Best Ireland Castle Stays for Families
So you want to stay in an Irish castle, eh?! The better question is: who wouldn’t want to stay in an Irish castle? And particularly if you have children, there could be few more “Bucket List” adventures to have than pretending you’re a medieval knight heading back to your grand estate. The good news is: in Ireland, you can absolutely make this a reality. There are multiple “Castle Hotels,” but in this article, I’m especially honing in on the “Best Ireland Castle Stays for Families,” where kids are more than welcome…
There are five amazing castle hotels listed below that are ideal for families ~ but they require renting a car, as the closest castle is an hour from Dublin. If you are limited on time, but still want to stay in a castle: check out the Clontarf Castle Hotel, which is about 10 minutes from downtown Dublin.
Map of Ireland Castle Hotels
Kinnity Castle Hotel
Kilkea Castle Hotel
Clontarf Castle Hotel
Tips for Renting a Car in Ireland
If you’re wanting to visit a castle or two while in Ireland, renting a car is a must. It just requires getting comfortable driving on the left side of the road: which is weird at first (you may hit a few curbs), but definitely do-able. The country is relatively small, & having a car is the best way to get around ~ especially if you want to visit places like the Blarney Stone, County Cork, the Ring of Kerry, & the Cliffs of Moher (which are close to both Dromoland Castle & Adare Manor).
If you’re uncomfortable driving a stick shift, be sure to reserve in advance on Discover Cars & specify that you need an automatic.
Overview of Kid-Friendly Irish Castle Stays
- Kilkea Castle Hotel & Golf Resort ($179+/night) = 55 miles from Dublin: At less than an hour’s drive from Dublin, this is one of the country’s most accessible castles for international visitors. And with prices under $200/night, this is one of the more budget-friendly castle stays. Kids will enjoy playing “hide & seek” in the extensive gardens, swimming in the pool, taking a boat tour or horseback riding lessons; a spa & golf course will keep Mom & Dad smiling.
- Kinnitty Castle Hotel ($204+/night) = 70 miles from Dublin: A 90 minute-drive from Dublin will land you on over 650 acres of parkland, where you’ll find the Gothic 13th-century Kinnitty Castle. There’s a tennis court, clay pigeon shooting, horseback riding, & spa treatments offered here ~ as well as a Library Bar, pub-style bar, & Afternoon Tea.
- Adare Manor & Golf Resort ($1,209+/night) = 130 miles from Dublin: A two-hour drive will bring you to one of Ireland most spectacular five-star properties, Adare Manor. The price tag here is higher than the first two castles ~ but for the extra price, you’ll receive some of the best service in Ireland, 840 acres of natural beauty to explore, an indoor pool, bike rentals, clay pigeon shooting, a beautiful golf course, world-class spa, four-poster beds, & claw-foot tubs. This is truly a magical, once-in-a-lifetime kind of place….the kids will never forget.
- **Dromoland Castle ($742+/night) = 140 miles from Dublin: Dromoland has been welcoming guests since the 16th century! Talk about history. Close to the Cliffs of Moher, there’s a lot to see & do around this castle ~ if you can tear the kids away from its storied walls; of all the castles here, Dromoland probably looks the MOST like a true castle. You can play tennis here, go fishing, golf, book a massage at their spa, take a sauna, engage in archery or falconry, take a horse & carriage ride, bike around the estate, or even go paddle-boarding in the warmer months! For junior guests, they also offer board games, movies for kids, & go karts…kids will be in serious HEAVEN here!!
- Ashford Castle ($760+night) = 150 miles from Dublin: Located close to Galway & nearly three hours from Dublin is my personal favorite Irish castle: Ashford. Sitting on the banks of a magical lake, the views here & castle ambience are incredible. For the kids, you’ve got a Falconry School, Archery instruction, boat trips, fishing, hiking, biking, clay shooting, horseback riding, & golf. There are several restaurants & a gorgeous parlor where we spent nearly afternoon…either drinking tea or an elegant (spiked) French coffee! And there’s also a beautiful spa with an indoor pool & sauna.
Photos of Kilkea & Kinnitty Castles
Kilkea & Kinnitty Castles are two of the closest castle stays to Dublin, with both being about an hour’s drive from the capital.
What Kids Will Love about Kilkea Castle: They’ll LOVE the under-an-hour drive from Dublin (no “Are we there yets?!”) & learning archery or falconry with a castle backdrop ~ Mom & Dad will love the price, as Kilkea is one of Ireland’s most affordable castle stays.
Check prices at Kilkea Castle.
What Kids Will Love about Kinnitty Castle: They’ll love the short drive from Dublin, & riding horses through the Slieve Bloom Mountains ~ or in the summer, taking a stand-up paddle board “Safari” on the River Shannon….then coming home to cozy board games at night.
Check prices at Kinnitty Castle.
Photos of Adare Manor & Dromoland
Adare Manor & Dromoland Castle are a little further out than the first two castles, but you’ll get more of a feeling of opulence & splendor at both of these hotels. And it puts you closer to the West Coast & incredible sights like the Cliffs of Moher.
What Kids Will Love about Adare Manor: Learning archery or falconry in the “Walled Gardens,” or biking around 840 acres of woodlands….while Mom enjoys La Mer Spa, & Dad plays the new Tom Fazio-designed golf course. Within easy driving distance are the Cliffs of Moher, Ring of Kerry, & the Blarney Stone!
Check prices at Adare Manor.
What Kids Will Love about Dromoland Castle: Kids will love EVERYTHING about this place: they’ll have more activities to choose from than time to do them ~ but the Go Karts, Outdoor “Bug Hotel,” swimming, archery, & clay shooting all rank high. There’s also a “Children’s Club” offering daily activities…in case Mom & Dad want a day of their own to play.
Check prices at Dromoland Castle.
“Timelessness drips from the hills, the fields, the sky. Great, gray clouds hang low, over acres of glistening emerald. Tendrils of gauzy linen trail silken traces of buttery dampness, to caress the skin with a tender touch. These are the fabrics & textures of West Ireland & our beloved Dromoland Castle. They form a cloak that envelops the body & nurtures the soul.
We will be back ~ of that we have no doubt.”
– From a Recent Visitor to Dromoland
Best Ireland Castle Stays for Families
If you’re visiting Galway, one of the closest castles you can stay in is Ashford Castle. I stayed here many years ago, & it’s still one of my favorite hotels I’ve ever stayed in. What sets it apart from the other castles here is the fact that it sits on a beautiful lake, & the sunsets witnessed from the castle are otherworldly…
What Kids Will Love About Ashford Castle: They’ll love taking a morning walk with the Castle’s dogs (yes, they can really do this!), Movie Matinees with popcorn, going on a Treasure Hunt, or learning falconry. There’s also a “Lego Butler” & experienced babysitters available…
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