Are you tired of thinking how to organize perfect romantic dates? If you are looking for a unique place to get away from the hustle, celebrate your anniversary or other special occasions, why don’t you consider visiting a castle in Ireland?
This trip can be educational as well as passionate. Since there are a lot of castles across Ireland, you just have to choose the right one, and we can help you with that.
1. Bunratty Castle
Dining by candlelight, on a long wooden bench, listening to a medieval instrument quartet while women dressed in gowns serve your food sounds better than a dinner and a movie. Bunratty Castle gives you the chance to enjoy this unique ambiance and pretend you are living in a different time.
Some believe that dates back to the time of Vikings, although it was built in the 14th century. The original castle and the two that were later built on the same site were destroyed in turbulent history. The one standing now is, actually the fourth onsite in Folk Park. Bunratty Castle is in County Clare, just 7 miles from Shannon Airport, and it’s open to the public.
2. Malahide Castle
Malahide Castle is in Dublin County, close to the village of Malahide, and nine miles north of Dublin. It has a fascinating history, and some of its structures date back to the 12th century. It is said that there is a painting of an unknown woman in the castle whose ghost has been seen wandering the grounds.
If you or your date are interested in gardening, this is probably the best way to spend your time together since there are over 5000 different species of plants spread on about 22 acres. Visit the West Lawn because you will encounter the most romantic scenes. Besides, you can explore beautiful coastal line together or hire a bike and enjoy the ride. Don’t forget to buy some of the Irish crafted jewellery as there is no better present for your love.
Malahide Castle Tours
|Malahide Castle and Gardens Admission Ticket|
Enjoy a half day trip out to Malahide Castle and Gardens and step beyond the medieval castle door. Lose yourself in the rich heritage and natural beauty, but have in mind that last guided tours of the castle are at 4.30pm (or 3.30pm Nov-Mar).
|Malahide Castle, Dublin Bay and Howth Village Half-Day Trip from Dublin|
Explore Dublin Bay on this relaxing 3.5-hour tour. You’ll take a wander through the beautiful estate of Malahide Castle and enjoy the fresh sea breeze and breathtaking views of Dublin Bay from Howth Summit.
|Full-day Private Dublin City Highlights Tour|
Relax in a comfortable vehicle on this private 8-hour tour. You will visit sights such as the Guinness Store House, Kilmainham Gaol, Malahide Castle, Howth village and Summit among other sights of interest.
3. Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle has been used continuously from the time it was built in 1200’s till now. At first, it was a defensive fortress but later became a royal residence. If you’re an art lover, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to see manuscripts, icons and early printed books from all over the world in the Chester Beatty Library which is in the castle.
Also, accountants and tax agents can enjoy the history lessons on how the government founded itself in the Revenue Museum or, perhaps interactive smuggling game. Don’t forget the gardens though, if you are looking for a place for a romantic and relaxing lunch.
Dublin Castle Tours
|Early Access: Book of Kells Including Exterior Tour of Dublin Castle|
Enjoy the exhibition experience without the hustle and bustle of large crowds and find out tales of mystery and intrigue on this two and a half hours medieval walking tour.
| Dublin Historical Highlights Walking Tour|
See Dublin’s top sights on this 2.5-hour historical walking tour, with a professional guide and find out interesting facts and stories about the attractions you see.
4. Blarney Castle
If you are not afraid of heights, be sure to visit Blarney Castle in southern Ireland, near Cork. It was built in the 15th century, and it’s famous for being the home of the Blarney Stone. According to the legend, if you kiss the stone, you’ll get eloquence and Irish charm, and you’ll need it to charm your date. But, there is a catch: you have to do it while a castle worker holds your legs, as you reach out to the stone, upside down, over a 10-story drop.
If you need time to relax and enjoy each others company, take a walk in the gardens spread over 60 acres. You can see arboretums with rare trees and Druid rock formations with funny names or simply relax in the Bog Garden, alongside a trickling waterfall.
Blarney Castle Tours
|Blarney Castle and Cork Day Trip from Dublin|
Visit three top Ireland attractions in one day from the comfort of your luxury coach. Enjoy the landscape change from Dublin’s urban cityscape to the green hills during this 12-hour trip.
|Blarney Castle, Cork City and Cobh Private Tour from Killarney|
Explore southwest Ireland with a personal guide on this private, 9-hour tour. A bit more pricey, but with the flexibility to customize your itinerary to your own preferences.
5. Doe Castle
Doe Castle in Donegal County, despite the romantic looks, also has a tragic love story wrapped around it. According to a song written by Creeslough poet, Aileen and Turlough O’Boyle were in love, but when Aileen’s father found out, he imprisoned O’Boyle and eventually killed him. Aileen, in agony and despair, jumped from the round tower of the castle. Her father buried them together. Local fishermen swear they sometimes hear young lovers laughing.
