How To Feel Like Royalty in Ireland

By Erin Deinzer, February 26, 2018

Who doesn’t want to imagine themselves king—or queen—for a day? With myriad historic properties dotting its quilted-green landscape, Ireland has a wealth of one-of-a-kind castle accommodations where planners can coordinate conferences, host teambuilding events or plan incentive programs. Here’s a week’s worth of Irish estates that guarantee you’ll receive the royal treatment.

Day 1: Ballyfin, County Laois

Slip inside the gates of this 600-acre walled property and let the real world disappear. A member of the Relais & Chateaux hotel collection, the 20-room Ballyfin—a lavish Regency mansion—takes the fantasy factor a step higher with an on-site costume department so guests can even dress the part. A nearby grotto serves as a prime place for nighttime storytelling, while the Picnic House is the spot for intimate daytime events.

Day 2: Ballymaloe House, County Cork

This 17th-century house has 29 rooms and dates back to Norman times when it was built as an addition to an ancient keep. Planners can coordinate hands-on classes at the nearby world-renowned Cookery School, or take advantage of the multi-course buffet dinner served on Sundays by the Allen family. The on-site Grainstore provides a unique space for conferences.

Day 3: Longueville House, County Cork

With 14 bedrooms and six junior suites, this 18th-century mansion has Georgian-style architecture and is set on a 500-acre wooded estate. Guests can fish for salmon or brown trout in the nearby River Blackwater; forage for mushrooms on guided hunts; or take a tour of the orchards, cider mill and distillery, with tastings of house-made cider and Ireland’s only apple brandy.

Day 4: The Malton, County Kerry

Built on an estate that originally belonged to Lord Kenmare, the 171-bedroom property sits on a 40-acre parcel of land in the bustling town of Killarney. It has a full-service conference center that’s attached via a glass-walled breezeway. Group activities can include tastings in The Whiskey Corner (it has a collection of almost 200 international whiskies) or nature hikes in the nearby 26,000-acre Killarney National Park.

Day 5: Kilronan Castle, County Roscommon

With 14 bedrooms and six junior suites, this 18th-century mansion has Georgian-style architecture and is set on a 500-acre wooded estate. Guests can fish for salmon or brown trout in the nearby River Blackwater; forage for mushrooms on guided hunts; or take a tour of the orchards, cider mill and distillery, with tastings of house-made cider and Ireland’s only apple brandy.

Day 6: Ashford Castle, County Mayo

Situated on the banks of Lough Corrib (Ireland’s second-largest lake) and sporting a multitude of crenelated towers, the sprawling 13th-century Ashford was once the estate of the Guinness family. A mere 40 minutes from Galway City, it has 80 guest rooms and three master suites. The site of Ireland’s first falconry school, the property also has an in-house movie theater and a wine cellar accessible via 19th-century tunnels.

Day 7: Castle Leslie, County Monaghan

The many original furnishings, artwork and architectural details of this castle and grounds have been in the founding family’s hands since the 1600s, making it one of Ireland’s last such estates. Well-suited for larger groups, the property—located between Belfast in Northern Ireland and Dublin—has 20 rooms in the castle hotel and 29 in the Lodge; multibedroom cottages built around a village square; and Old Stable Mews, a fully restored coach house.

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