A luxury chauffeur tour of Ireland is never complete without visiting a castle or two. These medieval structures are an integral part of the country’s landscape. They add an air of grandeur and antiquity, making the Emerald Isle’s sceneries even more enigmatically beautiful.
Most of these castles once served as the homes of influential Irish families. Reports claim that over 3,000 of them are scattered all over the island. While some have been restored to their former glory, others are in ruins and beyond saving. Yet, regardless of their state, these fortified palaces are mesmerising – each with an interesting story to tell.
If you are interested in exploring a castle or in spending a luxurious night in one, you surely have a number of options. So, where should you go? Below are some Irish castles that need to be on your itinerary:
Blarney Castle, County Cork
This is undeniably one of the most visited castles in the Emerald Isle. It owes its popularity to a stone located at the top of the castle called Blarney Stone.
Each year, thousands of pilgrims come here to kiss this mythic stone. Local stories claim that anyone who plants a smooch on it is going to receive the gift of eloquence.
There is so much more to this 15th century castle aside from the stone. For one, it has some impressive rooms worth exploring. Moreover, it houses several beautiful gardens, some of which feature interesting and rare fauna like mandrake and wolfsbane.
Kilkenny Castle, County Kilkenny
Kilkenny is otherwise known as the Medieval City. Here, a castle built in the 12th century stands on the River Nore. Steeped in history, it was a vital structure during the Norman Invasion. It was also the stronghold of the influential Butler Family.
The castle underwent a lot of changes over the years. Its Victorian design was the product of a major renovation in the 19th century. The highlight of the lavish interiors is the Long Gallery which is a room featuring photographs of the Butler Family. The exterior vistas are equally magnificent with a Rose Garden shaped like a Celtic High Cross.
Ashford Castle, County Mayo
Built around the 1200s, the castle’s designs are a mixture of medieval, Victorian and neo-Gothic architectures. All these were due to countless makeovers the place underwent throughout the years.
Nowadays, this castle is now known as one of Ireland’s top luxury hotels. The entire estate is so picture-worthy that it has been a favourite location for television shows and films, including John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara’s The Quiet Man.
So, if you want to experience how it’s like to be a royal even just for a night, consider staying at the Ashford Castle. Truly, sleeping in this grand 5-star hotel castle is going to make your chauffeur luxury tour even more memorable.
Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary
Sitting at the edge of Cashel in Tipperary is Ireland’s most recognisable castle – Rock of Cashel. For hundreds of years, it was the seat of power for the Kings of Munster.
This massive complex traces its roots to the 12th and 13th centuries. Aside from the castle, other noteworthy structures include a chapel and a cathedral. Undeniably, the entire area is a masterpiece that features superb architecture and craftsmanship.
Bunratty Castle, County Clare
Initially built in 1250, this well-loved Irish castle bore witness to the area’s violent history as it was destroyed and rebuilt several times. The structure that stands today was built in the 1400s and fully renovated in 1954. To restore its 1425 magnificence, 15th and 16th-century furnishings and arts were used.
Aside from the more than 450 historical artefacts it houses, the marvellous banquets held in the castle attract a lot of tourists each year. These amazing banquets let visitors experience what medieval gatherings were like. Truly, this is an experience of a lifetime as attendees get to feast and entertained just like the olden times.
Do you want to visit castles or sleep in one during your luxury chauffeur tour of Ireland? Let us help you plan a grand, relaxing and memorable trip. Visit our website now or call us at (T) + 353 (0)51 325969 or (M) 353 (0)87 6613619.