If you like legends like this one you mustn’t skip visiting Doe Castle. It’s tucked up and secluded on a small peninsula so you’ll have the chance to relax in this scenic place. The best view of the castle is from the Carrigart-Creeslough road, 10 miles from the village of Dunfanaghy.
6. Kilkenny Castle
Kilkenny Castle is a 12th-century castle that was used as a defensive fortress. If you visit it, you can have a cup of tea in castle kitchen or enjoy exhibitions of contemporary art in the Butler Art Gallery, the room that belonged to servants.
Gardens in the castle are open to the public, and the Parade Tower is used as a conference venue. Imagine having dinner with your loved one in the castle? That is possible here since many rooms in the castle such as the Victorian Duchess Boardroom provide intimate ambiance for private dining. Want to know who is faster? Join the Kilkenny ParkRun that is held every Saturday morning.
7. Birr Castle
Birr Castle has been considered to be one of the seven wonders of Ireland. It is situated in County Offaly, in the town of Birr. The castle is private since it’s the home of the seventh Earl of Ross so you can take a glimpse inside at specific booked times only, but most of the grounds are publicly accessible.
For science lovers, in the castle grounds is Ireland’s Historic Science Centre. Also, you can see the Great Telescope – the largest one in the world until 1917. Have in mind that the gardens of the castle are also famous because of many rare plants as well as the highest hedge in the world according to The Guinness Book of Records, and the oldest wrought-iron bridge in Ireland from 1820. Follow the river to the double bridges or just take an intimate walk in the garden.
8. Ashford Castle
Ashford Castle in Galway County looks like it came out from a fairy tale. It’s nearly 800 years old, and it was turned into a 5-star hotel. It is very popular as a wedding destination because of its lavishing interior, surrounded by romantic lawns and beautiful forest, overlooking Lough Corrib. Every one of the 83 rooms is individually designed, with many original features preserved, including open fireplaces in some of them. It could be a perfect romantic getaway.
There is a range of activities you can enjoy together from tree climbing and zip line to kayaking if you are not the type who prefers to relax and soak up the scenery.
9. Cahir Castle
Cahir Castle is in County Tipperary, situated on a rocky island on the river Suir. It is one of the largest and best-preserved fortresses. The O’Brien family began building the Cahir castle in 1142. You can enjoy the look of the countryside from the top of the Cahir Tower or a 15-minute movie about a historical overview of Ireland’s castles.
If you are a movie fan, this location appeared in the movie Excalibur during the battle scene, and the castle was, also, used for TV series The Tudors. Spend your time feeding ducks or explore the surrounding and Sculpture Trail together. Plays, adaptations, and concerts are held at the castle so be sure to get the ticket on time.
10. Kylemore Castle
Kylemore Castle (also known as Kylemore Abbey) is situated just one hour from Galway. It was built by Mitchell Henry, a wealthy businessman, and politician, in the 1800s. It was meant to be his private residence for him and his wife Margaret.
The castle had many innovations and over seventy rooms which included 33 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a ballroom, library, smoking room, various offices etc. For almost 10 years, they lived here happily with their nine children. When his wife died, he couldn’t bear spending time in the castle and sold it. Today the estate belongs to the Benedictine community and it is open to the public. Visit the restored rooms that witness this tragic love story, or fill up the picnic basket and enjoy the garden, woodland, and lakeshore.
Kylemore Castle Tours
|Connemara Day Trip from Galway: Kylemore Abbey and Ross Errilly Friary|
Discover the dramatic beauty of Connemara with its rugged wilderness, welcoming locals and historic treasures during this 8-hour trip. Traveling with an expert guide, by luxury coach.
|Connemara and Cong Village Day Trip from Dublin with Kylemore Abbey and Killary Fjord|
Visit the romantic castle Kylemore Abbey and the wildest of the beaten path routes through Lough NaFooey valley, Cong village and so much more. You will be taken on a 14-hour journey not only by air-conditioned coach but by the stories and history, humor and passion that your guides have for this region.
11. Glin Castle
Glin Castle is in County Limerick, on the banks of the River Shannon. The Knights of Glin have built the castle which served as a home to the Fitzgerald family for over 700 years. If you like vintage houses, then you must pay a visit. The castle hotel has 21 bedrooms and the only double flying staircase in Ireland.
Glin Castle is known for its interior, a collection of paintings and many other art pieces valued at more than 2 million euros. In 2017 the castle was reopened for private lettings and small weddings. Dining by candlelight at Glin Castle or walking in the gardens through a gracious environment could be a date you’ll never forget.
12. Dromoland Castle
Dromoland Castle is located in County Clare, close to Shannon International Airport, and it dates back to the 16th century. It was the home of the O’Briens whose lineage goes to Brian Boru, the only High King of Ireland.
Like Ashford Castle, Dromoland has been turned into a 5-star luxury hotel. In addition to enjoying antique furniture, cozy fireplace, and beautiful rooms, you can also have a meal in its restaurant since it was awarded a Michelin star or a romantic spa date. If you love the outdoors, take a walk through the 400-acre estate, or take a boat out on the lake with your loved one.
