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Amy Apr 19th, 1999 12:08 PM

Need a unique accommadation to splurge on
We are doing a 2 week tour of ireland: <BR> <BR>Shannon, Ring of Kerry, Cork, Waterford, Kilkenny, Dublin, Belfast, Galway <BR> <BR>We are driving and trying to stay in hostels and budget B&B's but we want to splurge one night and stay in a castle or some unique place that we wouldn't get the chance to do anywhere except Ireland. <BR> <BR>Any suggestions and ideas???

Geoff Apr 19th, 1999 06:37 PM

Sounds like a typical circle around the isalnd trip. Did that on a tour group about 10 years ago. At the end of the trip on the way to the airport we dropped off 2 ladies who had the same idea. Dromoland Castle in Country Clare is about 10 miles from Shannon Airport and looked just magnificent. I had a quick look at a hotel booking page and it looks like their rates vary from US$225 to almost US$750 so you better find out what they have available. <BR> <BR>

Fiona Apr 19th, 1999 11:57 PM

Hi Amy, <BR> <BR>I'd have to second Dromoland Castle - between Shannon and Ennis, Co. Clare. Another nice one to look up is Adare Manor, Adare Co. Limerick - either are really luxurious.......By the way there's a novel hotel on the Ring of Kerry, between Sneem and Kenmare, it's called Drumquinna Manor - mid price range, but they have a unique feature - the honeymoon suite is actually in a treehouse - well worth stopping to view and have coffee... <BR>Enjoy the trip ! <BR>Fi <BR>

maggie Apr 20th, 1999 07:27 AM

Amy, <BR> <BR>Here are my votes. Adare Manor makes you feel like a princess. The castle, the grounds and the service are superlative. It is expensive, but if it's for one night, it's worth the splurge. Two other non castle, but spectacular stays: Along the ring of Kerry near Kenmare is a beautiful inn called Sheen Falls Lodge. It sits right on a river with beautiful views of the countryside. The people are lovely and the food etc. is wonderful. The other choice is Ballymaloe, which is near Ballycotton, just south of Cork. It is a huge old Georgian building on acres of farm. The house is meticulous and lovely, with gardens out back, views of the strand and lambs, ducks etc. The rooms are spacious and have cool names like the Yeats room, and the food is excellent. It is run by a family, the Allens, and they go out of their way to make the stay special. <BR>Wish I were going!

Denny Apr 20th, 1999 08:39 AM

Amy: Another vote here for Dromoland Castle! I stayed there on my first trip abroad when I was a kid - and it still ranks very high on my list of special places. You'll love it!

Carrie Apr 20th, 1999 09:36 AM

I too would have to vote for Dromoland Castle. We checked it our 2yrs ago, but did not stay there, and it is absolutely BEAUTIFUL !! We are going back to Ireland this summer, and were also thinking of "splurging" and staying there, but they were booked for our August hoo ! If you are in the Killarney area, check out the town itself, it's very quaint and easy to walk around. We took a day off from running around and walked the town, some cute shops. <BR> <BR>Have a great trip !!!

Maggie Apr 20th, 1999 06:54 PM

This is not a first hand recommendation and I don't think it is as grand as Drumoland (which I agree is spectacular) but I saw this on a PBS Victory Garden show a year or so ago and have had it on my list of "I've got to stay" there places ever since. Marlfield House, Gorey, County Wexford. Spectacularly elegant, beautiful gardens, gorgeous rooms. great restaurant. Only about 15 rooms. Is written up in Wonderful Little Hotels and Inns. Would probably work for the Waterford, Dublin part of your trip as it is in the east. Check it out.

