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Dromoland Castle – A Luxurious Ireland Hotel

Dromoland Castle – A Luxurious Ireland Hotel

CASTLES, DESTINATIONS, EUROPE, HOTELS, IRELAND, LUXURY TRAVEL

Having been told that this was the must-visit hotel in Ireland, we were very eager to arrive and begin the quintessential Dromoland experience. Dromoland Castle is a truly unique luxurious property that possesses everything you would expect from a castle experience. Upon arrival at the gate of Dromoland Castle, the sentient black grille is watched over by a guard in green garb. As we waited for the doors to part wide enough for our car to pass, we excitedly looked beyond at the fields of grass that surround the drive leading to the castle. Once inside, we drove up a path that overlooked a glassy lake on the left and a golfing center on the right. Our short journey ended with a cul-de-sac encompassed by the castle itself.

Seeing Dromoland Castle as we were driving into the property
Seeing Dromoland Castle as we were driving into the property
The cul de sac in front of Dromoland Castle, Ireland
The cul-de-sac in front of Dromoland Castle, Ireland
The front of our building in Dromoland Castle, Ireland
The front of our building in Dromoland Castle, Ireland

A member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts, the five-star Dromoland Castle is built of a dark blue limestone that starkly contrasts with its vibrant green surroundings. The castle’s history dates back all the way to the year 1002, when the High King of Ireland was Brian Boru.  His family, the O’Briens, Barons of Inchiquin, who were one of the few native Gaelic families of royal blood and direct descendants of Brian Boroimhe (Boru) have their portraits prominently displayed around the castle.

Our Arrival 

We were greeted immediately by the staff eagerly awaiting to assist us with luggage and our car.   We climbed the steps to the lobby area, which was filled with antique furnishing and armored knights guarding the reception.  Our check-in process was very quick.  We were escorted to our room by the bellhop.  Our rooms faced the opposite side of the main entrance across the cul-de-sac driveway.

Dreamland Castle steps to reception area, Ireland
Dromoland Castle steps to reception area, Ireland
Dreamland Castle Reception Area, Ireland
Dromoland Castle Reception Area, Ireland
Dreamland Castle Reception Area, Ireland
Dromoland Castle Reception Area, Ireland

Our Accommodations at Dromoland Castle

We had two rooms: an executive deluxe bedroom with two queen beds for the kids and deluxe room with a king-sized bed. Both rooms had silky chocolate truffles and a box of mixed goodies that awaited our arrival. They didn’t last five minutes past us walking through the door. The rooms themselves were spacious with raspberry shades and golden tones.  The room had a large golden mirror hanging over a wooden desk and a large flat-screen TV facing the beds.

Dromoland Castle - Executive Deluxe Room
Dromoland Castle – Executive Deluxe Room
Dromoland Castle - Deluxe King Room
Dromoland Castle – Deluxe King Room

Amenities 

The bathroom had a walk-in shower as well as a bathtub (a necessity, according to the girls). Every day, the cleaning crew left boxes of chocolate and lemon truffles to be discovered after the afternoon activities.  One of my favorite things in our room was we had 110/220 outlets.  I could use my charger from home and not worry about using an adapter.

Dromoland Castle Amenities
Dromoland Castle Amenities
Welcoming Surprise in our room - Dromoland Castle
Welcoming Surprise in our room – Dromoland Castle

Restaurants and Bars at Dromoland Castle

The dining rooms are located in the main castle, pass the reception area following a long hallway which leads you to the restaurants.

Dreamland Castle, The Gallery Area
Dreamland Castle, The Gallery Area 

Drawing Room 

Our first meal was lunch in the Drawing room, which was a cozy room with high ceilings and a magnificent log burning alabaster fireplace which kept us warm.  The subject of conversation at our first lunch at Dromoland was dominated by the fact that our gaze could be met by the noble Gaelic individuals on the walls regardless of where we sat. The food consisted of traditional Irish dishes, such as lamb stew, as well as simpler salads and sandwiches.

The Drawing Room - Dromoland Castle, Ireland
The Drawing Room – Dromoland Castle, Ireland
The Drawing Room - Dromoland Castle, Ireland
The Drawing Room – Dromoland Castle, Ireland

Earl of Thomond Restaurant at Dromoland Castle 

Our first evening at the castle we dined the Earl of Thomond restaurant.  The Earl of Thomond Restaurant, the main dining room, is lit by a quartet of Waterford crystal chandeliers, damask covers the walls, tasselled drapes frame the windows.