13. Ballyseede Castle
Ballyseede Castle is 3 miles away from Tralee in the south west of Ireland. You can access the castle via winding carriage driveway. Today, Ballyseede Castle is a 4-star hotel with 23 bedrooms and suites.
When you pass through the gates, you are stepping into history and your own private escape. It offers unique dining experience since you can choose where you want to eat: in the Library Bar, around the open fire, or have a five-course meal in formal dining room. Many areas in the castle are available for the guest use. Ballyseede Castle is a popular wedding venue with coordinators who can comply with individual requirements.
14. Cabra Castle
Cabra Castle is the name of the two castles: one that is ruined and the other turned into a 4-star hotel. It was constructed in the 19th century and was initially called Cormy Castle. It was meant to be the home of the Foster family, but the cost of the castle, lead them to bankruptcy and eventually was sold.
It is set in 100 acres with its golf-course and offers luxurious escape. If that doesn’t suit you, stroll through the parkland and gardens and enjoy the castle’s lovely setting, one of the reasons why this is an excellent venue for a wedding.
15. Markree Castle
Markree Castle in County Sligo was the seat of the Cooper family for over 370 years. The castle is a secluded gem in a 500-acre estate. Take a stroll while reciting poems, since some sources state that the poet William Butler Yeats found his inspiration in this romantic landscape.
Today Markree Castle is a small 30-bedroom hotel and an idyllic wedding venue. Besides that, it offers many activities for you to enjoy such as kayaking, mountain biking, and surfing. You can also take a hawk for a walk or stroll along the Wild Atlantic Way with your partner.
16. Donegal Castle
Does Gaelic cultural evening sound interesting for a date? If so, visit Donegal Castle, that is located in County Donegal, in the center of Donegal Town. The castle belonged to one of the most powerful Gaelic family in Ireland till the 16th century.
Although it was in ruins for the last two centuries, it was entirely restored in the 1990s. It is open to the public and often hosts cultural events. If you are more fond of outdoors, you can waltz on the water on waterbus tour of Donegal Bay or take a cooking class in nearby cookery school.
17. Trim Castle
Trim Castle in County Meath is the right place for all Mel Gibson fans since it was the setting for the movie Braveheart. It is the most massive Norman castle in Ireland. The stunning castle looks even more dramatic during the night. It is situated on raised grounds, giving you the chance to enjoy in the view of the River Boyne and its surrounding countryside.
You can access the inside by guided tours only. Besides, take a history tour starting from the castle which includes most of the historic sites. If you are after adrenalin, try some of the activities like kayaking or zipline nearby.
Trim Castle Tours
|Boyne Valley Hill of Tara and Kells Private Tour from Dublin|
Immerse yourself in over 5,000 years of history on this full-day private tour. Although it’s a bit pricey, the tour gives you the chance to discover the magic of Trim Castle and other exciting places traveling by boat.
|Small-Group Day Trip to the Boyne Valley from Dublin: Newgrange and Hill of Tara|
Travel back to ancient Ireland on this 9-hour tour where you will visit Megalithic temples, Fairy Trees, and Norman Castles. Highlights of the tour include visits to Newgrange, Bective Abbey, Trim Castle and the Hill of Tara.
18. Kinnitty Castle
Kinnitty Castle is located in County Offaly, in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains – setting that offers relaxing breakaway. This medieval castle that dates back to 1209 was turned into a hotel with 37 lavish bedrooms with original features of that period.
You can wander through the rooms, sit by an open fire and enjoy local cuisine. Take a tennis game, go horse riding or enter a treasure hunt game with your partner. Castle is seated on 650 acres of land, so don’t miss the opportunity to explore its breathtaking views.
19. Waterford Castle
If you are looking for a real getaway, you should know that Waterford Castle is standing on its island. The castle was built in Gothic style for a Fitzgerald family. It is one of the most acclaimed castle hotels in Ireland with a rich history. It is situated near Waterford City and has 14 deluxe bedrooms and five suites.
Taking a tour around the island and along the seaside will be, no doubt, an exciting experience. The Waterford Castle is, also, a Golf Resort and the island has its own tournament and lessons can be arranged. Or you can just spend your days curling up by a fire.
20. Solis Lough Eske
Solis Lough Eske is a 5-star hotel located on a secluded lakeside, about 10 miles away from Donegal town. Its history dates back to 1400s. It has won wedding venue of the year award a couple of times, which says enough about its romantic setting.
This castle hotel is situated on the shores of Lough Eske, on a 43-acre estate which gives you the perfect setting for amorous walks. In addition to that, you can schedule a passionate spa date or arrange an intimate candlelit dinner.
This list of castles is just a small part of what Ireland can offer you. Castles with their vast gardens and parklands provide picturesque scenery mixed with history. It’s a unique experience that can create romantic memories you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.