Take Me There: 5 Best Castle Hotels in Ireland

Always dreamt of being a Lord or Lady?  This St. Patrick's Day, why not plan an escape to one of these Irish castles turned hotels?  Ireland is filled with beautiful castles, and you'll see each has a unique style and feel.  These are my picks for playing king of the castle, after all "a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures" - Irish words to live by!

Dromoland Castle

This castle hotel  is full of traditional decor with a slightly modern twist.  If you love gardening and walks, this is the place for you.  Not only are there  two manicured gardens to stroll, the property also has some of the oldest and largest trees in Ireland.

  ©  Dromoland Castle

©Dromoland Castle

  ©  Dromoland Castle

©Dromoland Castle

 ©Dromoland Castle

©Dromoland Castle

Lough Eske Castle

Located just outside Donegal Town, Lough Eske Castle has been chosen as one of the top hotels in Ireland by Condé Nast Traveler, and it's not hard to see why.  Known for its updated style, and fairy tale setting, it feels almost too good to be true. 

 ©Lough Eske Castle

©Lough Eske Castle

 ©Lough Eske Castle

©Lough Eske Castle

 ©Lough Eske Castle

©Lough Eske Castle

 ©Lough Eske Castle

©Lough Eske Castle

 ©Lough Eske Castle

©Lough Eske Castle

Ballynahinch Castle

Because of its secluded location on over 450 acres in the heart of Connemara Co. Galway, Ballynahinch Castle is one of my personal favorites.  Self described as an "unpretentious castle hotel," it boasts a salmon fishery and has the 12 Bens Mountain Range to its back.   If you enjoy numerous outdoor actives such as hiking, shooting, fishing, and biking, this property is highly recommended.

  ©Ballynahinch Castle

©Ballynahinch Castle

 © Ballynahinch Castle

©Ballynahinch Castle

 © Ballynahinch Castle

©Ballynahinch Castle

 © Ballynahinch Castle

©Ballynahinch Castle

Ashford Castle

The most traditional on the list, Ashford Castle is for those who want to truly feel as though they are in another era.  With 83 rooms on the shores of Lough Corrib, a killer spa, and bag piper serenades, this castle has a reputation for being one of the best.

 ©Ashford Castle

©Ashford Castle

  ©Ashford Castle

©Ashford Castle

 ©Ashford Castle

©Ashford Castle

 ©Ashford Castle

©Ashford Castle

Adare Manor

Technically a manor, and not a castle (details, details), I couldn't help but add this hotel to the list.  Adare Manor closed in January for 18 months of extensive renovations and restoration, and I cannot wait to see its completion.  The property includes a golf course named one of Ireland's best by Golf Digest, as well as falconry and archery experiences, and a full service spa, making it a great place for travelers with a variety of interests.

  ©Adare Manor

©Adare Manor

  ©Adare Manor

©Adare Manor

 ©Adare Manor

©Adare Manor

 ©Adare Manor

©Adare Manor

If these castles have you day dreaming about the land of green, let us help you plan an Irish escape, you'll surely feel like the luckiest traveler around!  Erin Go Bragh!


Are you ready to escape?  Contact us to start planning your next vacation.

Valentine's Day Gift List

With sub zero temperatures coming to Pittsburgh this weekend, I'm looking forward to a lazy Valentine's Day with my husband, lounging in our pj's and enjoying a mimosa brunch, while getting reacquainted with our maxed out DVR, and wishing we were still here .  I can't resist the Hallmark holiday, so these are my picks for some sweetheart swag.  If you have a Valentine who loves to travel as much as me, any of the gifts on this list will guarantee a Valentine smooch - xo!

 ©Stock & Olive

©Stock & Olive

1.  Who wouldn't love their beau in a pink suit?

2. The sweetest winter set for the tiniest of sweethearts.

3. Travel sizes for the guy who doesn't want stubble on the go.

4. Dying over these red hot slippers, the perfect shoe for leisurely strolling from day to night.

5. I've had my Tumi locks for years, and these ones are especially nice because they make for easy bag identification.

6. Does your honey constantly take notes or make lists while traveling?  These notebooks are the best for keeping things neat and pretty.

7.  This bag screams - "Take me somewhere warm!" 

8. Portable candles can turn any generic hotel room into a relaxing retreat or romantic rendezvous.

9. Obsessed is an understatement of how I feel about these lip balms, just a hint of color and lots of hydration, keeps my lips soft durning the longest of travel days.

10. If your darling likes to be prepared for the smallest travel hiccup, this kit makes even sewing a button look chic.

11. A lovely scent in a TSA friendly spritz bottle.

12. Can't live without my packing cubes, and this set is extra thoughtful when monogramed.

13. The perfect set for lounging at home or in a Tahitian bungalow.

14. For the traveler who loves a warm beverage to go.

15. This book for a relaxing Valentine's Day on the beach or next to a cozy fire.

16. For the wanderlust obsessed, a calendar for a new city escape every month.

17. Whether boardwalk or asphalt cruising, this bike would make exploring more fun.

 

Are you ready to escape?  Contact us to start planning your next vacation.

Feliz Ano Novo!

I promise to finish blogging the final two parts of our autumn European jaunt, but first I wanted to share how I celebrated the holidays.  

Last July we decided to spend our Christmas vacation in Portugal.  My mother was recently diagnosed with cancer and said she preferred to escape for the holidays to experience something new, so Portugal it was.

To give some background, my mother and father in law currently reside in the Lisbon area, so this was not my first Christmas in the sunny Western European city, and I couldn't wait to show it off.  My parents, my brother and his fiancée, and my husband and I, headed across the pond, joining the other half of our family to toast port and have a Feliz Natal.  All thirteen of us, celebrating at my gracious in law's gorgeous home by the sea, a true family holiday.  There was lots of eating, palace hopping, dune walking, and port sipping, enough to fill anyone's heart with the joy of the season.  And despite it not being a "classic" Christmas, replacing snowballs with sandcastles, the abundance of sunshine and pasteis made us not want to celebrate any other way.

 ©Stock & Olive

©Stock & Olive

 ©Stock & Olive

©Stock & Olive

 ©Stock & Olive

©Stock & Olive

 ©Stock & Olive

©Stock & Olive

 ©Stock & Olive

©Stock & Olive

 ©Stock & Olive

©Stock & Olive

 © Stock & Olive

© Stock & Olive

 ©Stock & Olive

©Stock & Olive

 ©Stock & Olive

©Stock & Olive

 ©Stock & Olive

©Stock & Olive

 ©Stock & Olive

©Stock & Olive

 ©Stock & Olive

©Stock & Olive

 ©Stock & Olive

©Stock & Olive

 ©Stock & Olive

©Stock & Olive

In the future there will be more detailed information outlining travel to Portugal, but for this post I simply wanted to document our holiday merriment in this beautiful country.  If you have questions about traveling to Lisbon and beyond, please contact us, we would love to take you there!

 

Are you ready to escape?  Contact us to start planning your next vacation.