Dromoland Castle - Earl of Thomond Restaurant
Dromoland Castle – Earl of Thomond Restaurant
Dromoland Castle - Earl of Thomond Restaurant
Dromoland Castle – Earl of Thomond Restaurant

The classic menu features local foods, among them Irish lamb, duck, vegetables from the castle garden, and regional cheeses. Between each course of the dinner, we were offered a variety of breads including some exotic flavors, such as tomato basil (our favorite).

Dinner menu selections at Dromoland Castle
Dinner menu selections at Dromoland Castle

The desserts ranged from scrumptious chocolate cakes to nougat ice creams and fruity tarts.

Desserts selection at Dromoland Castle
Desserts selection at Dromoland Castle

The cuisine and its presentation at Dromoland was without a doubt one of the great highlights of our trip. Our servers were cheerful as well as dedicated to the traditions involved with serving our meals. Whenever we ordered hot meals, the silver plate covers were always lifted at the same time, by multiple waiters if necessary. Next to the dining area was a circular room containing the bar and loads of unique china- pieces of dogs. The bar was twenty-four hours and well-stocked with old whiskeys. At night, there was often live Gaelic music.

Dromoland Castle Bar
Dromoland Castle Bar

Breakfast at Dromoland Castle

Our next day began with the famous Dromoland Castle breakfast which is served in  Earl of Thomond restaurant.  Breakfast consisted of a buffet of fresh fruits, meats, cheeses, scones, jams, and cereal.   You also have the option of ordering from the menu a traditional Irish Breakfast as well such as omelets.

Breakfast at Dromoland Castle
Breakfast at Dromoland Castle

The Gallery Restaurant 

Most of time we spend in The Gallery restaurant which felt like more like a living room area with comfortable chairs and sofas surrounded with tables.  It’s a more casual dining menu and they served food from 11am to 11pm. The menu had a wide variety of snack items as well as Mrs. White’s afternoon tea. No reservations are needed and the dress code is casual.

The Gallery - Dromoland Castle
The Gallery – Dromoland Castle

 The Spa/Gym 

The spa is not far from the lobby. It offers complete packages of different soothing massages, manicures and pedicures, and skin treatments. When the service is complete, there is a room set up with massaging chairs and magazines, delicious fruit, and flavored waters and teas where the client can relax for as long as they desire. My massage left me glowing and content, and I felt completely de-stressed. The gym facilities were a two-minute walk away from the actual castle, but they were well-worth the small hike. On top of their being a weight room, there was a pool, a sauna, and a steam room. The changing rooms were also well-equipped with lots of extra towels, lockers, and even blow-dryers.

Dromoland Castle Spa and Gym
Dromoland Castle Spa and Gym

Activities in Dromoland Castle

There were a multitude of unique activities offered, such as falconry, archery, clay shooting, and, of course, golfing. Since we don’t have any big golfers in the family, we stuck to the first three, however, we did rent a golf cart for an hour in order to experience a speedy tour of the beautiful grounds.

Activities at Dromoland Castle
Activities at Dromoland Castle
Golf Course at Dromoland Castle
Golf Course at Dromoland Castle

The archery session is perfect for beginners (which was all of us), and the instructor was very patient and helpful, even when our arrows landed far beyond the intended target. For our clay shooting lesson, depending on our size/strength, we were handed a twenty gauge or twelve gauge. For those who were more sensitive to the pull, our instructor offered a small blanket to put over our shoulders. Last (and certainly the best!) was falconry. Our instructor knew everything about the birds and answered all the different questions we fired at her. Our bird’s name was Bomber, a beautiful hawk that would land on our outstretched (and gloved) arms when prompted with a small piece of meat. They had a multitude of birds of prey being kept there: falcons, hawks, and even owls! You can also take a pony & trap ride around the grounds.  The tour lasts 1 hour and will take you around the beautiful grounds of the Estate and they provide you with a detailed history of the Castle and it’s Estate.

Pony and trap at Dromoland Castle, Ireland
Pony and trap at Dromoland Castle, Ireland

Gardens at Dromoland Castle

The Castle is surrounded by 450 acres of breathtaking scenery, including a river, forests, and its own lough (lake). The gardens are particularly noteworthy, their design based on the formal approach of Andre Le Notre, the legendary French landscape architect of Versailles. One walled garden is dedicated to roses, another grows herbs for the kitchen.

Dromoland Castle Gardens
Dromoland Castle Gardens

How to Get There

Dromoland Castle is just 8 miles from Shannon Airport.  It is situated in the heart of the Clare countryside, just mins off the N18, 10 minutes from the busy market town of Ennis and 20 minutes from the vibrant city of Limerick.

