Fodor's Expert Review Dromoland Castle Hotel and Country Estate

15 km (9 miles) southeast of Ennis via M18, Newmarket on Fergus, Co. Clare, Ireland Fodor's Choice

With structures that date back to the 11th and 16th centuries, and now one of Ireland's grandest hotels, Dromoland Castle's picture-perfect setting and lavish finishes offer a classic fairy-tale feel but with modern comforts, thanks to a just-completed multimillion-euro restoration. While the extensive restoration upgraded all amenities, facilities, and interior design throughout the property, great care was taken to integrate new features into the original historic structures of the castle, and to retain the character, look, and feel of the property. Public spaces are lavishly decorated with heavy velvet curtains, rich carpets, and velvet chairs and couches. A large, crackling fireplace is the focal point for lounging guests, where sparkling crystal chandeliers illuminate ancestral portraits. The bedrooms, on the other hand, tell three different stories spanning as many centuries. Much of the refurbishment costs have been lavished here, with the addition of luxurious en suite bathrooms and upgrades to bedroom decor, soundproofing, and air-conditioning. Accommodations in the original 19th-century castle cleverly integrate heritage style with modern flair: spacious rooms feature scaled-back Baroque patterns in soothing tones and fresh linen covers on the four-poster beds. Dromoland's Queen Anne section contains the hotel's fully refurbished standard rooms housed in quadrangle-shape 18th-century stables, with all rooms facing an internal courtyard. While the rooms are comparatively modest in size, they are furnished to the same high standard. The final bedroom section is a 20th-century expansion that lies farthest from reception. For dining, the Fig Tree Restaurant in the golf clubhouse offers a casual fireside option, while the Earl of Thomond Restaurant is the place for a chandeliered European feast. Afternoon tea is popular with locals; book ahead. The hotel offers a stunning golf course, tennis, fishing, spa, falconry, and woodlands perfect for jogging and cycling. Take a stroll through the castle's arched hedge to its ornate garden and note the ancient stone entrance. It was taken from the family's earlier palace on the outskirts of the Burren, Lemanagh Castle.

PROS

  • old-fashioned luxury with modern amenities
  • high standard of service
  • beautiful grounds

CONS

  • in part, the grounds double as a golf course
  • some Queen Anne–section bedrooms have small windows facing a courtyard
  • lake-view rooms are in high demand and difficult to reserve

QUICK FACTS

Hotel
Historical, Views, Family
Sophisticated
Countryside
$$$$

HOTEL INFO

Phones: 061-368–144

HOTEL DETAILS

98 rooms

What’s Nearby