Donna Apr 21st, 1999 04:46 AM

Amy, let me know what you think: <BR> <BR>Here are my votes, based on first-hand experience and repeated visits: <BR> <BR>1. Adare Manor, in Adare. I swear, every time I drive through the gates onto the grounds, I believe I own the place. Treated like royalty, every time. <BR>Stay long enough to walk the grounds, look at the Ogham Stones, go through the Pet Cemetery and check out the loving messages for the family's deceased pets. <BR> <BR>2. Dromoland Castle, near Shannon Driving onto the grounds is a peaceful, pleasant experience. The first time we went, we were welcomed by a gentleman who hurried out to open our car door, and he said to me "Welcome Home, Dear." I almost cried, so cool, after all our traveling. Neat surprises on the grounds. <BR> <BR>3. Waterford Castle, on the Island, Waterford. This was one awesome experience, like a fairytale. To get to the hotel, you have to take a car ferry across the water to the Island. So we did. When we walked into the hotel to register, the lady said, "Welcome to Waterford Castle, Mr. and Mrs. Rucks, it is a pleasure to have you stay with us." Cool, they knew who we were. Our room was at the top of the stairs in the east wing--THE TOP of the stairs, it went only to our room. Coolest. Blinding sunrise, awesome room. Didn't feel like I owned this place, but felt like a very important guest. The carved wood, the doors, the moldings, very exquisite. <BR> <BR>Could you stay in all three and just not eat next year? Life is so short, and these are GREAT PLACES and you'll never see them in the States. Sell your VCR, and skip Dublin (you'll only get lost there anyway). <BR> <BR>PLEASE stop at Nicholas Mosse pottery at Bennetsbridge just south of Kilkenny on the Waterford Road and browse. He's so popular in Ireland, and just becoming popular in the States. A $50 bowl in Chicago is $27 there, and if you like pottery, it is beautiful. <BR> <BR>I want to add something to your itinerary, but you'll have to give up Dublin. About an hour north of Kilkenny is Kinnity Castle, in the middle of nowhere. I found this by accident on the internet before we went this year, and decided to give it a try. There are 10 original sleeping rooms/with bath. 27 additional rooms in another wing, more modern. When we were there, there was only one other couple, so we were invited to "explore" all the other sleeping rooms, which my niece and I did around 11 p.m. Spoooooookkkkkkkkyyyyyy. But cool. Our bathroom was a room connected to our bedroom, every bit as large as our double king bedroom, clawfoot tub in MIDDLE of room. Great history here. John, the horsemaster, took us beginners horseback riding the next morning and told us about the most haunted castle in Ireland, just 6 miles down the road, called LEAP Castle (pronounced LEPP). Lot of murders in and around the grounds. I said I wanted to go there, John called the owner, and the owner opened the gates so we could have a look around. Also SPOOKY, in broad daylight. Really spooky. Really. <BR> <BR>So my vote for you is to forget Dublin and go to Kinnitty. Castle was inexpensive, experience was one in a million. <BR> <BR>Also, read and research more than you did your your college term papers and you'll have a better experience. Have fun!!!!!!! Spend freely!!!!!!!

bushmama Apr 21st, 1999 06:20 PM

I will add my vote to the others: <BR>Adare, Ballymaloe and Marlfield. I think any place in Ireland is next to heaven! Have a great trip. <BR>

Linda Apr 21st, 1999 06:50 PM

Here is a don't....Ashford Castle. It looks impressive and the public rooms are quite impressive but our $300 plus room was shabby and small. The bath was nice but didn't make up for the rest of the room. Not impressed. I vote for Adare Manor!

Donna Apr 26th, 1999 12:41 PM

I would like to add a little to Linda's information about Ashford Castle. The grounds and gardens are beautiful in the summertime, and the public rooms are very interesting and very elaborate. The overall drive up to the castle was breathtaking, and the castle itself is massive. But, the people there were not friendly, I felt out of place in the dining room, and our room was somewhat small and ordinary, just a room, like you'd find in a Chicago hotel. We had the same experience in another hotel in South of France, Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat, exquisite public areas, the most beautiful gardens, the most exquisite swimming pool, but not-friendly staff and a rather old-looking hotel room, with marvelous marble bath room. Go figure. <BR> <BR>Adare Manor was great, voting again. <BR> <BR>

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