Dromoland Castle, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare, Ireland   +353 61 484 144

 

Dromoland Castle hosted us for one night and dinner.  The remaining of our stay was at a discounted rate, but all opinions are my own.  

About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder and Senior Editor of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

20 Comments

  1. Suze The Luxury Columnist
    July 16, 2015 at 6:15 pm
    Reply

    Great idea to rent a golf cart to visit the grounds! Your family are very elegantly dressed, Carmen. Hope you enjoyed the Gaelic music

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    • Carmen
      July 16, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      It was fun taking the golf cart around the property. Otherwise, we wouldn’t of seen it all. We spent an hour driving around. Most guest dress up very elegant for dinner at the Earl of Thomond Restaurant in the evenings. I did enjoy the Gaelic music, it’s very different.

  2. Fairlie
    July 17, 2015 at 9:19 pm
    Reply

    That looks like such a great place to stay! I would feel like I had to dress-up from the moment I woke up so I could sweep through the corridors like characters from Downton Abbey!

    • Carmen
      July 17, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      That’s funny that you mentioned that because I felt like I was in a movie set of Downton Abbey during our stay.

  3. Anda
    July 17, 2015 at 10:55 pm
    Reply

    Wow! Breathtakingly beautiful castle and that great 450 acres of great scenery. I’d like to have my own lake, but I guess for now I’ll settle for my own pool… so sad though. I’d love to at least visit this place.

    • Carmen
      July 21, 2015 at 8:09 am

      The grounds are spectacular, we rented a golf cart to drive around the property. They have an 18 hole golf course also.

  4. Jennifer (Dr. J)
    July 18, 2015 at 12:26 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing! I’m visiting Dromoland in October and it was great to get a sneak peek. Looks amazing!

    • Carmen
      July 21, 2015 at 8:12 am

      October is a great time of year to go to Ireland. I’m sure you will love it as much as we did. The food was almost amazing, I think I gained a few pounds.

  5. Vlad
    July 18, 2015 at 2:56 pm
    Reply

    It looks like an amazing place, it has always been my wish to stay in a castle one day. Definitely adding it to my list. 😀

    • Carmen
      July 21, 2015 at 8:22 am

      I think it’s everyones dream to stay in a castle and feel like a princess or king. I’m so glad we had the opportunity to stay in one. It definitely lived up to my expectations. 🙂

  6. Paula McInerney
    July 18, 2015 at 7:17 pm
    Reply

    How very beautiful and elegant in this castle. Would love to dine at Earl of Thomond

    • Carmen
      July 21, 2015 at 8:28 am

      The Earl of Thomond food was incredible. One of the best things that we enjoyed was when they bring out the food it all comes out at the same time. They set the dishes which are covered with fancy silver dish covers in front of you. The covers are all lifted by several of the staff all at once.

  7. Esther
    July 19, 2015 at 7:02 am
    Reply

    This looks absolutely amazing!!

    • Carmen
      July 21, 2015 at 8:30 am

      Thanks Esther! Yes, it was an fantastic experience for us to stay in a castle and dine like royalty each day.

  8. Karilyn
    July 19, 2015 at 10:18 am
    Reply

    I have stayed in a few castles in Ireland, but this looks like the real deal! I will have to check it out on our next family visit!

    • Carmen
      July 21, 2015 at 8:39 am

      Which castles have you stayed in? I which we had more time, I would of loved to stay in a few others myself.

  9. Connie Reed
    July 20, 2015 at 8:34 pm
    Reply

    How awesome to stay in a real castle. I’ll bet you felt like royalty. Falconry?

    • Carmen
      July 21, 2015 at 8:50 am

      They really do a great job of making you feel like royalty. My kids always wanted to try falconry. The castle has a School of Falconry on the premises. We got to walk around holding a hawk and watching it fly into the trees and then back into our hands. At the end we visited the school and saw all the other birds, and owls. I’m actually going to write about it separately.

  10. Linda Bibb
    July 21, 2015 at 12:18 pm
    Reply

    What a fabulous opportunity you had, and in such a stunning castle. It boggles the mind to imaging the amount of staff that must have been necessary to run the castle back before we had all the mod cons.

    Your activities certainly matched with the castle’s ambiance, and like you I would probably enjoy falconry the best. Still, with 450 acres to enjoy I’m surprised they didn’t offer horseback riding as well. You were wise to rent the golf cart to explore the grounds.

    • Carmen
      July 24, 2015 at 9:20 am

      They did offer horseback riding but we didn’t try it, since the kids had come already in our last castle stay. They are more interested in the falconry.

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