitely advise those doubters that you will be more than impressed with the choice and the facilities that are available in the 60 plus Castle Hotels that are operating accommodation and leisure facilities on the island of Ireland.
If you are celebrating a special occasion, be it an anniversary or special birthday, then consideration of a break in an Ireland Castle Hotel is a very original and novel method by which to achieve this. Throughout the country castles are offering everything from one night deals to month-long stays at prices which seem surprising affordable given the cachet that is associated with staying in a castle.
Many castles operate as 5-star hotels on the same lines as standard hotels and use conventional booking systems that given you great value options and packages. Famous hotels in this category include, Ashford Castle, near Cong in Galway, Dromoland Castle in Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare and Waterford Castle, nestling majestically on its own island just outside Waterford City. Hotels like these offer top class facilities from luxurious spas to golf courses through to equestrian, fishing and shooting amenities. All would have exceptional dining and gourmet restaurant facilities as well. They are not cheap, but nonetheless offer great value for money on the basis of the utter luxury and pampering that they give the visitor who will leave with unforgettable memories.
Other castle hotels in Ireland operate group rental from a weekend to a month, with the most popular period of stay being of a week long. Here, a group of friends ranging from 10 to about 30 depending on the castle size actually rent the castle for a week complete with servants, all meals and services that the facility offers. Many of these will have leisure amenities depending on their star rating whilst others will be more like a retreat setting with good but basic accommodation and attractions. It is truly a wonderfully different way to experience an Irish castle. Castles like Smarmore Castle in Co Louth offer such an arrangement and you can literally be King of the Castle for week in places such as these.
No Irish castle is complete without the resident ghost, of course! Those that haven’t got one will usually suggest the possible presence of strange beings and some castles actually offer themed ghost experiences that are designed to give you a hair-raising time.
One castle that does not need to put on any artificial effects is Leap Castle in the Slieve Bloom mountains in County Offaly. Generally recognised as the most haunted castle in Ireland, its bloody history provides it with surfeit of ghostly experiences that have enthralled experts in the field of the occult and spiritual worldwide. It is only partly habitable and very reasonable in price to stay but with basic facilities. However, be prepared to be frightened and if you are of the faint – hearted variety, perhaps this particular Irish castle might not be for you!